A new map book mobile application (app) developed in-house by Frederick County’s Geographic Information System (GIS) and Information Technology (IT) departments is utilizing high-resolution digital imagery provided by VITA’s GIS program. Map books typically are used by a locality’s first responders to obtain more information about an address to which they are responding. Previously, these books were paper-based and had to be updated on a regular basis. At about $100 per book, the cost of printing updates became prohibitively expensive.
Patrick Fly, GIS manager for the Frederick County, said a suggestion was made to produce a digital version of the map book. Fly ran the numbers, which proved the idea would be more cost effective. An added bonus – the map books would be much easier to update. While the basic concept was sound, the terrain of Frederick County proved to be a challenge since cellular service is not consistent. Without wireless service, the app could not rely on a remote data server but would have to contain all the information within the device.
The county used industry standard software to create the app’s digital pages, which include enhanced information such as fire hydrant locations and various boundaries. The current edition has about 600 “pages,” including county overviews and more detailed grids. Updates are easily downloaded from the county’s website. Since VITA updates the geographic imagery about every four years, that new information can be easily incorporated as well.
Fly’s team is exploring the possibility of adding point-to-point directions when wireless service is detected. Fly believes this would accelerate the app’s acceptance within the county’s first responder community. The private sector has given the app a thumbs up. Businesses with delivery functions, such as florists, have expressed interest in the app for their use. With limited staff resources, Fly says that although he’d like to accommodate that need, it is not currently feasible.
Sample app images
View Address Search
View Street Index
View Index Page
View Map Page
For more information about the map book app contact Patrick Fly at email@example.com
For more information about VITA’s GIS services contact Dan Widner at firstname.lastname@example.org