California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for Emergency Response


The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) was in the process of acquiring a GIS-based Computer-Aided-Dispatch (CAD) system under the State’s alternative procurement process in 2001 and sought Farallon’s GIS strategic and technical assistance. Each of CDF’s 21 statewide protection units has an all-risk Emergency Command Center that requires a fully functional, GIS-based road network capable of locating emergency situations from 911 calls. To support all units, CDF needed to develop a seamless, digital road network dataset for the entire state. Myriad data development, maintenance, and distribution issues presented pitfalls to project success. To reduce risk to overall project success, CDF identified the need for a spatial systems expert to provide independent verification and validation of the proposed project development processes.


  • Four interrelated design documents that presented recommendations for the development, geospatial data ownership, governance, management, and technical requirements for the Department’s GIS-based CAD system.
  • An evaluation of potential data sources, with particular emphasis on quantifying the business case for using commercial vs. in-house street network data.
  • Development of a comprehensive street network data capture and management life-cycle process document. Farallon’s data integration process includes data capture, reconciliation, validation, exceptions, corrections, and production standards.
  • Development of a pilot street network dataset to prototype an optimal E-911 street network data set for one CDF Battalion. Lessons learned in the pilot effort were utilized to refine system development protocols.
  • Production of a corrected street network data for two counties using available electronic sources (ie, Tiger 2000). Potential CAD vendors used this for product demonstrations to CDF. The data included response area, battalion, jurisdiction, statutory responsibility, dispatch zones and facilities (eg, camps, stations, helicopter and air attack bases).