USDA Forest Service RFI: CIO Fire and Aviation Management Information Management Tools and Technology, Wildland Fire Programs, Enterprise Level Data Management

Notice ID SN_2021_DART_II

“The United States Forest Service, Procurement & Property Services, National Procurement Operations, Information Technology Contracting Branch is requesting information from interested offerors to support the Fire and Aviation Management Information Management Tools and Technology group that supports interagency wildland fire programs, at the enterprise level data management…”

“Real-time or tracking information is becoming increasingly important for the wildland fire community. The Dingell Act of 2019 mandated piloting resource tracking on Type 1 incidents. Knowing where fire resources are is an integral part of situational awareness and could potentially enhance decision support processes.

“Operational Environment

Wildland fire operations occur in locations that are rugged, often with a lack of access; there can be little to no cellular connectivity or access to internet or data across much of a fire area; radio (voice) is the primary means of communication. The Forest Service works with many cooperating agencies (federal, state, local, and international) who provide resources and participate in fire operations seamlessly. It is known that many of these cooperating agencies have resource tracking systems in place and are willing partners for sharing and integrating their data, but those systems vary depending on the agency or the ‘normal’ use of the system.

Interoperability is not currently possible in an interagency setting. Situational awareness is critical to many aspects of wildland fire operations for firefighting personnel as well as for other decision makers. Knowing the location of firefighters and assets in relationship to the location of the fire, each other, and other features is critical to wildland fire operations. The number of personnel and assets assigned to a single wildland fire varies but can exceed 2,500.

Data and Communications

Data is the piece that binds it all information together. To be effective, data must be readily available, understood, and in formats that can be consumed by end users. In today’s interagency fire environment, it is extremely difficult to get near real-time data, and yet, with near real-time data fire managers may be able to make decisions that are more efficient, safer, and more costeffective.

Last mile connectivity is critical as most wildfires burn in areas with limited or no cellular (LTE) coverage. In addition, the transmission of increased volumes of data such as video or still imagery requires different solutions (such as MANET, C-Band, private LTE) but must still be interoperable with low bandwidth applications. With the focus on interoperability, a solution must be device agnostic. As agencies, we cannot afford to have a one size fits all solution dependent on property solution sets…”

“Excerpts from the Statement of Objectives:

#2: Data Transformation for cross platform interoperability are documented and audited for compliance. Due to the interagency nature of the wildland fire mission, we will always be operating in a federated environment. This requires use of a variety of methods to share data. Today, we have little documentation of data transformations that occur as data is moved from one place to another.

  • Objective 1.1: Identify best practices for documenting data extraction, transformation and loading across platforms. This will include a variety of On-Prem locations like EROS or NIFC E-Net and cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or Vendor clouds.
  • Objective 2.1: Identify best practices and recommend tools to support monitoring and logging data movement and transformation between platforms. Consider that federated systems are subject to agency specific security requirements and identify potential requirements and/or agreements that would be necessary or helpful to implement monitoring across platforms.
  • Objective 3.1: Identify best practices and recommend tools to audit compliance with established business rules. The WFDMP vision includes a catalog of business rules that apply to data creation, transactions, exchange, transformation, and use. Expand upon this concept to develop a detailed target state for implementing ETL processes, monitoring and auditing against business rules, including a timeframe to achieve this state and milestones along the way.

#3: Source systems are synchronized with Interagency Systems of Record. Operational systems currently use a data exchange service to share data. When wildland fire operations conclude, the data is validated, and in some instances certified, and transitioned to a data warehouse. It is not uncommon for data to be updated several years later. This occurs as a result of Wildland Fire Cause Investigation or completion of financial negotiations or agreements or identification of an error in the record.

  • Objective 1.1: The business community would like a user in an operational system, like a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System, to be notified of changes in the data and be given an opportunity to update the data in their system if they open a record that had been archived in the data warehouse. Based on your experience, what options do we have to provide this type of messaging? What are best practices for keeping data in sync? What are best practices for alerts or notifications to the user without overwhelming individuals resulting in them ignoring the messages? What recommendations do you have for managing changes to authoritative data and maintain sync between business systems using that data?…”

Read more here.


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