Analyzing Ambulance Response Using GIS

Improving emergency response times in a community requires knowledge of areas that receive a large volume of dispatch calls, as well as past trends that may help in forecasting future response needs.  To assist with conducting this type of analysis, the Village of Tinley Park, IL EMS department leveraged their local Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to acquire this knowledge for consideration when determining whether to renew an existing ambulance contract or move on to explore other options. 

To analyze past call pattern trends, GIS was used to spatially display ambulance call locations from 2012 through 2014 to help visualize areas of high volume, both overall and for several different scenarios.  A series of maps were created that displayed the count of calls by address, as well as a "hot spot" map that compares localized call densities to determine areas of high activity and areas of low activity.  When these maps are compared side-by-side, the user can determine call trends over the last few years and how these trends could impact the village residents based on the chosen service provider.

In addition to identifying trends in call volume, call density mapping can also be used as a data exploration tool for public safety department staff when determining what may be the cause for areas that have experienced increased or decreased call activity. Once these areas of interest have been determined, future analysis can be done to determine if department response initiatives, socioeconomic factors, or other influences may be the cause.