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Fire service system showcased at Cardiff conference


Mapping chief sees the power of geography in action

The head of Britain’s national mapping agency has been in Cardiff for a first-hand look at how geographic information supports firefighters in Wales.

Ordnance Survey’s Director General and Chief Executive, Vanessa Lawrence, saw how South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is using map data to improve response times and access vital information at the scene of incidents.

Sophisticated in-cab systems have been installed in every frontline appliance in the area to provide firefighters with digital mapping whilst on route to emergencies. The systems also give access to real-time information such as potentially life-saving details on the location of hydrants referenced against Ordnance Survey’s most detail digital map, OS MasterMap.

Dr Lawrence and the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of South Wales Fire and Rescue, Andy Marles, both gave keynote speeches on the value of geographic information at the Association for Geographical Information Wales winter conference at Cardiff’s Holland House Hotel.

Delegates at the conference were given a demonstration of the in-cab system, which is linked to GPS and to a central computer so that details about buildings and possible hazards can be downloaded at the scene of a fire.

Dr Lawrence says: “It is always fascinating to see real-life examples of how our mapping data is used to deliver wider efficiencies in public services. The geographical information system that South Wales Fire & Rescue now has access to in its appliances means that crews are better equipped to locate emergencies and to deal with a situation when they arrive.”


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