The Village of Northbrook, IL Fire Department has always prided itself on providing custom solutions and innovations to aid their staff and deliver the best possible service to their community. One such example is their adoption and use of the custom Compass Respond software which allows them to link building plans and oblique imagery to locations on a map. This is extremely useful to staff responding to an emergency by helping them to plan and prepare what they will encounter before reaching the scene. However, the usefulness of this tool is only as good as the data behind it and it’s important to keep that data up to date. When the Village receives new building footprints there are two important steps that the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was asked to help with in incorporating these into the Compass Respond software.
The first step was to make sure that the existing photos and building plans that were linked to the old building data by square footage could be transferred to the new data. GIS was able to work within the Access database that houses these records and, by altering the linking mechanism to be a unique feature ID instead of the square footage, were able to add the new building footprints without losing any of the pre-made connections. The second step was to work within the mapping component in Compass Respond to help make the review and linking of the plans and images easier for staff. GIS was able to symbolize the buildings within Compass Respond by their zoning information which allows Village Staff to easily see and review the industrial and commercial buildings. Address numbers were also added to the map to increase the ease of navigation and use through this process.