There are many factors involved in the work of the emergency services, all of which play an essential role in their ability to not only respond to emergencies, but assist in reducing further risk.
A fundamental component underpinning all of their work is accurate address data, with the proper management and utilisation of that data equally vital. From mobilisation through to analysis, having an accurate address cannot only save lives but prevent risk long into the future.
Building on their vast experience of working within the FiReControl project, in addition to their work with the British Transport Police (BTP) and more recently with Kent Fire and Rescue Service, gazetteer specialists Aligned Assets have created three new address management solutions, designed specifically for use in the emergency services.
Collectively known as Symphony Bluelight, there are three distinct options available, Symphony Bluelight Enterprise, Symphony Bluelight Professional and Symphony Bluelight Search, each addressing the varying needs of the emergency services.
Symphony Bluelight Enterprise
Symphony Bluelight Enterprise is the complete corporate gazetteer system, which will support front line response, whilst all the while aiding in cost cutting and efficiency gains. It is based upon the gazetteer solution rolled out at Kent FRS, who had a requirement to implement a new system that placed accurate addressing at the heart of the Brigade.
In addition to being a secure, central depository of data, Symphony Bluelight Enterprise offers a complete, embedded Geographical Information System (GIS) in order to give the data a spatial component. This GIS enables full location analysis and is an important tool in strategic planning.
Importantly, Symphony Bluelight Enterprise allows for the synchronisation of all back office systems, enabling the user to ensure that each system contains identical address data. It creates direct links to these systems so that when updates to the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) are received, these are automatically disseminated throughout the organisation.
It allows for all non-NLPG address data in other systems to be tagged with Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) so that these numbers can be used as a comprehensive system of cross referencing, giving confidence that all departments are using the same address. The same process also allows for back office data to be geocoded, by which geographical coordinates are attached to the address. This gives the data a spatial component, which in turn allows for that data to be analysed through GIS.
As well as being able to fully exploit the NLPG, Symphony Bluelight Enterprise allows for an infinite amount of user defined fields to be attached to each record within your corporate gazetteer giving the user a wealth of information essential in all emergency service activity.
Once the fields are populated, for example in the case of the Fire & Rescue Service you can see instantly if there is there a fireworks factory behind the 20ft fir trees; whether the house next door has an elderly lady who is dependant on her oxygen tanks or whether the building next door has a Black Powder or Gun powder license?
Through the use of the intuitive management console, the user has numerous options for creating and importing data from other systems and schemas, and including them alongside the NLPG. With Symphony Bluelight Enterprise, the user can derive data from a set of Oracle GIS Layers by spatial reference to a Property. This means that every time the Property geometry changes, the data created by spatial relationship is automatically updated.
Symphony Bluelight Professional
Designed for those services looking for a phased approach to implementation, at the core of Symphony Bluelight Professional is an industry leading BS7666 compliant gazetteer management system. It is a tried and tested solution used in both local government and the emergency services, is the gazetteer of choice for the FiReControl Project and is backed up by over twelve years of address management and GIS expertise.
It has been built to allow for the creation of local records, which are records that would not normally be included in the NLPG, but have significant value to the emergency services. They can be accessed alongside the NLPG data in supporting both back office analysis and frontline incident response.
To enable the further exploitation of the NLPG, Symphony Bluelight Professional is designed to allow for the validation of all your other address data against the NLPG through its address matching components. Just as with Symphony Bluelight Enterprise the geocoding functionality allows for your organisation to have a more complete usage of GIS as it will enable other department’s data to have an accurate spatial component.
Key to both Symphony Bluelight Professional and Symphony Bluelight Enterprise is the inbuilt method for creating and processing candidate records. This allows the user the ability to feedback changes in the NLPG data for future inclusions, which is yet another method by which the data can be constantly improved and kept up to date.
Symphony Bluelight Search
Irrespective of the data source and method of managing that data, the one thing that is absolutely essential to the emergency services is the need for fast and accurate. The quicker data can be accessed, the quicker it can be used and the better the emergency response.
Based on the solution designed and built for the BTP, Symphony Bluelight Search is a flexible, web-enabled search engine that allows the user to search their address database (NLPG, ADDRESS-POINT®, OS MasterMap® Address Layer 2) and return results in sub-second time.
With a look and feel that is similar to an internet search engine, Symphony Bluelight Search primarily consists of a simple, one line search bar in which the search terms are entered. It allows for ‘wildcard searches’ if the user is unsure of the complete search term and ‘fuzzy searches’ that means words will be found even if misspelt.
Symphony Bluelight Search provides a web service that gives complete, corporate access to your central address database, giving all departments access to the same, consistent data. It can be accessed via a web browser, embedded within your own application or even added as a customised search engine in Internet Explorer, so quite literally giving every member of an organisation access. All of this reduces costs, reduces the risk of errors caused by inconsistent data and ultimately allows the user to offer a safer, more efficient and higher level of service to the public.
More than just an address search engine, through the use of adaptor technology, Symphony Bluelight Search can index, compress and search a whole variety of data sources alongside your core address data. The most common use for this is to search a names database, alongside the address data, giving the user access to both names and addresses via one search, which was one of the primary requirements of the BTP.
With Symphony Bluelight Search, the user will have access to huge amounts of departmental data at the touch of button as well as a resource by which different address datasets can be search simultaneously e.g. ADDRESS-POINT®/NLPG/Bespoke Gazetteer. It could even be used to search the PRUFOS (Police Reporting UFO Sightings) database!
The needs of the emergency services vary from that of other organisations and they require specialist tools in order to function effectively and efficiently. The Symphony Bluelight systems have all been designed entirely with the Emergency Services in mind from a company who is the industry-leader in gazetteer software.