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By Mike King, Emergency Call Taking and Dispatch Industry Manager • Esri Public Safety Team


In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew bore down on the southeastern USA. State and local communities suffered billions of dollars in damage and loss in the storm that prompted the President of the United States, Attorney General and many others to travel to the region to offer physical and moral support.


For several weeks, the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and communities nearby endured hurricane-influenced challenges that closed a large portion of Interstate 95 and caused massive flooding, requiring more than 80 water rescues in Fayetteville alone. The demand for help was so great that diving and water-rescue personnel from New York (who happened to be attending training in the region) were authorized to assist in the rescue efforts.


To effectively coordinate these rescue efforts and provide overall operational understanding, the City of Fayetteville relied on the Bradshaw Consulting Services PSAP Monitor solution, an informational geographic information system (GIS) mapping dashboard with visualization and analytic capabilities powered by the ArcGIS platform.



By providing agency-wide access to PSAP Monitor, including access to noncity departments providing support through mutual aid, field officers coordinated and communicated effectively with the command center. Flood zones, evacuation areas, roadblocks, and asset locations were disseminated to first responders via intelligent, interactive, and collaborative maps in mobile units and on iOS, Android, and Windows devices.


Chris Harvey, PSAP Monitor product manager, stated, “Fayetteville call centers and incident commanders quickly shared citizen requests for assistance by incorporating interactive maps with the calls coming into the communications center. These maps, along with PSAP Monitor's intrinsic analytic capabilities, were shared with first responders in real time.”


Fayetteville officers were able to share the real-time information with secret service and other VIP protection personnel who were responsible for the safety of President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Vice President hopeful Mike Pence and others through secure, web-based links to PSAP Monitor. This information was used to track motorcades and establish security perimeters as needed.


Esri congratulates the City of Fayetteville and our partner, Bradshaw Consulting Services, for creating a collaborative, intelligent way for first responders to more effectively serve the community during a crisis.


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By Carl Walter, National Security Industry Manager • Esri Public Safety Team


All security issues have one thing in common—location.


Global events routinely shed light on the complex, interrelated worlds of safety and security. Civil unrest, crime, natural disasters, and widespread public health threats all reflect the heightened need for coordinated prevention activities and response capabilities. Intelligence fusion centers are uniquely positioned to spearhead this coordination.


Fusion centers have been a growing practice since 9/11. They are embedded in most local, state, federal, military, and corporate organizations worldwide. These centers are tasked with collecting, analyzing, and sharing crime, disaster, and threat-related information throughout all levels of government and with the private sector and the public. Fusion centers also provide support during critical incidents and planned, high-risk special events.


To support many missions, fusion center technical solutions must be able to fuse foundational, incident, dynamic, and intelligence data. Integrating data from multiple data sources and multiple agencies with advanced maps and spatial analysis can only be accomplished through the effective use of geographic information system (GIS) technology.


Esri's new Safe Communities initiative is focused on helping organizations rapidly set up GIS for shared situational awareness. This initiative supports fusion center efforts to use GIS as a foundation for preventing crime and protecting lives, property, and critical infrastructure.


This is the first blog of an eight-part series. These blogs will outline an expanded approach to using GIS for information fusion, operations, and analysis that supports safe communities. This process-based approach goes beyond using GIS to support common operating pictures (COPs) for visualization and moves toward leveraging GIS as a system of insight that supports the entire intelligence life cycle. Geospatial frameworks enable interconnectivity between people, processes, and data. With this approach, agencies with a national security mission can

  • Collect and integrate information for rapid analysis to identify threat patterns, trends, and relationships.
  • Create repeatable and shareable information and models.
  • Reuse information and services across systems and jurisdictions.
  • Improve risk, threat, and vulnerability assessments to safeguard communities and critical infrastructure.
  • Facilitate better emergency planning, response, mitigation, and recovery efforts.
  • Provide enhanced dissemination and knowledge capture.
  • Evolve the common operational picture to a common operational platform.


GIS is a complete system that goes beyond powerful visualizations. It provides the ability to organize information, as well as analyze and understand trends and protection priorities in new ways. GIS also supports streamlined data dissemination. It is an effective tool for both internal and external communication.


Integrating and geotagging structured and unstructured data, including sensor, imagery, and video data, empowers users to fully analyze and exploit that information and create actionable information out of raw data. One GIS platform supports a fusion center's many missions.


Perhaps most importantly, GIS provides a common language and reference system for multiple disciplines—including law enforcement, emergency management, intelligence, public health, and defense. It empowers stakeholders to collaborate and make data-driven decisions.


Join us for our subsequent blogs as we tackle a series of questions and community challenges that stand in the way of realizing safer communities.