GIS Implementation in the Virtual Incident Command Center

Larry Thacker of Mesa Community College shares how GIS technology was used to establish the Virtual Incident Command Center that teaches emergency operations center personnel.

Jul 23rd, 2012

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00:01Hi, my name is Larry Thacker, and I'm the director of the Virtual Incident Command Center, which is located...


00:14Just when you think it's going to go. What happened? [Inaudible]

00:24Hi, I'm Larry Thacker. I'm the director of the Virtual Incident Command Center, which is in Mesa, Arizona...

00:30...and I'm going to go into my speed speaking mode here, because I don't want to be hauled off the stage by these two guys.

00:34And so, if I don't get it done, it will happen.

00:38What the Virtual Incident Command Center is, is we needed to figure out some way... much more quickly train incident commanders and emergency operations center personnel.

00:49Normally, this is done after about 15, 20 years of on-the-job training, but that just wasn't good enough... what we decided to do is create this virtual world.

01:00We could do it in a virtual world much, much more quickly, so that's what we did.

01:06Mesa Community College is an extremely large community college; it has about 27,000 students...

01:11...and so this kind of became my shopping center where anything I needed for this project...

01:17...I would turn to the different programs there and do it.

01:19So one of the first programs I turned to was the GIS program.

01:23It turns out that Mesa Community College has the only GIS program in the Maricopa Community College District...

01:28...which, by the way, is one of the largest community college districts in the nation.

01:33So one of the most important parts of this GIS program is the students to get field experience and do internships, so what... of the things they've done is worked with the Audubon Society of Arizona and try and map important bird areas.

01:48We also have - go figure, in the middle of a desert - we have one of the largest rose gardens in the state of Arizona...

01:54...and so they use GIS technology to do that; that's part of their internship.

01:59And also they map many archaeological sites.

02:02But now that there is an incident command simulator, I turned to these people...

02:08...because, as you all know, GIS is extremely important in emergency response.

02:14What you see there looks like a command response vehicle, but it isn't.

02:19That's a simulator that we made in our 35 hundred square foot laboratory.

02:25And even though it looks very real, that is a model of the latest, greatest one that the Phoenix Fire Department purchased...

02:35...and we duplicated it exactly. Over in the right there... can see that's the control room that controls everything that goes on in this 35 hundred square foot laboratory.

02:52There you can see people inside it, and you can see as they look out the window...

02:56...they are seeing very, very real, lifelike scenario going on out there.

03:01It could be a flood, it could be a fire, it could be explosions, it could be just about anything...

03:05...because also, over there in that control room, we have the ability to create virtually anything...

03:11...using extremely high-resolution photographs.

03:13We photograph a structure from approximately 10 different angles, and then we can apply effects to it...

03:21...whether smoke or fire or collapsing, bodies, whatever. We can do it all.

03:26And we do a lot of this with using GIS modeling and real-time feedback.

03:30And there's a view of what it looks like in that mobile command unit.

03:33It's an extremely real environment.

03:35Also, we pump audio sounds in there, so it's not only the radio traffic, but it's also sounds of generators running...

03:42...people talking in the background, sirens going by, the whole thing.

03:49Also, we have real fire trucks, 'cause we're going for the total immersion experience.

03:55When you're in there, it's like the real world.

03:57You actually sit in a real fire truck.

03:59That curtain's pulled back to show you, but when the simulation's going on, those curtains enclose the whole thing.

04:05Your entire field of vision is taken up and nothing but that high-resolution monitor that you can see in front of it.

04:13Also, inside, you can see we used the same computers, Toughbooks, and when you look out the window... see the building, and we can make that change as many as 36 different times throughout one 20-minute scenario.

04:30Also, when you look at the close-up of that Toughbook computer, you see that they are getting...

04:35...a lot of GIS information there - dispatch information, simulated running order, building preplan data...

04:42...hydrant locations, or hazardous materials info, anything you would experience in the real world.

04:48Now here is something that makes this a great, great, great learning experience.

04:53This classroom is right next-door to all of those simulations, and in there, the students are able to watch on those monitors.

05:01They see everything that's going on in up to 11 different sector rooms or the vehicles that you saw, or in the CRV.

05:10Through the speakers in the ceiling, they hear all the radio traffic, and they can have an instructor in front of them...

05:16...that's pointing out all the good things, the bad things, what's going right, what's going wrong.

05:21And you can see the Army National Guard uses it as an emergency operations center...

05:26...and here's the 91st Civil Support Group doing weapons of mass destruction.

05:32And if you want any more information, there's the contact information for the Virtual Incident Command Center. Thank you.

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Aug 27th, 2013. 9:18:32 AM

this video is great
thanks alot


Aug 26th, 2013. 8:56:40 PM

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