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GIS Mapping Shortens Response Time for Grapevine Schools

The GIS software company Esri recently recognized the city of Grapevine's GIS team for digitally mapping the layouts and access points of a local school district's campuses so first responders could plan for emergencies.

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(TNS) — It sounds complicated, but quite simply, the city of Grapevine is among the world’s best when it comes to mastering geographic information systems — or more commonly known as GIS.

Recently, the Grapevine GIS team was one of 197 organizations chosen from more than 100,000 Esri clients worldwide to be recognized with a SAG award (Special Achievement in GIS) for their use of a system. A top honor in the GIS community, this ranks the department among the top 0.2 percent around the globe.

And, in this particular case, their work helped make for a safer situation in the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and, of course, any other school district that wants to emulate the team’s findings.

A GIS is a computer system for analyzing geographical data. It is capable of capturing, storing, manipulating, analyzing, and displaying data in two- or three-dimensional maps. Esri is the global leader in GIS software, business intelligence and mapping.

The awards were presented in the annual Esri User Conference in San Diego, an event that included keynote presentations, software demonstrations and recognitions. This was Grapevine’s first team to be among the honorees.

“I am incredibly proud of our city of Grapevine GIS team and their recent award. Winning the Special Achievement in Geographic Information Systems SAG Award is an honor that very few are able to achieve,” Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate said. “Their steadfast dedication to the GIS work they conduct on a daily basis greatly assists our city both internally and externally.”

The prime example as to why Grapevine was chosen for the accolade featured a police officer, serving on the active shooter committee and Northeast Tarrant County SWAT. He approached by the Grapevine GIS team with an idea of gathering data on access and navigation of school campuses. His primary concern was that information on how to efficiently enter a school and then identify the fastest route to an emergency situation inside was not readily available.

Up to this point, everything was conceptual, leaving the first responders unfamiliar with the layout of schools. The GIS team proposed to develop standardized data for building entry, room numbers, etc.

The police officer would then collect the data on each individual campus, with the end goal being to provide a common operating picture through web-based and hard copy maps to ensure the fastest response time possible.

In other words, making schools safer and allowing for faster rescue time.

City of Grapevine GIS Manager Betsi Chatham said citizens can expect even more from its GIS team going forward.

“Grapevine GIS continues to serve the community by providing business intelligence through web-based mapping and spatial analysis, which supports city management in making more informed decisions in city services, infrastructure, public safety, and community events,” she said.

The Grapevine GIS team consists of Chatham, who has been serving in the Texas government industry for almost three decades; GIS Analyst Michael Rogers, a nine-year veteran in local Texas governments; and GIS Technician Larry J. Blake.

©2022 Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.