West Midlands Fire Service has recently transformed its IT assets to reduce costs and improve the quality of its service delivery. Key to the success of this transition is 'Chimp'- an, innovative, highly functional and cost-effective technological response to the increasing demands placed on gazetteer software which manages addresses in the modern emergency service.

Chimp has been awarded with the 2011 National Gazetteers Technology Exemplar Award and following an audience vote at the Everything Happens Somewhere conference on the 3rd November 2011 in Nottingham, the Overall Exemplar winner. The award recognised the innovative use of the National Gazetteers and the use of open source technology to realise significant operational efficiencies and cost savings.

Chimp was designed to bring together previously disparate databases such as flood data from the Environment Agency, water hydrant information from water companies and telephone kiosks from BT. Chimp includes data extraction, transformation and load tools. Using the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) as a base Chimp has been used to create or modify over one million pieces of data to assist in the correct identification of locations during emergency call outs and other brigade duties.

Created using open source technology Chimp has resulted in a significant avoidance of development and on-going costs per annum. In addition Chimp has already been used to target, administer and prioritise over 120,000 Home Safety Checks across the West Midlands and has enabled a recent 'Area Risk Modelling' project to inform and visualise high profile policy decisions.


Staffordshire Fire Service is currently using Chimp and two other brigades are working toward its adoption. "We had a bold, all-encompassing vision for our corporate gazetteer expressed through a comprehensive list of clearly defined requirements.


By realising and exceeding these expectations we have delivered an NLPG based solution capable of serving one of the busiest fire control rooms in the UK. We have also created something that can be adopted and developed by other emergency service and partner organisations," commented Tim Needham, Software Architect, West Midlands Fire Service.

The 2011 Exemplar Awards were presented by GeoPlace and aim to share, reward and celebrate best practice, which brings service improvements and efficiencies through the effective management of address and street information. Winners of the 2011 Exemplar Awards will be documented into a case studies booklet that will be made available via the GeoPlace website: www.geoplace.co.uk

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 1530 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com