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Report of Operations 2007-08 - Information and Communications

Operational Communications - the Next Generation

Work is progressing well on developing the requirements for the next generation of radio or wireless communications equipment for CFA. With the diverse range of information flows that occur in managing incidents, it is critical that CFA be well prepared to provide timely, accurate and reliable voice and data traffic to its front line personnel. With voice, data, video and other forms of information traffic now able to be managed together in Internet Protocol-based networks, CFA's information needs at fires and other incidents will be able to be managed in an integrated way - and one that ensures interoperability with other key agencies.

Tactical information flows have now been documented to form the basis for new networks and terminal equipment, with an examination being made of new conceptual solutions that are expected to become available in the next 3-5 years. Work continues on examining how transportable and mobile equipment and field-based terminals, for example in fire appliances, can be integrated with CFA's fixed network infrastructure.

Operational Communications - CFA Radio Replacement Project

CFA was successful in its bid to replace its radio terminals following approval of this initiative in the Victorian Government's May 2008 budget, at a cost of $12.8 million. Much of the work already completed in developing conceptual solutions for the next generation of radio will contribute to the planning for the immediate project to replace CFA's current vehicle-mounted and handheld radios.

The project will replace radio terminals that were introduced into CFA service in the mid-1990s and which have now reached their end of life. To be undertaken in close consultation with other emergency services, this project will ensure that CFA is well prepared to continue to provide its firefighting members with the capability needed for emergency response. CFA's existing radio networks, with which the radio terminals operate, do not require replacement.

Information and Communications Technology Strategy

In 2007-08, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) program continued the implementation of the ICT Strategy through the development of infrastructure and software platforms to establish the foundations of a modern ICT environment.

This year's program work included data warehouse, system integration, process management, identity management, disaster recovery and web content management. Reviews of the on-line services strategy and ICT strategy were undertaken to complement and refresh the current ICT strategy.

Geographic Information Services

During the year CFA's Geographic Information Services (GIS) team completed significant research and development and produced a wide range of data and information to support regular corporate reports, online mapping services and project specific materials.

In conjunction with Operations, a trial of the field mapping program 'EIMS Mapper' commenced. EIMS Mapper captures fireground data, provides map production services for local resources and includes planning and visualisation functionality for ICCs and RECCs. EIMS Mapper communicates with Google Earth interactively as a means of providing overview or 3D visualisation services. Field trials are underway at many locations and include both staff and volunteers.

An interactive mapping tool as an addition to 'Maps Online' was developed. The tool will be available to all staff and brigades.

GIS provided many products and services over the course of the year. Two GIS training courses were delivered to staff and volunteers, extensive support for the map book program continued and over 1,000 hydrant-town maps were added to Maps Online.

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