Simple Application of Linked Data Principles for Firefighters

One way firefighters world wide assist themselves while navigating through towns and cities is recording ‘distinctive points’ (actually that is how we navigate through smoke as well.) So instead of a ‘turn left at the third traffic light’ we often record ‘turn left at ABC Pharmacy’. So where does linked data come into play?

In the current economic situation shops come and go, so ‘ABC Pharmacy’ from the example might be long gone, leaving a driver clueless as where to turn left!
What stays the same is the address, but then again navigating on addresses is not really trustworthy so how can we use this address to generate a distinctive point?

In The Netherlands we have a public data set called ‘Building and Address Base Administration’ this is a official nation wide register of all buildings, dwellings and addresses throughout the country. One of the interesting features is that this data is internally interlinked, and uses nation wide unique identifiers. A absolute ideal situation to generate linked data from. If you inspect the dataset more closely you will actually find out that a address and a building are loosely coupled, that means if for some reason a full restructure of addresses takes place, the building identifiers stay the same.
Back to our problem, we want to know the business located in a specific building so we can use it to navigate. For this we use a semi official open chamber of commerce dataset which uses the building identifiers as location specifiers. This means that for generating the distinctive points, we only need to locate a building based on its address and then query the chamber of commerce data to see what business is located there!

So no matter what business is located in the building, as long as the building doesn’t move we can automatically find the businesses in that building and generate up to date distinctive points with linked data!

30 thoughts on “Simple Application of Linked Data Principles for Firefighters

  1. You are absolutely right. The only issue is the actuality of the base administration. Unfortunattly the database is often not accurate.
    The linked data perspective is absolutly a very good evolvement.
    Our biggest challenge is the use of the lined data in our emergency room.
    I would like to discuss this challenge. Even better hope to hear some possible solutions. Our other challange is one time data storage multiple use and the use of core registration (literal translation)

  2. In my opinion this is a chicken egg problem, in another post I also reflected on this issue:
    Instead of training our first responders to be always very critical about the information they receive, we make them ‘slaves of information’ we end up with dumb none thinking professionals just because we keep overloading them with information.

    What we need is first responders who can judge quality of information and have the means to signal and report errors. This way we can use information which might be wrong 20% of the time, but is beneficial for 80% of the time.
    With opendata this means we get information which is correct 80% of the cases for FREE ! There is no way we can justify or organize the governing of this data as fire departments.

  3. ” Slave of information” thats is interesting thing.
    We, as humans trust our own brain, although we know now we have all kind of cognitive biases (known misatckes). In other words, our brain is not so reliable as we think. Professor Danny Lahneman (nobelprize winner) has done research to this matter.
    If we accept that our brain makes these mistakes we have a choice. We have to minimize the effect of biases by thinking of ways to overcome them. In my opinion there are 2 different approaches. One: desissions on time pressure we fall back to routines. So we have to train these routines to prevent it suffors from biases al lot. This we do already partly in the our sector. (firefighting and crisismanagement)
    On the other hand, the information we get these days is more and better reliable. Not only because a computer doesn’t have the effect of biases, but the intelligence is getting better and better.
    So we can make better use of these information to compensate our own biases. Interesting thought? This gives ” slave of information” an other dimension, doesnt it?

    • Interesting point of view as well.

      But when I notice that the knowledge of my colleagues is degrading because they rely on digital information things are going the wrong direction. Examples:

      1) on Automated alarms the first arriving unit should drive up to the entrance with the orange flashing light, not the ‘destination icon’ on the Satnav system.

      2) Local knowledge erodes since we expect the system to tell us what we need to know.

      Your remark fits perfectly with that what I’ve been telling for a while, as a Firefighter I want information to trigger me to think about which routines to apply, not to dictate me what to do.

      The reality out there, situational awareness, is what kills me, no matter what the computer screen is telling me.

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