My system took a raincheck!
Automated alarms based on thresholds are not so new to decision-support systems,
but they are news to the spatial industry, which has historically focused on
user-driven analysis and planning. What will the ability to monitor multiple
simultaneous environmental parameters and automatically trigger location-specific
alerts (when conditions warrant) do for us?
One of the first and most obvious beneficiaries of automated decision-support
systems are emergency managers. Reece details the following scenario:
In public safety, rather than having to sit and watch the weather,
an automated system can alert an EMA to heavy rains that may cause flooding,
or severe storms that contain damaging hail or tornadic activity. The storm is
ocated at a specific geographic point, but it also has attributes of direction
of travel and speed of travel that you can project that point forward as a
corridor over an area of influence down 30 to 60 minutes. The EMA can choose
to explore the situation further through a desktop or browser-based GIS application
or may decide to immediately alert hospitals, schools, and first responders through
a manual or automated dial-out system.
With a time window for a decision, thereís more need for making automated
decisions than for a GIS programmer to come in and create that automated
decision-support system. The system looks at business assets; real time weather
data gets pumped in; the user defines what thresholds are important. Itís akin
to doing a spatial analysis with predefined thresholds, but doing it automatically
upon receipt of data. Seeing if itís co-located with business assets and then
creating a message whether it goes out by email or XML that gets pushed to
responsible parties. Thatís another great thing about having a GIS -- you donít
have to broadcast those alerts to everyone; you can tailor it to who needs to
know and make a decision.
Crucial conversation piece.
Any reference to Miss Mannersí opinion on talking about the weather would be
incomplete without her conclusion that, time-worn or not, we should all keep
talking about the weather:
Weather talk retains its popularity even though those who engage in it all
harbor the sheepish feeling that they should say something more original. No,
they shouldn't. Please no...those basic weather remarks are nice and comforting
and time-worn, and they do not scare off new acquaintances or old friends. This
is a lot more than can be said for what passes for conversational
Meteorlogix is setting an interesting trend in the spatial industry by successfully
implementing automated, real-time spatial decision support systems in public and
private markets. Thanks to this trend, for a little while, at least, we spatial
professionals can delight Miss Manners by talking about the weather, but not feel
one bit sheepish about the originality of our subject matter.