City of El Cajon Tracks Hazardous Material Placards

GIS can be used in many ways to improve the operations of cities and local governments. The City of El Cajon uses GIS to discover, maintain, and visualize its NFPA 704 Warning Placard data. When large amounts of hazardous materials are stored and used at a business, warning placards are required. These placards act as an immediate warning system for emergency service personnel, helping them identify the kinds of materials present and the dangers they pose. The City of El Cajon uses Environmental Systems Research Institute's (ESRI) Enterprise ArcGIS products in daily operations.

They have a small GIS team that expertly tackles all problems. The City's GIS team supports 911 response, Pavement & Sidewalk Management, Sewer and Storm Drain Maintenance, Traffic Data, Street Light, Signal, Signage, Capital Improvement Projects, Planning Data, Housing Information, Inspection data for Fire & Building Inspectors & PW Inspectors, Special Event Coordination, Park Assets, Street Furniture, and more. With all that data, they use GIS tools to help others with Data Sciences and Spatial analysis to clarify facts, visualize patterns, etc. In August 2022, Quartic was brought in to streamline processes by automating repetitive tasks and modernizing the City’s enterprise GIS system. Quartic can provide GIS expertise when El Cajon needs GIS consulting services.

Cataloging Hazards

Heartland Fire & Rescue is a joint powers agreement (JPA) between El Cajon, La Mesa, and Lemon Grove that creates a cohesive Fire Rescue/EMS service area. Quartic created a field solution that would provide fire inspectors with a way to catalog NFPA 704 Placard information. The NFPA 704 regulations ensure public safety by identifying businesses that house hazardous materials. The ArcGIS Field Maps solution included a new feature service, web map, and mobile data entry form. It greatly simplified in-situ data collection for Heartland’s inspectors.

Arcade-Powered Mobile Form

By taking advantage of Arcade's newer capabilities in ArcGIS Field Maps, field inspectors can maintain placard data more accurately. Once the Quartic team published the new enterprise geodatabase feature class as an editable service and built a web map for field editing, users were exposed to new functionality. Eliminating data entry errors in the field was a requirement of the project. The new Arcade Editor enables more complex and creative expressions and is designed to enhance data quality by using controls such as field auto-calculations and required fields.  

The team at the City maintains a central database of valid addresses and wanted this same address dataset to be used when assigning a business address to a new placard location. In cases where a placard is located without a valid address, inspectors can manually add an address on the fly. This was implemented by writing an auto-calculate Arcade expression. 

Using the spatial function” closest”, the application finds the nearest existing address and populates the address field. If inspectors know the address calculated is incorrect, they can flag the record and type the correct address into another field. This flag is useful for controlling the initial address entry and tracking potential address corrections needed in the primary address database. The new mobile data entry application meets or exceeds the scope outlined by the client, and the new map viewer is a great visual tool with point symbology that matches the 704 placard standards to a tee. 

Used Technology

Esri ArcGIS Technology

Real-Time Quality Results

Heartland Fire & Rescue inspectors are now equipped with the latest Esri field collection technology and can quickly and accurately survey businesses for compliance with hazardous chemical placard posting regulations. Because the project was built using an enterprise geodatabase-based feature service, the companion viewer web application refreshes the map in real-time.  In addition, Heartland and El Cajon GIS staff can further QC the address data and amend the primary source address database when inspectors flag missing addresses. This is a great example of a project that benefits the City long-term by improving the hazard placard maintenance process and maintaining the City’s core address data.

"My favorite part of this project has been working with the Quartic team, who are always upbeat, professional, innovative, positive, and smart. The outcome of this project was just what we wanted, and it benefitted us on many levels." - GIS Analyst, City of El Cajon

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Mapping and spatial analysis provide insight to a great variety of industries and markets. Quartic will empower your business by harnessing the intelligence of spatial technology.
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