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their time and energy to higher-value tasks.
The timely insights provided by advanced analytics and data visual- ization have given the bureau’s users and external stakeholders the tools they need for optimal decision-making.
Southeast Georgia Regional Alliance for Spatial Solutions Next Generation 911 Addressing Collaboration
Coastal Regional Commission
Georgia’s Coastal Regional Commis- sion (CRC), the regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency for the 10 counties and 35 cities along the coast of Georgia, noticed that its user groups had common problems complying with the requirements of the Next Generation 911 system. NG911 allows people to share data such as videos, images and texts with 911 call centers and enables call centers to communicate with each other.
In Georgia, however, it could take more than 30 minutes for emergency responders to locate and reach a caller in a hunting camp deep in the woods where there are no road names or geo- graphic data.
To address the problem, CRC joined with three counties and 11 cities to form the Southeast Georgia Regional Alliance for Spatial Solutions (SEGRASS). The group created a master address repository, a cloud- hosted spatial database that uses road centerline data and geofencing to enhance emergency responders’ ability to zero in on callers’ locations.
“Previously, many of our communi- ties had a pretty simple address sche- ma,” said Hunter Key, CRC’s director of information services. “Now the address- es and the centerlines all meet the field schema designs for Next Gen 911.”
For instance, SEGRASS helped hunt- ing camps name their roads and turn them into a geographic information sys-
tem (GIS) layer so that the driver of an emergency response vehicle can pinpoint where a call is coming from, a capability that “just didn’t exist before,” Key said.
He said SEGRASS expects to add more counties and cities to the address repository next year and will likely move the database from a CRC-hosted cloud to a commercial cloud.
The approach has increased col- laboration and eased the burden on rural communities where one or two people handle multiple GIS efforts. Having a centralized database also eliminates redundancies in other per- mit systems, such as trash collection and water billing.
The biggest benefit, however, is bet- ter data for 911 dispatchers. To meet NG911 requirements, Key said, many communities bought software without realizing they needed the right data to fuel it. “They started using these sys- tems with bad data and were really frustrated,” he added. “The biggest lit- mus test for us is how much the 911 directors were complaining before and how much they complain now.”
Veterans Affairs Platform One Department of Veterans Affairs
A new platform lets development teams at the Department of Veterans Affairs focus on creating applications and leaves the back-end work to the Office of Information and Technology (OI&T).
Veterans Affairs Platform One is an enterprise-class hosting service that allows developers to provision envi- ronments as needed using infrastruc- ture as code. In addition, containerized applications have pre-approved fea- tures, including security controls. The platform reduces application deploy- ment cycles by speeding the process for receiving authorities to operate.
“Essentially, [we] make the software- delivery process easier on the software team so they focus on the code,” said Kendall Krebs, senior technical adviser
for infrastructure operations in OI&T’s DevSecOps organization and a senior sponsor of the platform.
So far, three preconfigured environ- ments are queued up for production, three are in the proof-of-concept phase, and five are at the research and dis- covery stage.
The platform is part of the VA’s effort to modernize its IT services. “The VA Platform One team is one of the options for custom-coded applica- tions,” he said. “Our compelling offer- ing to the application team is you don’t have to do this for yourself. We have an enterprise-ready solution with security baked in that’s faster than you doing it yourself. We have the licensing and technical expertise to get you there.”
The use of infrastructure as code increases parity between development, testing, preproduction and production environments, which teams can spin up and down as needed. The ability to better target the use of resources also has the potential to save money.
The platform has dashboards that show costs, usage and other metrics that help IT leaders make data-driven decisions. Currently, it cannot quantify the efficiencies that application teams are gaining from the platform, but Krebs said the measure will be possible when more applications move into production.
The idea for the platform came about in 2019, when developers began researching other organizations’ suc- cessful DevSecOps transformations and noticed that this type of hosting enables a continuous integration, deliv- ery and deployment pipeline, he added.
Looking ahead, the team has its eye on cloud-native solutions. “VA Plat- form One was designed to work both in the cloud and in traditional data centers,” Krebs said. “As we go for- ward, we’re going to be looking close- ly at some of those cloud-native solu- tions that are out there or potentially using some of the integrated solutions with the cloud providers as part of our solution set.”
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