Now with GPS: System Upgrade for Boston Police

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

4087582_m featureBoston can expect more efficient efforts by police, fire and EMS first responders, now that the city’s three public safety agencies have access to a new, multi-million dollar CAD (computer-assisted dispatch) system.

According to BostInno the city rolled out its more modern, map-based Intergraph CAD system around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, upgrading from an existing text-based system installed in 1994. In a phone interview, Boston Police Deputy Superintendent John Daley told BostInno the new system will allow city agencies to navigate through the processing of 911 calls more efficiently.

GIS (geographic information system) technology underlies the new system, which Daley said can contain more information about conditions that could potentially impact public safety during emergency response situations.

For the last 20 years, the BPD, BFD and EMS have relied on a text-based, “command line” system, Daley said. The upgraded CAD system, however, has been integrated with GPS to provide dispatchers with a higher level of visual awareness, regarding the locations of available response units.

Using integrated map technology, dispatchers will now be able to see where available units are in real-time. When a call comes in, it will be geo-coded on a map and nearby units will be displayed visually.

iHLS – Israel Homeland Security

For example, the “visually-aware” Intergraph CAD system will allow dispatchers to scan for nearby units before engaging in a potentially dangerous situation and provide a way to locate first responders unable to communicate directly with nearby units.

Down the road,” Daley said, “agencies will be able to collaborate patrol patterns” so that, once the new system collects enough data, dispatchers will be able to assess the efficiency of existing patrol patterns and make necessary adjustments.

The new system still needs to be upgraded to integrate the BPD’s record management system, which will eventually give officers easier access to existing criminal history. “This is a major component of this project,” Daley said.

The BPD thinks these upgrades could be in effect by October. And Daley said the department is hopeful the project will remain under budget after this portion of the upgrade is completed.

Ultimately, the project is expected to cost upwards of $15 million. But this more modern system will allow future “routine configuration” updates to made without any major cost impacts, Daley said.