IRWIN Information Technology Solution
Based on the September 2009 Business Case Analysis (BCA), a Data Centralization / Data Mart solution was selected as the preferred alternative for an overall architectural concept. IRWIN will utilize an Operational Data Store (ODS) to provide both data storage and to integrate the flow of data from existing Systems of Record (SOR) to and from other IT applications. The ODS provides the ability to load, retrieve, and manipulate both data and metadata and to manage a data dictionary. The ODS also provides the capability to query Authoritative Data Systems (ADS) for additional reporting capabilities. Since all the data is accessible from one place, the ODS implicitly supports the use of business intelligence tools that facilitate reporting and analysis.
The existing ADS/SOR will retain their operational databases, data entry, and reporting functionalities. The ODS solution provides for a push/pull data transfer scheme that could be fully automated or occur at the discretion of the system operator or dispatcher. Hence, the individual ADS/SOR may require modifications to their look and feel representing the implementation specific data transfer functions.
In the implementation of this solution, the ODS does not subsume existing ADS/SOR operational databases. However, the ODS would become the preeminent Authoritative Data Source (ADS) for queries of wildland fire information by providing access to the most current information regardless of the source application.
A primary goal of implementation is to provide a scalable capability to interconnect existing and future interagency systems, not create a new, single, monolithic system to replace all existing systems. Some of the existing systems are technologically capable of interconnecting today, while others (like the most commonly used Federal Computer Aided Dispatch system – WildCAD), will need a technological refresh.
Actual implementation will also leverage existing investments made by the interagency partners and be flexible enough to adopt new technologies as appropriate. This hybridization will enable the IRWIN project to take the best capabilities of existing efforts (e.g. existing Data Warehouse, Enterprise Service Bus, or Web Services) and efficiently meet the needs of the interagency fire community. It also ensures compliance with the national IT strategies.
It is important to note that IT applications within the wildland fire community are interagency systems managed by a single agency or bureau on behalf of the entire wildland fire community. The Forest Service (FS) is the managing partner for the majority of interagency systems making them a critical partner in this project.
The IRWIN project team will coordinate with the managing agencies for each affected application to ensure staff and resources are available to support development of system interfaces. Each interface will be approached as a "project within a project" with a plan that addresses the data elements to be exchanged, the timeline for interface development and the cost. IRWIN will provide funding to each system to support modifications to facilitate the exchange or query of data.
Fourteen primary and eight secondary systems were identified in the Business Case Analysis (BCA)for potential data exchange or query. Given that new fire reporting systems that have been initiated or implemented since the BCA was conducted, the systems identified in the table Candidate Wildland Fire Information Systems for Interconnectivity represent the foundational legacy systems that are prime candidates for interconnectivity with IRWIN.