The Mission-Critical Resource Center

MCP Helps Region 13 Better Understand Its GIS Environment

In Summary:

  • GIS-generated geospatial data will be used in the NG911 environment to ensure that emergency calls are routed to the appropriate emergency communications center (ECC) to dispatch the appropriate emergency response
  • Today, Region 13 Task Force, a collaborative effort of 14 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, plus the city of Pittsburgh, manages a emergency services Internet Protocol (IP) network (ESInet). To continue their efforts towards a regionwide approach, the task force wanted the ability to share data between the counties
  • Having the ability to access data regionally will go a long way toward eliminating gaps and overlaps along jurisdictional boundaries that negatively impact the abilty to dispatch the appropriate response to an emergency incident, amongst other benefits


Region 13 is a collaborative effort of 14 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, plus the city of Pittsburgh, to improve emergency management and communications regionwide. The region’s footprint covers 10,233 square miles and contains 737 municipalities, 734 fire departments, 399 police departments, and 210 emergency medical services (EMS) agencies. The region received a grant in 2019 to continue the migration to NG911 service regionwide, which was intended to fund an in-depth study of GIS capabilities within the region.


Today, each county within Region 13 performs its own addressing, operates its own GIS and manages the data that those systems generate. Varying GIS capabilities exist throughout the region, which is problematic, however, a bigger issue concerns the fact that it is virtually impossible to share data between the counties. "Sharing data helps identify the overlaps and gaps," says Robert Horne, an MCP communications consultant. The ability to share data becomes important when an ECC for multiple reasons.


Region 13 hired Mission Critical Partners (MCP) to help its member counties develop a path toward regional data-sharing, ideally by coalescing all of the individual silos into a regional database. The project quickly expanded to an assessment of the region's readiness to operate in an NG911 environment.

To identify the gaps, MCP analyzed each county's GIS environment using its proprietary technology called the Model for Advancing Public Safety (MAPS) assessment. MAPS combines the knowledge of MCP's specialized public safety subject-matter experts with a variety of mature, broadly accepted programs and industry best practices.

MAPS produced a quantifiable assessment that provides each county with a score, and a blueprint, that indicates which GIS factors are NG911 ready, and not in need of immediate attention, and which factors are at low and high risk. This blueprint accompanies a report.


Mission Critical Partners played an important role in the project’s success, according to regional representatives.

“The team did a tremendous amount of legwork, which was awesome,” Kim Shuster, GIS/computer-aided dispatch (CAD) supervisor for the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety says. “Then they thoroughly went through the comprehensive report with us, making numerous constructive comments, suggestions and recommendations.”

The project provides the Region 13 counties, as well as the city of Pittsburgh, with a blueprint for sharing better-maintained and more-accurate GIS data, and a path for how to make NG911 service ubiquitous across the region.

"The ability for each of us to bring data from the other counties into our data centers is going to be huge," said Shuster.

To learn more about the project, and the MAPS methodology for GIS, download it using the form below.



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