Friday, December 10, 2010

Mountain Empire Regional GIS - MERG

The Mountain Empire Regional GIS (MERG) was officially launched yesterday Thursday, December 9, 2010 at the Southwest Higher Education Center in Abingdon, VA.  Nadine Culberson, Deputy County Administrator for Washington County welcomed everyone and introduced the keynote speaker Karen Jackson, Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virgina.  See press coverage by here.

The MERG project is a regional model in Virginia that demonstrates the benefits of collaboration amongst localities and state government by leveraging innovative tools in technology to improve data sharing and services. The project began when the counties of Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth and Washington along with the City of Bristol identified a need to improve emergency response to 9-1-1 calls. The focus of the project was to design a system to share current GIS data across jurisdictional boundaries to enhance emergency response for mutual aid and regional responses, something that has hampered emergency response times in the past. The project received grant funds from the Virginia Wireless E-911 Services Board through the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Grant Program.  The MERG system also shares the regionally aggregated GIS data to the Virginia Geographic Information Network, supporting VGIN's efforts to establish a statewide GIS Clearinghouse.

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