California Metrics

Client Profile

The Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative (Bay Area UASI) sustains and improves regional capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from catastrophic events.

Technology Used

  • Language : PHP (Zend Framework)
  • Database : MySQL 5.5
  • Scripting : Javascript, jQuery, JSON, Google Map API

Project Summary

The goal for Metrics project was to:

  • Support the development of a common nomenclature for the typing and description of emergency preparedness, response and recovery resources and capabilities.
  • Develop a systematic method for identifying gaps in emergency capabilities so as to more effectively define risks and prioritize and allocate economic and human resources.
  • Enhance the ability to effectively prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters by developing a common format and repository for data, recording the quantity, capability and location of key resources statewide in support of an institutionalized resource status reporting process.

To accomplish the above goal we started with the Solution Architecting, analyzing the business process of data collection and maintenance. We then followed that with defining the potential user base of the system. This then helped us develop the scope of work, highlights for which are listed below:

  • Develop a web-based mapping driven application to do inventory of emergency preparedness resources for San Francisco bay area counties
  • Develop capability for this application to be able to have data portability with Digital Sandbox and secure XML based data exchanges
  • Follow California naming nomenclature for data organizations while using the FEMA defined Emergency Support Functions as coordinating constructs
  • Develop capability to have top down data visibility
  • Maintain row-level data access control to create distributed workflow for long term data collection and maintenance
  • Capability to text search and location based search for resource discovery
  • Develop capability to define user roles based on Operational Area and subject matter expertise
  • Develop capability to be able to add and maintain resource from Private sector, while keeping Private data separate for visibility and security purposes
  • Develop extensive data mining and analytic tools
  • Develop data validation mechanism using ‘Gatekeepers’ / subject matter experts
  • Create smart reminder system to make sure data updating is continuous while using escalation process as backup

Industry Specifics

The Metrics project was initiated in to help in coordination with federal, state, local and tribal agencies in support of the National endeavor to develop a common structure and nomenclature for the inventory and assessment of emergency resources and capabilities. This initiative is continually evolving in acknowledgement of the rapidly changing requirements of emergency preparedness, response and recovery communities, so as to provide a useful and effective platform for multi-jurisdictional, interagency collaboration.

Implementation Strategy

Metrics project was designed with the philosophy in mind that if a 5th grader can find an ice-cream store online, emergency officials should be able to find a Hazmat team when they need one. The idea was take inspiration from easily accessible tools and technology like maps and search and create an information warehouse for resources which are easy to maintain and update.

One of the most critical parts of implementation of this project was to create a workflow for not only adding a resource but making sure that a plan was in place to maintain that resource. We established this goal by creating a dynamic distributed workflow model which enabled us to have a wide and deep data visibility across the board. The idea behind this is extremely simple, this application should not add significant amount of work for any one individual. And to achieve this, we created the capability where a firehouse Chief will not have to maintain status and equipment for the whole house. Instead they could just create users under them and assign part of the responsibility to that user, creating a distributed workflow. Additionally this project demanded a strong security all around for data and users, which we delivered on.

We used google maps as the primary navigating element of the user interface which was complimented by a hierarchy based navigation structure. This gave users an instant familiarity to the system as it reminded them of something that they use on a daily basis. In this project we have included a wide range of tools to analyze available data on the fly to be able to determine the state of readiness and preparedness.

Thoughts

With this project we gained immense experience in the emergency preparedness vertical. This project earned us a stellar reputation for creating and implementing GIS solutions.

Based on our experience building this application we have gained creditability for ourselves to be able to develop complex GIS solutions and emergency preparedness applications. We can now use this experience and help our channel partners across the board enter new verticals. The knowledge gained from this project can be applied to create robust emergency preparedness applications / products as well as GIS focused mapping solutions for Planning and Engineering divisions of the government and large enterprises.

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