Sweet (Information Sharing) Home Alabama
I had the pleasure of attending a briefing today on the Virtual Alabama (VA) Project. Jim Walker, Director, Alabama Department of Homeland Security, and Chris Johnson, VA Project Manager gave a full blown, real-time demonstration of VA’s capabilities. While just seeing Google Earth Enterprise technology is cool in itself, what was really astonishing was to see how the project has worked to get access to an amazing number of data sources–they have engaged over 1,100 agencies in implementing information sharing accross the state!
Driven by specific business needs, the VA project now supports law enforcement, fire, emergency management, business and economic development, property tax assessment, port security, emergency evacuation, and they’re only into the project about 10% (their number). Other states would do well to take a look at what they’ve done in about 18 months for about $500,000 with a team of four people. And, don’t focus solely on the specific technology they chose–the real lesson here is what they did to get Alabama agencies to share their data! This is the true accomplishment.
I hope the project can find time write up and share a white paper to document the various strategies they employed to get access to the data–arm twisting, the shame game, Friday afternoon strategy sessions at local watering holes, etc.
Here’s a YouTube movie about it: Google Earth Enterprise Case Study: Virtual Alabama