Best Practices

A group of operational  field CIO’s and project leaders from Defense, Fire Brigade and international transport put their heads together to see if they could mix needs and technologies in way that allowed for real interaction, lively discussion and some realistic testing.

Connectivity tends to fail when we need it most.  Maps are beautiful, but screens are often overcrowded, especially when you’re driving a 4 tons emergency vehicle at 60 KM/h in the small corners of Amsterdam. Satellite images  are great, but what about the insides of that school building?. Those leading Dutch crisis managers decided to invite science and suppliers alongside. If you want people to iterate between requirements , technical possibilities and future developments,  you have to bring them together.

Being fully aware of the value of maps and GIS as key technologies for our work, we have asked the Gi4DM community for inspiration about future developments. It is the ‘common operational picture’ that we provide for our fellow officers. It is the map that helps to coordinate joint efforts of many teams. And, in our view,  it is GIS semantic standardization that will overcome the barriers of culture, language and commando settings.  But maps could  not be so powerful without data to show it on or connectivity to communicate it with.

Where better suited could such a design be actualized than a place that has a University and an Exercise field only two kilometers apart? .The scene is the European Search and Rescue exercise that starts Friday. An earthquake in an urban area is a vast challenge in many respects.  Could sensor technology help us to find victims? .Are Apps on IPads really  the best vehicle information systems? Could command & control systems help us to coordinate the whole action? What icons and terms do those Germans use for ‘tactical boss’ out there? Can you translate those terms for me on the fly? A number of our Fire Brigade colleagues are nosing around. Some of them might be in action. Some of them might help us test with their input. Some are even active in the European project on semantics in Disaster management (Disaster, FP7)

The scene is also the old Twente Military Airport base. You are talking information systems where once the F16’s have stood, amongst bunkers, concrete and  green army tents, together creating the ideal surroundings for exercises, tests and training. You walk from Demo site to Demo site to exercise grounds, all in the context of the Earth quake overall theme. Suppliers are always accompanied by a launching customer. Most best practices have been tested somewhere among our Chief Information Manager Colleagues. This is not about sales. This is about understanding.

We hope to accumulate the knowledge of Military information support (IBridge), Transport advanced field experiences (Studio Veiligheid), Urban and Police support systems(Virtual police Corps)  and your contribution to the best practices. We hope to share stories over a Grolsch beer. We hope that those officers will be better equipped, the next time around.

Rob Peters &  Gerke Spaling

CIO ‘s of Public Safety Authorities