With projects ranging from safer Web browsing to a 21st century air traffic control system, federal, state, and local agencies demonstrate that they, too, can apply IT in critical and novel ways.
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Data overload prompted the Douglas County Sheriff's Office in Colorado to develop an application that combines geodata from various systems into an interactive map using Google Earth and the county's geographic information system from ESRI. The application, called i-Map (short for Incident Map), gives county employees access to 50 layers of mapped information, including roads, lakes and rivers, parks, government facilities and police routes. I-Map integrates with computer-aided dispatch, letting emergency personnel view call locations and the whereabouts of emergency and police vehicles and snowplows, as well as the homes of sex offenders or people with special needs. It also links to data feeds coming from school and government buildings.
The system has been used to create an evacuation plan in the event of a major forest fire and to plan security around school events. It took three IT staffers four months to develop i-Map. The county pegs its annual savings at $750,000, based on the cost to acquire the same capabilities on a commercial platform.