Spatial Services' Emergency Information Coordination Unit (EICU) ensures that the emergency management sector has the best spatial and related data available to deal with multi-agency emergencies, such as terrorism and natural disasters.
EICU was established as a counter-terrorist initiative. There is however a commonality in the data required by Emergency Service Organisations (ESOs) for bushfires, floods, earthquakes, storms, and law enforcement activities.
The EICU aims to implement and maintain a collaborative data sharing system on behalf of the emergency service organisations and the emergency management sector in general.
ESSIL and SIMS
The EICU developed and now maintains the Emergency Services Spatial Information Library (ESSIL). The library combines data from over 200 source agencies supplying more than 11,000 spatial layers which are transformed into 350 seamless state-wide layers. These layers encompass all areas of emergency planning, response and recovery.
The Spatial Information and Mapping System (SIMS) is a front end viewer to ESSIL. It provides a total solution which bundles applications and data into an easy to use interface and is designed for decision makers and other end users in emergency services who do not have a background in geospatial technology.
SIMS fulfils the planning and recovery requirement to make maps, show locations, and produce situation reports. It also allows users to undertake spatial analysis for activities like evacuation, search and rescue, or to determine locations of people at risk.
A key feature of SIMS is that web services can be downloaded when available but SIMS can also function when the web is down due to the fact that the ESSIL data and base maps are provided as part of the bundled solution. This satisfies one of the main requirement for an emergency related application - 'it must work anywhere anytime'.
The EICU currently has considerable demand for the SIMS viewer application from a wide range of emergency management agencies across the state. This represents a significant take up rate of the technology by this sector.
The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet is responsible for planning major events such as APEC 2007, World Youth Day 2008, as well as regular Sydney events including New Years Eve and the City to Surf. Events like these require coordination of mapping across 30 agencies – leading up to and during the event.
For Australia Day in Sydney, for example, the EICU team collates data and its associated attributes from agencies including Roads and Maritime Services, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Domain Trust and affected councils into one database.
The team then creates maps for each locale covered by the event in geopdf format with the ability to click layers on or off as required by emergency services.
During the event the EICU also makes available staff to provide direct mapping support in the Government Coordination Centre (GCC).