CAD system upgrade in Shoshone County Idaho leads to GIS map data updates

When a 9-1-1 call is placed, the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system identifies the most appropriate and available resource to respond to the 9-1-1 call. The GIS data that is integrated into a CAD system provides detailed location information about the 9-1-1 call and can indicate whether the caller is calling from a landline or wireless phone, show where the caller is located (even if the call becomes disconnected), where units from their agency are located within an area, and much more. Because the GIS data can provide telecommunicators such detailed location information, agencies have found it increasingly important to have current GIS data in their CAD systems.


In early 2013, Shoshone County, Idaho, a county is eastern Idaho which covers over 2,600 square miles of mountains and valleys, was preparing to upgrade their CAD system. Home to approximately 13,000 people, with about 87 percent of the land classified as forest uplands and less than one percent of the land classified as urban, the county realized that since they no longer had a GIS person on staff, they lacked the resources to improve the quality of the GIS map data in the system themselves. So they embarked on a GIS project aimed at hiring a knowledgeable, professional team who had the staffing resources needed to develop accurate GIS data sets. County officials hired GeoComm to develop updated map data after realizing GeoComm would be able to simultaneously work on multiple aspects of the project, and therefore the updated map data would be ready by the new CAD system’s scheduled implementation date.

GeoComm began this project by completing two separate rounds of on-site field verification to ensure the accuracy of the GIS data layers. Because Shoshone County is an extremely mountainous and forested area, the 630 miles covered during the field verification process was very time consuming. However, GeoComm staff was successful in driving all of the accessible roadways in the county and verified 8,442 address points.

While the field verification was taking place, GeoComm staff created or updated the following GIS map data layers:

  • Address Point Layer
  • Road Centerline Layer
  • Community Boundary Layer
  • Fire Hydrants Layer
  • Wireless Cell Sectors Layer
  • Highway Mile Marker Layer

Since the accuracy of the county’s GIS data is crucial, quality assurance and quality control audits were performed while updating each of these GIS map data layers. Through the audits, any errors in the data were identified and corrected; ensuring the final GIS map data being developed was complete and accurate.

In late November 2013, 11 months after the project started, GeoComm completed updating the GIS map data layers for Shoshone County, Idaho. Prior to this project, the county did not have any GIS data outside of the urban corridor of Interstate-90, now they have a highly accurate GIS data set for the entire county that can be properly utilized in their new CAD system by providing life saving caller location information.