Walton County selects DATAMARK for 911 services

Special to GateHouse Media Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Walton County has chosen DATAMARK VEP for its Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) geographic information systems (GIS) solution.

The main priority for Walton County is to assess the street centerline data with the master streets address guide (MSAG), and address data with the automatic location identifier (ALI). DATAMARK VEP will enable the Walton County GIS department to ensure readiness before, during and after the county’s transition to NG9-1-1, while still supporting legacy 911 systems. Walton County is the third Florida county to select DATAMARK for NG9-1-1 GIS readiness, following Washington County’s selection in June 2019 and Manatee County in 2018.

“We selected DATAMARK for two main reasons — its experts, who are providing Walton County with grant consulting and NG9-1-1 GIS know-how, and the power of the DATAMARK VEP solution,” said Major Audie Rowell, director of Emergency Services for the Walton County Sheriff's Office.

With a population of just over 70,000, Walton County has unique addressing challenges. There are multiple addressing authorities, each with its own method of addressing. These separate GIS data sets need to be aligned and validated to create one authoritative GIS database for the county. Once this is completed, the GIS department can ensure GIS data integrity, quality and interoperability during and after the transition from its legacy 911 systems to the NG9-1-1 platform.

In addition to validating the public safety GIS data, Walton County will use DATAMARK VEP’s observation capabilities which gives non-editors the ability to drop a point on the map and record their observations for processing by editors. For example, if an ambulance is misrouted, the response team will call over the air and inform a dispatcher of the routing issue. That dispatcher, who is not an editor, can create an observation point and report the routing error. This will send a notification to an authorized GIS editor, creating an audit trail that the editor can use to report the processing of the observation.

“In rural areas like Walton County, GIS departments typically have few people and limited resources,” said Luke Granlund, business development advocate, DATAMARK. “DATAMARK VEP provides addressing authority, GIS and PSAP stakeholders – with any level of technical expertise – the ability to translate, validate, edit and extract public safety GIS data with ease. It’s also configurable with other PSAP and government enterprise systems so they have the option to maximize the value of their GIS data county-wide.”