Ministry of Labour and Citzens' Services.

Base Mapping and Geomatic Services


BC Ambulance Service

The BC Ambulance Service uses the DRA maps provided through Base Mapping and Geomatic Services as an integral part of the 9-1-1 emergency dispatch system. With these maps, call takers are able to immediately identify the location of the caller, and with other associated technologies (Vehicle Location), dispatch the appropriate resource in response to a request for service. Ambulances equipped with global positioning receivers feed their coordinates back to the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, where the current location of each unit is displayed on the map. Each unit's status is shown by colour variations in its representative icon.

A key objective of the dispatch system is to assist in getting appropriate resources dispatched in as short a period of time as possible. Response time is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) throughout the world. Having mapping information available ensures the closest available ambulance is dispatched to minimize the delay in arriving on the scene. In some instances, this can make the difference between life and death.

Determining where best to place resources presents a complex problem. It requires research into where and when incidents occur plus a host of other parameters. With the help of a San Diego company, the DRA maps are also used to input historical responses and display them graphically as dots on the map. By using various colours for the dots, actual response times to those events are indicated. By creating "what-if" scenarios, BC Ambulance is able to hypothetically move resources around and recalculate the resulting response times on those historical events. This aids in determining the best positioning of resources to reduce future response times in a geographical area.

The following screenshot shows the call taker window, status screen showing the status of all the ambulances and the map icons representing the current location.

call taker window