The Pryor Times

May 23, 2013

Grant funds 911 mapping

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

— A grant made possible by the state tobacco tax has funded a new 911 mapping system in Mayes County.

While the grant was awarded to the 911 center, the technology is geared toward public use.

The online map can be used to locate addresses and roads, search for coordinates, measure distance and area and submit information to a county. New construction or changes to existing homes and businesses can be updated on the map as well.

This is useful for tourists visiting the area, realtors and potential homeowners, current residents and emergency personnel.

While it might sound like existing on-line mapping systems, it has the advantage of being created and maintained locally.

Brandon Hawkins, 911 director, said these maps are a great option as they are created by the people in the county.

“People can search their address or neighborhood. Suppose they notice that there is a fire hydrant on their street that isn't on the map; they can use the verify structure tool and click where it should be. At that point, I receive an email with the information filled out and can update the map that way,” said Hawkins.

“This has some great uses. We have a lot of people that call 911 to ask for directions or the location of something. This will free us up from those calls so we can focus on emergency calls,” said Hawkins. “It can also be used by emergency crews and first responders. If we are called to lend mutual aid to an area we aren't as familiar with as our own neighborhoods, we can use this map to find the address rather than wasting time looking for it or asking where to go.”

In this way emergency crews could not only find exact locations, but would readily know the location of fire hydrants and hospitals which could be crucial.

It provides a secure place for counties to submit information.

The system searches through nine counties, with four or five more in the works, but the end goal is to cover the entire state.

The mapping system has a number of applications and is easy to use.  The website, www.oklahoma911.sdrhorizons.com, is easy to use.

However, the site includes links to instructional videos for people who are less technology savvy.