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Iowa DOT to launch GPS reference network

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is implementing one of the world’s largest DOT-owned statewide networks of GNSS Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS). Called the Iowa Real Time Network (IaRTN), this statewide Real Time Kinematic-Global Positioning System (RTK-GPS) network will provide authorized public and private users near-instantaneous GPS satellite corrections for accurate and precise positioning anywhere in the state.

Mike Jackson, special projects engineer with Iowa DOT, said, “The IaRTN will significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of determining survey-level GNSS coordinates, and, in most cases, eliminate the need to install base stations or proprietary networks. It’s a network built with unlimited potential that can be used by a vast array of users from surveyors and contractors to farmers.”

Provided by Leica Geosystems, the IaRTN network includes a total of 80 stations. Each station will include a Leica GRX1200 GG Pro GNSS receiver with Ethernet capabilities. CORS stations are spaced about 70 km apart, and the network is designed to provide coverage anywhere in the state of Iowa.

Tech startup wins $500K global security contest

TRX Systems, a company founded by Gil Blankenship, a University of Maryland professor and associate chairman of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has won first place in the third annual Global Security Challenge (GSC) competition. The startup was nurtured in the university’s tech company incubator and assisted by the university’s Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.

For winning, TRX Systems receives a $500,000 federal contract from the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), the U.S. national forum that identifies, prioritizes, and coordinates interagency and international research and development requirements for combating terrorism.

TRX’s presentation at the GSC showcased the prototype system, which, according to the company, can effectively track individuals inside multi-story buildings with no special instrumentation or preparation of the incident site required. The system provides accurate, reliable locations in three dimensions, indoors and outside regardless of the local environment, weather conditions, availability of GPS, it says.

CBP hits goal of 18,000 border patrol agents

U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) met the goal to hire 6,000 Border Patrol agents across the U.S. by year’s end. CBP reached its target weeks ahead of schedule and now employs more than 18,000 agents.

In May 2006, President George W. Bush set the goal of increasing the Border Patrol by 50% from its then 12,000 agents. Today, more than 18,000 agents are part of the Border Patrol, which guards the southwestern, northern, and coastal borders of the U.S. between the official ports of entry.

The Border Patrol made measurable personnel and operational gains at both the northern and southern borders as a result of the enhanced number of agents in the field, along with implementing better technology and training and increased infrastructure.

More agents on the frontlines have proven to be a deterrent to illegal activity on the border, which is reflected in recent statistics and news accounts. Since the hiring goal was issued in 2006, nationwide apprehensions have decreased by more than 44%.

Sheriff’s office deploys Columbitech Mobile VPN

Columbitech, a leading security software provider, announced the Allen County Sheriff’s Office in northwest Ohio selected Columbitech for a countywide implementation of its Mobile VPN. By installing the mobile VPN, Allen County emergency personnel can now improve productivity with secure, uninterrupted remote access to mission-critical applications, including dispatch of emergency calls, fire inspection data and police reports, as well as vehicle and identity check-ups.

Allen County Sheriff’s Department selected Columbitech for its ability to support network roaming and session persistence. Prior to implementing Columbitech’s solution, Allen County’s legacy solution terminated log-in sessions and lost data any time the network signal was lost or a user roamed to a new network.

Handheld US adds option to rugged handheld

Handheld US expanded the versatility of the super slim, rugged M3 Mobile PDA by introducing an optional integrated imager. This new option extends the functionality of the M3 Mobile with the ability to read two-dimensional barcodes and symbols, as well as the more common linear barcode types.

The full-featured M3 Mobile rugged mobile computer comes with advanced features such WLAN, Bluetooth, camera, integrated GSM/EDGE cellular capabilities and GPS. The M3 Mobile weighs only 9 ounces, is IP64 rated and can handle extreme temperatures and multiple drops from 5 feet.

VisionTEK scores project with S.C. agency

VisionTEK, a provider of mobile data and field-based reporting software for law enforcement, announced the beginning of a partnership with the Spartanburg County, SC Communications / 9-1-1 Department, which selected VisionTEK as the preferred vendor of the development and deployment of its new Emergency Medical Services Mobile Data system.

The Spartanburg County Communications / 9-1-1 Department provides emergency medical response to the nearly 275,000 citizens of Spartanburg County. The agency employs about 70 computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) users and about 1,445 service personnel who respond to an average of 351,000 events per year. The dispatch center handles law, fire and EMS events.

SpillmanTracer identifies cause of IT problems

Spillman is utilizing new technology to bring time-saving innovations to its customers. SpillmanTracer™, powered by BMC’s AppSight Black Box Technology, is designed to help technicians quickly identify the cause of user, software, operating system, and network connectivity problems. Just like an airplane’s black box collects data in case of an accident, SpillmanTracer captures a real-time log of system transactions. If an issue unexpectedly occurs, system administrators and Spillman support technicians can easily pinpoint the cause of the problem.

If a customer is experiencing problems, that person simply repeats the transaction while recording it on a log. Spillman’s technical support team can easily replay the log and view everything from mouse movements to keystrokes.

EF Johnson ranked No. 23 in Tech Titans Fast 50

EF Johnson Technologies Inc. announced that it was named No. 23 in the Tech Titan Fast 50 list by the DFW Metroplex Technology Business Council. The Tech Titan Fast 50 annually recognizes the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the DFW Metroplex, based on a percentage of revenue growth over five years and one year. The list is composed of 40 five-year growth companies and 10 one-year growth companies.

The Tech Titans awards were launched in 2001 by the Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC), North Texas’ most comprehensive organization supporting technology. The Tech Titans committee is a group of dedicated volunteers that each year organizes the annual awards ceremony. Judges are drawn from a variety of disciplines in technology, leaders in the area and past winners. For more information, visit

Kapsch launches module for on-board system

Kapsch TrafficCom Inc., international supplier of innovative road traffic telematics solutions, launched its eWAVE Embedded WAVE module, a compact 5.9 GHz Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) wireless module designed for integration into on-board and roadside 5.9GHz DSRC communication systems.

The eWAVE offers an unprecedented value proposition to auto suppliers, truck original equipment makers, third party integrators and allow faster development of the products supporting Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) applications. It is ideal for testing and integration of the VII 5.9GHz DSRC based applications.

Tyco radios accepted for STARNET network

Tyco Electronics Wireless Systems, a worldwide leader of critical radio communication systems, announced that its P7200 portable radios have been accepted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for deployment on its statewide radio network.

The P7200 was tested in OpenSky mode for use on the statewide STARNET network using newly developed software, which will significantly increase the functionality of the system for the more than 18,000 radios deployed on the network. In addition, the P7200 portable radio also successfully passed the test criteria for use on the OpenSky Vehicular Tactical Network, or V-TAC, which is in use on the STARNET system.

Agencies partner up for improved interoperability

The Vestavia Hills, AL Police Department has partnered with a neighboring police department to upgrade its public safety software. The Vestavia Hills Police Department has signed a joint contract with the Homewood Police Department to license New World Systems’ Aegis / MSP® Public Safety Solution on the Microsoft® platform. This combined project will greatly improve interoperability between the two agencies and facilitate critical public safety data sharing throughout much of the Birmingham-area. With the help of a COPS Grant for interoperability from the city of Birmingham and support from the Vestavia Hills City Council, the Vestavia Hills Police Department selected New World’s Aegis Computer Aided Dispatch, Records Management, Mobile Computing, Corrections and Aegis Justice Link software to replace its aging system.

Lee County, FL adopts warrant alert system

Metatomix Inc., a leading provider of semantic solutions to justice and public safety organizations, announced that Lee County, Florida has implemented an Active Warrant Alert System to identify defendants appearing before the court who have open local, Florida, out-of-state or federal warrants, enabling court and law enforcement personnel to take appropriate action. Within the first seven days of implementation in Lee County, the Metatomix system identified 141 warrants that led to 16 arrests.

The Active Warrant Alert System is an extension of the Metatomix technology, which also powers the Judicial Inquiry System (JIS) and First Appearance Calendar, statewide solutions that query and deliver correlated results from 13 state and national data sources empowering criminal justice personnel with real-time information. These solutions were developed by Metatomix in cooperation with the Florida Office of State Courts Administrator. Underscoring the effectiveness of Metatomix technology in the state of Florida, the company’s solutions are currently in use in 67 counties across the state, with more than 4 million search queries processed each month.

Published in Public Safety IT, Jan/Feb 2009

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