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Regional Data Aggregation: A Florida Region 1 Case Study


In the state of Florida, NG9-1-1 is governed at the local and regional level. Florida’s 67 counties are divided into seven regions, allowing the counties in each region to pool funding and resources to implement initiatives at scale. In early 2018, Florida Region 1 was tasked with piloting a process for a regional geographic information systems (GIS) and NGCS deployment which would provide a template for the rest of the state to follow. The creation of regional GIS repositories, GIS data creation, GIS data remediation, and ongoing GIS support became top priorities for Region 1.

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Early in the planning process, Region 1 identified several system vulnerabilities related to natural disasters which had the potential to impact PSAP operations and staffing, continuity of operations, call handling, and selective routing of incoming 9-1-1 calls.

Later in 2018, Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 Hurricane, made landfall. This storm would become the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, realizing and exacerbating the vulnerabilities identified for Region 1’s NG9-1-1 initiatives and forcing the Region to accelerate its planning process. Region 1’s 9-1-1 Coordinators and Directors, Addressing Coordinators, Sheriffs, and Fire Chiefs came together to move the project out of planning and into action.

It All Started With A Plan

To enable cross-county collaboration and pass the data through a spatial interface to NGCS, Florida Region 1 set out to develop a regional GIS repository. Each of the 12 counties were managing their GIS with different partners and NGCS providers, making it critical for the repository to be truly vendor-agnostic and flexible enough to meet the unique data needs of each county. Region 1 contracted with DATAMARK to deliver the solutions and services required to accomplish this complex goal and implemented their plan in four phases:

  • Phase 1: Assess

    To develop a tangible strategic plan, DATAMARK met with each county in the region to develop an effective strategic plan which documented the Region’s current workflows, data schemas, GIS data infrastructure, and staffing capabilities.

  • Phase 2: Prepare

    Each county maintains separate GIS datasets, requiring each county’s data to be analyzed for accuracy, completeness, and NG9-1-1 readiness. DATAMARK executed multiple data preparation services for the Region 1’s counties to ensure project unity, uncovering thousands of missing addresses and eliminating gaps and overlaps.

  • Phase 3: Validate

    GIS data used in NG9-1-1 can never be truly complete, making. ongoing validation an iterative process requiring all new data introduced into the system to meet NG9-1-1 standards before it’s provisioned into NGCS functional elements. In Region 1, DATAMARK prioritized NENA’s Required NG9-1-1 GIS layers and later incorporated additional layers (like forestry, coast guard, etc.) and boundaries as needed.

  • Phase 4: Aggregate

    To streamline the process of collaboration, aggregation, and data sharing between the 12 counties in Region 1, DATAMARK implemented VEP, a cloud-native NG9-1-1 GIS data management platform. The deployment of VEP across Region 1 enables each the county’s GIS authorities to upload, validate, and maintain NG9-1-1 compliant GIS data from a central location. Local GIS authorities no longer need to work on their data in one location, then drive to each PSAP to physically load it onto PSAP workstation and server equipment machine by machine.

Recipe For Success

Region 1’s engagement of DATAMARK to deliver a complete spectrum of NG9-1-1 GIS data software and service solutions was instrumental in achieving success across several key project categories, including:

Strategic Planning

DATAMARK’s NG9-1-1 Strategic Planning services provide clients with complete project oversight and transparency. The discovery process creates overall understanding of clients’ existing processes and procedures, allowing them to create plans that fit neatly into their existing workflows, processes, and policies.

Agnostic Solutions

DATAMARK’s ability to deliver services and data solutions that support each county and vendor participating in the project allowed them to meet the unique needs of each local authority while accomplishing the Region 1’s overall NG9-1-1 objectives.

Ongoing Support

DATAMARK continues to support Region 1 with ongoing NG9-1-1 GIS data support services to maintain the quality, reliability, and standards-compliance of its GIS data. Additionally, Region 1 counties receive continued support from DATAMARK’s Client Success team, which delivers ongoing technical solution support, on-call assistance, and education resources after project completion.

Next Steps

While much of the initial groundwork to achieve NG9-1-1 GIS readiness is complete, there is still work to be done in Region 1. Agencies are now experimenting with local data management workflows while working on ESInet, call handling, and other NG9-1-1 system upgrades. As their solutions become more robust, DATAMARK continues to provide Region 1 with ongoing support through monthly check-ins and is available to assist each county and regional aggregation authority  when needed.