Small Area, Small Problems? Not the Case with State and Local Governments

The operating challenges around budgets, resources, and legacy technology we see at the Federal level are amplified at the state and local level. Just because these groups are responsible for a smaller population does not mean their problems are smaller. On the contrary, historically low staffing levels and a geographically-limited pool of talent feed into the core challenges that all government teams face.

Security - Securing systems and the data that lives on those networks is now seen as a focus beyond IT. Everyone plays a role in cybersecurity, and there is a real need to update systems and processes as well as educate users.

Innovation - Since teams are so busy with day-to-day operations, stepping back to foster innovation can be difficult.  Many are finding ways to make the transformation work. In fact, some of the most innovative public sector programs are happening on the local level.

Managing change - Communication is key in implementing change within small, tight-knit teams. Participation in decision making ensures that new solutions meet the needs of the workforce as well as the citizens.

Finding time for training - All of the challenges above feed into an inability to make time for training and education to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology field. Continue reading

Mapping out Geospatial Uses

Geospatial, as a strict term, means data that is related to a location. In the government space, Geospatial has been used interchangeably with GIS - or Geographic Information Systems - which refers to technology that uses geospatial data. GIS has long been a key technology for the military and intelligence communities to help map out and gain visibility into areas for combat or missions. But as the availability of geographic data grows through the use of GPS applications, drones, and IoT technologies, the use of GIS is expanding across government.

GIS is a key tool in disaster response helping overlay available resources and assets onto maps of areas impacted by floods or fires. It can also be used to map in real time the location of hazards such as downed power lines.

GIS is also being used by law enforcement. In one case, a boy had gone missing, suspected to be abducted. The boy posted a photo to Instagram and the image, taken from what seemed to be an apartment window, included a sign on a bank across the street. An analyst looked up branch locations and cross-referenced the addresses with online maps, but could not get a location that seemed to be a possible match. When they took that data and loaded it into a GIS system that took a top-down look at locations they were able to pinpoint the location of the child.

Urban sprawl and growth is also being managed with GIS. The city of Durham, NC uses aerial imagery to get a better look at changes being done to properties that impact land use, water runoff, and drainage.

There are several upcoming events focused on GIS as well as others that include discussion of the application of geospatial technology. Continue reading

Planning for the Worst: Making Disaster Recovery a Priority

Hurricanes, wildfires, gun violence, data breaches. It's been a rough news cycle and an even rougher reality. As painful as it is to think about these recent events, it is important for organizations to plan for the worst. This includes the logistical (if we lose access to our building, how will we work?), the technical (how do we maintain access to our data and IT systems?), and the personal (how do we contact and support employees during a disaster?).[Tweet "Hurricanes, wildfires, gun violence, data breaches. Be prepared for any disaster. #GovEventsBlog"]

Lucky for those of us who shudder at thinking about worst-case scenarios, there are professionals whose job it is to map out a plan that can be used in the event of disaster. These disaster recovery experts share theoretical and tactical guidance at a number of events throughout the year. Below are some upcoming events listed on GovEvents that can help anyone be better prepared for a disaster:[Tweet "Planning for the Worst: Making Disaster Recovery a Priority. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

Behind the Curtain: International Wireless Communications Expo

The International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Over the years, IWCE has stayed true to its roots in two-way radio communications, keeping attendees abreast of the evolution of technology from mobile radios to push-to-talk integrated cellphones to today's coordination with IoT devices. But what IWCE is even more excited about is what the next 40 years hold for the communications technology industry.

As the core technology and devices have evolved, the audience at IWCE is increasingly moving toward a more public sector crowd with public safety, utilities, and transportation sectors highly represented. At the show, attendees meet with vendors showcasing the latest technologies, discuss policy, and receive training on new tools, policies, and techniques.[Tweet "Behind the Curtain: International Wireless Communications Expo | March 27-31 #GovEventsBlog #IWCE"]

Show Director, Stephanie McCall, shared some insights into what to expect at this year's show happening March 27-31 in Las Vegas, NV. Continue reading