July 10, 2008

Money Will Be Sought to Streamline 9-1-1 Addressing

By Rod Rose, The Lebanon Reporter, Ind.

Jul. 10--LEBANON -- Sean Horan, Boone County's information technology director, will ask the county council for $200,000 to buy a software program that speeds up mapping addresses for local emergency agencies.

Bruce Barr, Whitestown, told the Boone County Commissioners Monday he believed inadequate maps delayed response to a June 13 house fire in Walker Farms. The home was destroyed.

Barr said he could not find a map of Walker Farms on an Internet search engine, nor did FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service have street maps of the subdivision on Whitestown's south side.

A Google maps search for "Walker Farms Whitestown Indiana," however, listed the subdivision's sales office as the first hit.

Several databases are used to create emergency response maps, Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell said Wednesday.

A 9-1-1 caller's name and address are displayed when a dispatcher answers the call, Campbell said. All emergency vehicles in the county have a on-board computer which displays information about the run -- including, usually, a map to the scene.

The map is automatically displayed if the address is filed in the county's GIS system.

Some addresses are not, Campbell said. "We think we're 60 percent accurate, and we want to be 90 percent," he said. "We want to be better than what we are."

Physical addresses are deceptive, BCSD Mayor Mike Nielsen told the commissioners Monday.

Twice, emergency units have been sent to the address 1000 North Indiana 75, Nielsen said. On the GIS system, that address is north of the Ind. 32 intersection, in Dover.

But the calls were to the Witham Health Services clinic in Jamestown. Town officials gave the clinic the address 1000 N. Ind. 75, because it is in the town's boundaries.

"What we really need to push for is that the county GIS system have an addressing layer," Nielsen said. The computer services vendor WTH is recording "every square inch of this county" to verify physical addresses, Nielsen said.

GUTS, another computer services vendor, takes addressing information from property tax records, but state law prohibits that data from being shared before paperwork is filed with the county Recorder's office.

The issue has been discussed by the county's GIS Committee, headed by Surveyor Ken Hedge, with police, fire and EMS agencies, Campbell said.

The GIS committee will decide by Aug. 15 whether the county or one of the two vendors will be responsible for maintaining the address information.

Horan told the county commissioners Monday that he had asked for the money in this year's budget, but the county council cut the request.


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