Philadelphia’s Situational Awareness Portal Receives Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award


The City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has received an Esri Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award for its real-time situational awareness platform —developed collaboratively with geographIT, a division of EBA Engineering, Inc. (EBA). Brian Wells (OEM) and Andrew Smart (EBA) accepted the award at a ceremony on July 12, 2017, in San Diego, California.

The SAG Award ceremony is held at the annual Esri International User Conference and presided over by Esri president and founder Jack Dangermond. Esri staff submit nominations from thousands of organizations worldwide, which are then personally reviewed and selected by Dangermond.

“The situational awareness platform provides the Office of Emergency Management a critical tool that is used daily to monitor planned and emergency events throughout the city,” said Daniel Bradley, Acting Director of Emergency Management. “It is also an essential tool for planning and coordinating emergency management response to large-scale, high-profile events, such as the Democratic National Convention last summer.”

Philadelphia’s situational awareness platform ensures that all of the city’s emergency response teams in the field and at the Emergency Operations Center can view the same real-time information displayed on interactive web maps and applications, which use Esri’s ArcGIS platform. Emergency responders can use this system at any time, 24 hours a day, from anywhere on their cellphones or tablets.

The system was used to monitor the July 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the SEPTA strike in November 2016, the 2017 NFL Draft, and many other large and small events happening in Philadelphia daily.

With the system processing millions of data points each day, users can see constant streams of real-time information that help officials monitor and respond to any situation, from a large protest to a breakdown of a bus transporting conventioneers.

The team also developed a mobile tracking application as part of the platform to help locate OEM staff during deployments, as well as an “incident creation and tracking” widget for Esri’s Web Application Builder, which is used to manage an incident workflow from start to finish, such as locations of street closures caused by flooding or downed trees/utility wires.

“Congratulations to the entire team for a well-deserved award and a truly special, valuable project,” said EBA President and CEO Rizwan Siddiqi, PE.

The City of Philadelphia is home to more than 1.5 million people and is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth largest in the nation. Access to consolidated, real-time data helps officials in Philadelphia monitor what is happening throughout the city to keep events safe and running smoothly, as well as coordinate a response to any potential emergency.


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