King County, WA: Homeland Security Public Safety Portal Development

King County Public Safety

Client: King County, WA


King County, Washington needed to improve coordination of local emergency responders in the event of natural or man-made disasters. Over 30 County agencies (cities, county, fire departments, and police departments) maintained separate databases of information that did not communicate or relate to each other, and were not easily accessible.

With funding from the Department of Homeland Security, the County wanted to develop a Public Safety Portal that would use geographic information (e.g. street centerlines, parcels, topography, building outlines, and political boundaries) to coordinate emergency responders. A critical requirement was for the portal to integrate large volumes of both spatial and non-spatial data. This combined information could then be rapidly visualized in maps for pre-incident planning.


Farallon Geographics worked with the County as part of a team, to design and build the Public Safety Portal. Farallon’s role was to build the geospatial database and develop a GIS Map Web Service. This provided:

  • Real-time and mobile access to data
  • The ability for each participant to automate the geodatabase updates
  • All geospatial processing to occur within a central database

Farallon designed and implemented a data model to manage and serve the numerous GIS geodatasets received from various County jurisdictions. These included street centerlines, school and police districts, city boundaries, etc. The data model was built using Oracle Spatial, which allows for quick cross-referencing between non-spatial data such as pre-incident plans, with geographic location. Importantly, the data model enables the display of both GIS data and non-spatial data on a single map. This was a critical element for the portal, allowing users to quickly find, analyze and integrate disparate information.