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  • The intuitive mapping supplied by OS enables operators to plot resources, people, appliances and other critical information. It allows operational officers to pre-plan alongside multi agency partners – crucial during a large-scale incident.

    Marc Hudson, Watch Commander

West Midlands Fire Service was challenged by their then Chief Fire Officer to ‘do more with less’.

With impetus provided by a new command and control system, the Fire Service used OS data to load, view and manage a wide variety of mapping. By using OS OpenData and other OS mapping through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), it reduced licensing overheads and associated fees.

What were the challenges?

  • To deliver their services with optimum efficiency.
  • Dealing with new systems and equipment in new headquarters.
  • The need for an easy-to-use future-proof mapping system – even for non-technical users.
  • Accessing mapping in a mobile command centre to coordinate large incidents on location.
  • What was the solution?

What was the solution?

The availability of OS OpenData and access to other OS mapping through the PSMA allowed West Midlands Fire Service to develop an integrated open-source solution to manage all its mapping data holdings. This approach was chosen for its flexibility and ease of use along with the ability to add new datasets such as AddressBase Premium with minimum effort. The Fire Service created ‘Chimp’, which is a universal data loader, along with ‘Vega’ – a web-based graphical user interface.

What were the outcomes?

  • Money saved, using Open Data, PSMA data and open-source software.
  • One-stop-shop with all information in one place and new datasets easily added.
  • The system is scalable across the organisation, due to the ease of use and little training required.
  • No hidden licensing fees to pay when adding users.
  • Supports decision making within the Fire Service such as targeting areas at risk for home safety checks as the information is visible to all users.
  • Ability to have live mapping within the mobile command centre that assists decision-making directly at an incident.

The products used

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