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GCN : October and November 2016
GCN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016 • GCN.COM 53 how the operating budget is being spent, and another tracks how long it takes cus- tomer service representatives to answer and resolve 311 service requests. The platform also supports CountyStat, a program that seeks to deliver results on gov- ernment operations through analysis and accountability. The CountyStat team uses OpenPGC data to measure internal performance man- agement. It can find gaps in citizen services, make recom- mendations for improvements and analyze policies affecting county government. The data is also available to the public on OpenPGC’s open-data portal so residents and businesses can see how resources are being spent. The county is continually updating OpenPGC to connect more datasets and agencies. The initiative has grown to include data, budget and per- formance dashboards, and the county plans to include predic- tive analytics capabilities. — Amanda Ziadeh Cloud and Infrastructure Bringing big data to bear on infectious disease With the Collaborative Advanced Analytics and Data Sharing toolkit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made sense of an outbreak in days rather than months Getting a step ahead of infec- tious disease traditionally has been a long and labori- ous process as data analysts collect and translate data for subject-matter specialists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with Lockheed Mar- tin, cut the process time from months to days with the cloud-based Collaborative Advanced Analytics and Data Sharing toolkit, which makes data accessible to end users who have minimal training and no coding expertise. CAADS was put to the test in Austin, Ind. — a com- munity of 4,000 faced with an HIV/hepatitis outbreak that affected 4.5 percent of the population. Austin health officials knew that needle sharing was a cause of the outbreak, but they still needed data — and fast — to figure out how it was moving across different popula- tions so they could target treatments in the best way possible. CAADS enabled CDC of- ficials to collect and compare disparate data from several separate sources, includ- ing patient surveillance questionnaires, viral genetic data, and state and local lab results. Using CAADS’ drag-and-drop interface, the data was normalized and analyzed, allowing public health officials to identify areas most affected by the outbreak. According to the nomina- tors, CAADS is a platform that can be adapted for use beyond the health sector. Any agency can use CAADS to collect and analyze data types from various sources and make it accessible to people who need it — fast. — Suzette Lohmeyer MORE RESILIENT 911 WITH BROADBAND SATELLITE The Ark-Tex Council of Governments added a satellite network to its 911 system to ensure citizens’ access to emergency services An emergency or disaster is no time to discover that a critical communications network has gone down. That’s why the Ark-Tex Council of Governments (ATCOG) added resiliency to its regional 911 network with a broadband satellite solution. ATCOG oversees the 911 system in nine counties across northeast Texas and one in southwest Arkansas. The region’s 12 public safety answering points (PSAPs) are served by T1 lines. “We’ve actually had weather-related and human- related incidents that have caused both T1s to go down,” said Mary Beth Rudel, the public safety manager at ATCOG. “I wouldn’t say they’re frequent, but they ’re not uncommon.” In the past, that meant 911 calls would be rerouted to a neighboring district, which complicated response because the dispatchers didn’t know the area or the emergency workers as well as the people who serve the area every day, Rudel said. So ATCOG worked with Hughes and AT&T to create a site-to-site satellite backup network that provides an alternate communication path should primary terres- trial or cellular network outages occur, as happened in New York and New Jersey as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Now if the T1 lines go down, routers at each of the PSAPs switch to the satellite system. “ There has been tons of testing, and it’s all very seamless,” Rudel said. “ We’ve taken three live 911 calls on it so far, and neither the dispatchers nor the callers knew they were on satellite.... It was flawless.” — Matt Leonard 1116gcn_032-055.indd 53 10/6/16 12:57 PM
August and September 2016
January and February 2017