Monthly Archives: April 2020

Action Needed! Inventory Your Data Feeds for Health/Medical Capability Reporting Data

April 8, 2020

On behalf of the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation, the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) – we are requesting your participation in the Inventory of Data Feeds for Health/Medical Capabilities.

Our request: We are requesting the geospatial community to participate in a nationwide effort to build an inventory of existing data feeds for health/medical capability reporting in support of COVID-19 – and for increasing public health data preparedness into the future.

Action – We need YOU to participate!

  • Please take 5 minutes today to complete the Inventory Form:
    • Note: If you discover additional data feeds/services after submitting the form, simply complete and submit the form again to add more data feeds/services to the inventory.

Purpose: The purpose of this Inventory is to catalogue existing efforts across the local, county, state, and tribal levels where GIS is in use for health/medical capability reporting and information management. This inventory is designed to provide situational awareness on existing reporting data – that is already being managed in a consistent and interoperable format – so that it can be leveraged to inform decision makers and help reduce manual reporting. The inventory of open data feeds and services built through this effort will be made available to the community since this data is already open and available.

What Are We Inventorying: Local, county, and state derived health/medical capability reporting data feeds and services. This includes, but is not limited to data feeds containing any of the following data: ICU bed availability, ICU beds in-use for covid-19, ventilator availability, PPE supplies for medical staff (face masks, gowns, etc). It is meant to capture all local and state health/medical capability reporting data beyond what is made available in the Definitive Healthcare hospital dataset.

Why Inventory these Data Feeds: Currently there are multiple efforts underway for reporting data on key health/medical capability indicators (i.e. ICU bed capacity & availability, ventilator capacity & availability). The key issues with these disparate data collection and management efforts are:

  • Inconsistency and duplication in the data requests regarding the data points (or schema) and formats being requested.
  • Reliance on manual data entry, creating additional burden on an already strained healthcare workforce.
  • Failure to leverage existing automated reporting capability already being made available at the local and state levels.
  • Do not support standardized and interoperable formats necessary to achieve the open and transparent hospital capability analysis needed across the public health and emergency management community.

What this Inventory Solves:

  1. Encourages a nationwide reporting framework that leverages the power and intelligence of geospatial information management to reduce duplication of reporting burdens – by leveraging existing data feeds that are open, secure, and interoperable.
  2. Provides broad awareness on existing local and state health/medical capability reporting data already available as a feed or service.
  3. Increases transparency and appropriate information sharing of existing health/medical capability reporting data that is both open and secured.
  4. Identifies consistent and interoperable dynamic and/or live data sources for reporting data, which should be leveraged to alleviate manual data entry burdens.
  5. Encourages a standards-based approach to collect and manage health/medical capability reporting data, while increasing the usability of the data for analysis and modeling that informs policy.

Be sure to participate in building this inventory today!

Community Lifeline Symbols and Symbol Library Tool Updates

Community Lifeline Symbols

NAPSG Foundation’s Symbol Library provides the public safety community with a consistent incident symbology framework, guideline, and symbol set for use at the incident level on maps and in geographic information system (GIS) applications.

Some of the newest additions to the Symbol Library Tool are FEMA’s Community Lifelines and accompanying Components of Lifelines.

community lifeline symbols


In October 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the fourth edition of the National Response Framework (NRF), which sets the strategy and doctrine for how the whole community builds, sustains, and delivers the response core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal.

This fourth edition of the NRF introduced the community lifelines concept and terminology. Community Lifelines are those services that enable the continuous operation of critical government and business functions and are essential to human health and safety or economic security.

To accompany FEMA’s release of the “Community Lifelines Implementation Toolkit 2.0,” NAPSG Foundation worked with our state and local partners to develop symbols that reflect Community Lifelines and Components of Lifelines in the Symbology Library Tool.

These symbols are free for use by the whole community.

Section of Community Lifelines on a webpage
Select image above to navigate to the Lifelines category in the Symbol Library Tool


NAPSG Foundation’s Symbol Library can be accessed within the Resources area of the website. The library provides access to guideline documents, technical resources, and symbols organized by category. All resources within the Symbol Library are free for use by the whole community.

Latest Enhancements

In addition to the new Community Lifeline Symbols, a recent update to the Symbol Library Tool provides enhancements to aid you in navigating and using the symbols provided.

  1. A symbol with a drop down field below it titled "Select File Type." The cursor is hovering over the PNG 64 option. Download and Copy Link buttons are also provided.Choose File and Icon Types: Symbol size, status, and format options are available for each symbol, as appropriate. A new feature in the tool will allow you to more readily review and select the file and icon types applicable to your needs.
  2. Easily Copy a Symbol’s URL: As part of the updated feature set, individual symbol URLs can now more easily be copied to your system’s clipboard to allow you to paste directly into your mapping applications and other products, mitigating the need to download and host the symbol file elsewhere. These URLs are unique based on the file type and other settings that you choose.

Watch the brief video tutorial below to learn more about this update and how to interact with the new features.