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Authoritative mapping

04 August, 2014

A new online mapping service has been launched as part of the Cabinet Office Resilience Direct multi-agency tool.

Resilience Direct was initially launched in April 2014, providing a secure platform for multi-agency partnerships to share information in both emergency response and in planning. The service acts as a common operating platform for use by local multi-agency planning and response partnerships, with users including police, fire and ambulance services, local authorities and utilities partners. The service enables real-time sharing of accurate data and information, allowing all agencies to maintain shared situational awareness and supporting effective decision-making at the tactical and strategic levels.

During the early development stages of Resilience Direct it was quickly agreed that mapping would play an integral part. It was also acknowledged that authoritative mapping was needed, enabling users to view accurate representations of the landscape, providing them with the confidence to make vital strategic and operational decisions.

The new interactive mapping service, being rolled out to the resilience community from the end of July, allows responders to quickly and easily build bespoke incident maps to support a shared information picture. The service can digest a variety of data formats, enabling users to add their own layers to maps, reflecting accurate local detail. For example, cordons can be added and highlighted, utilities and pipelines can be shown and points of interest can be overlaid to the mapping. The service is designed to enable strategic and tactical commanders to visualise their area of interest in a flexible, dynamic way.

Luana Avaglian, Head of the Resilience Direct team at the Cabinet Office, said: “I am confident that this great project will deliver significant benefits to the resilience community. Throughout the project we have involved real users who have provided the development team with a real understanding of their needs. Our approach to this project has been very much ‘with you, for you and by you’, and this will remain our approach as we take the service forward.

“We are continuing to work with the users of Resilence Direct and are already looking ahead to enhancements of the service. This collaborative approach will enable rapid development of additional applications and features, making the service responsive to changing user needs and wider trends in planning the incident response.”

The service can be accessed through any device, which has Internet access, including mobile devices, and is free at point of use to the resilience community. Mapping information can also be shared with a wide range of colleagues to ensure that all the agencies have a consistent view of the incident.

John Kimmance, Ordnance Survey Public Sector Director, said: “Location is one of the most important factors when dealing with any incident or emergency – whether in identifying homes at risk from flooding, the direction of travel of a smoke plume or coastal erosion, it all comes down to geography. The new mapping service delivers an interactive operating platform to enable resilience professionals to gain a detailed view of any affected area, whilst allowing them to overlay their own information layers and the ability to create and share their own situational map – really important when several organisations are working together to deal with an emergency.”

The mapping service has been built using a range of Ordnance Survey mapping scales and products, which users are already familiar with, via the Public Sector Mapping Agreement. The service also comes preloaded with the national set of common map symbols for the resilience community. Created by Ordnance Survey and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, the symbols provide emergency responders with a clear, agreed and recognised set of symbols, which they can share and use.

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