Chief Fire Officer, James Courtney of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) welcomed attendees to the 2012 Cadcorp Fire Conference, held at the brigade’s HQ in Sheffield on 6th March.    Press Release, Stevenage, 12 Mar 2012

He drew particular attention to the part being played by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at a time when fire services are being asked to do more with limited resources.

The conference entitled ‘GIS technology in the fire service, its contribution to resilience and efficiency’ provided an opportunity for fire brigades throughout the UK to come together and share their experiences.

Graham Howe, SYFR Watch Manager, provided an account of how the brigade has been using GIS to explore the service impact of possible station closures. He generated response time maps for different configurations of fire stations. By subtracting a response time maps of a proposed configuration, from a response time maps of the existing configuration, he can easily identify where services would be improved, and where services would deteriorate.

The presentation by Cathy McGoran and Gemma Polmear, GIS Analysts with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, reminded the attendees that it is not just the location of stations that affect call out times, but also the home addresses of fire officers on-call. They have estimated and mapped the time it will take officers to travel from home to station and by embedding the resultant maps in intelligent PDF documents, have provided a simple but very effective tool for use by the brigade in staffing and rostering.

Mike Baines, System Administrator, Greater Manchester FRS, described the improvements in data sharing his authority is experiencing following its implementation of a corporate GIS supported by a centralised spatial data warehouse. He also described some of the advantages of using GIS (rather than CAD) to manage the still valuable printed book plots.

Hiren Patel, Research Analyst with Leicestershire FRS, gave a valuable lesson in the practical application of simple descriptive statistics in spatial analysis, and made a convincing case for the wider adoption of the box plot as a convenient way of graphically depicting groups of numerical datameasures.

Will Stewart, Information Services Manager at the States of Jersey Fire and Rescue, gave the audience a feel for the geographic challenges faced by an island fire brigade, not least the requirement to be self-sufficient and have a ‘can-do’ attitude. Will described how the deployment of a simple and easy to use GIS application in their Command Support Unit helps in the management of large incidents on the island.

In the afternoon, it was the turn of Cadcorp partners to share some of their developments. First to present was Atul Patel, Product Director at 3tc Software. He described his company’s mobile data solution – MODAS – which is about to be deployed by SYFR. He even had a system on hand for participants to evaluate.

The organisation providing map data to MODAS – the Ordnance Survey – had an opportunity to present on their other products of value to the fire service. Nick Turner, Address Migration and Business Development Manager at the OS, described the National Address Gazetteer and the addressing products that are now on offer through the gazetteer hub managed by GeoPlace™. He gave helpful advice on when to use Address Base™, AddressBase™ Premium and AddressBase™ Plus.

Lisa Thompson, Research Associate from the prestigious Jill Dando Institute at University College London, gave an illuminating presentation entitled ‘Beyond the Blobs: an introduction to KDE’. It was interesting to hear the views of an expert who has been instrumental in encouraging the growth of hot-spot mapping in the emergency services, using the method called ‘Kernel Density Estimation’. Lisa’s key message concerned pushing the boundaries of hot spot mapping to find out why they exist, rather than simply plotting their location.

Mike O’Neil, CEO, Cadcorp, emphasised the value of the conference to Cadcorp. ‘The Fire Service is an important and growing market for Cadcorp. We find there is an appetite for brigades to learn from each other especially at a time when resources are tight. This annual event which attracted seventy delegates, looks set to continue as an important component in our events calendar.’

About Cadcorp
Cadcorp® is a UK based developer and supplier of GIS and web mapping software. From its headquarters in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Cadcorp's sales, support, distribution and partner network stretches worldwide.

Cadcorp SIS® - Spatial Information System® software suite – is an integrated family of standalone, web, developer and mobile GIS products. Our cost-effective solutions help organisations in the public and private sectors maximise their investment in geographic information by making it easier to share spatial data between people and between systems.

As a long-standing technical member of the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc® (OGC), Cadcorp has been at the forefront of the application of open technologies and standards-based solutions. Cadcorp is an ISO9001:2008 and ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certified company and an Oracle® Partner. In the UK, Cadcorp is an Ordnance Survey® Developer Partner; Northern Ireland Land & Property Services® (LPS) Licenced Partner; corporate member of the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) and a corporate member of the British Cartographic Society (BCS). For more information go to:

For further information contact: Richard Spooner, Marketing Manager, Cadcorp
Tel: +44 (0)1438 747996, e-mail: