Gardiner, Maine — March 3, 2005 – Blue Marble Geographics (www.bluemarblegeo.com) announced today that the Boston Globe and Boston.com ( www.boston.com) used the BeyondGeo Mapserver Service to map fire department response time in Massachusetts. The Globe investigation featured 351 online maps, allowing readers to see response times to fires in every community in the state. The Boston Globe studied building fires reported from 1986 through 2002 across the US, and mapped those for 1990 through 2002 in Massachusetts. The articles and maps are online at http://www.boston.com/fires.
The Globe found that while cities and towns are closing fire stations and laying off firefighters, America’s firefighters are taking longer to get to fires, costing lives and property damage. The newspaper studied public records of fires reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), a database kept by the U.S. Fire Administration. To focus only on true emergencies, the Globe included only building fires in each fire department’s territory, not false alarms, mutual aid calls or other alarms. That left 3.3 million building fires, reported by 20,000 fire departments. The newspaper also asked a Babson College statistics professor, Elaine Allen, to examine the consequences of slower fire response; she found a statistically significant increase in the percentage of fires with a fatality as response time increased. The Globe calculated that once a day on average in the US, someone dies in a fire when firefighters took longer than 6 minutes to arrive.
The BeyondGeo Mapserver Service was used to display interactive maps of every community in Massachusetts. The response time was color-coded: 1-5 minute response, 6-minute response, and 7-29 minute response times. Readers can click on the fires to drill down for specific information: street address, property damage, deaths and injuries. To see the interactive maps, go to http://www.boston.com/fires, then select a community from the list and follow the link to “See interactive version of this map.”
“We had an excellent experience with Blue Marble and BeyondGeo,” said Globe correspondent Bill Dedman. “We didn’t have the software to host the maps ourselves, so Blue Marble made it possible. The technical staff was extremely helpful.”
“This type of information is extremely valuable for monitoring fire department success rates,” stated Blue Marble’s President Patrick Cunningham. “Users in Massachusetts can analyze this information to see how safe their community is. This type of information is useful for everything from local budgeting to homeland security to private individual moving decisions.”
Blue Marble has been writing GIS software tools and solutions for over 10 years. Their technology is embedded in hundreds of GIS applications currently used by military, oil exploration, civil engineering, surveying, technology and corporate GIS systems. BeyondGeo is a simple and complete Internet map service that enables businesses and organizations to easily and cost-effectively publish interactive, database-driven maps on their web site. Blue Marble currently serves over 120,000 customers in over 120 countries.
Visit www.BeyondGeo.com today and start displaying your own interactive maps!