Public Safety Canada

National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)

Surveys of Canadian stakeholders have underlined the need for First Responder Agencies and supporting military units to be better able to exchange information efficiently when working together during crisis response operations. Indeed, the national vision of a “seamless emergency management” capability relies on interoperable communication because it is critical to sharing situational awareness and response planning and execution. As part of an overarching initiative to improve multi-agency information management capabilities, new approaches are required to facilitate such critical information exchange across separate and distinct domains.

The Project

Public Safety Canada is working on promulgating common data exchange standards throughout the public safety community. Past work included the development of the Canada Public Safety Information Network (CPSIN) Data Standards, which served as a useful guide for the definition of criminal justice terms in Canada. A Study was recently conducted to compare CPSIN to the United States Department of Justice’s National Information Exchange Model (NIEM). After completing the comparison, it became apparent that promoting and supporting the public safety community adoption of a Canadian Profile of the NIEM standard (C-NIEM) could be a more appropriate strategic approach, given its larger breadth.

The C-NIEM Study was undertaken to benefit the public safety community by providing scientific support to evolve the strategy on promoting data exchange standards by assessing whether a Canadian Profile of the NIEM could be applied as an information exchange architecture standard of choice for the Canadian public safety community. While the C-NIEM is intended to support information exchange that pertains to all of public safety and security, it was anticipated that the federal sponsors most interested in sponsoring and participating in this Study would have mandates in the related domains because of the origins of the NIEM framework, and because of the challenges with sharing critical information.

  • Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) Emergency Response Center
  • City of Vancouver Emergency Management Office
  • City of Vancouver GIS Department
  • RCMP E Division (Richmond, B.C., Branch)
  • Surrey Fire Department
  • Vancouver Police Department

The Work

Galdos Systems was engaged to perform the study to compare the various relevant standards and make a recommendation about the most suitable standard for use as a common data exchange standard for the Canadian Law Enforcement and Emergency Management Communities.

During this analysis, Galdos:

  • Performed an inventory of 13 current law enforcement and emergency management data exchange standards being used in North America;
  • Assessed each model and/or standard against the National Data Quality Standards (NDQS) business requirements;
  • Compared models and standards; and
  • Identified a model of choice for the Canadian Law Enforcement and Emergency Management Communities.

The Outcome

Galdos Systems worked closely with Public Safety Canada to develop a recommendation report for the adoption of a Canadian Profile of the NIEM by the Canadian Law Enforcement Community. The comparative analysis performed by Galdos Systems identified NIEM as the model of choice to be used by the police community in Canada to address the challenges of data exchange in emergency situations and during day-to-day operations.

The study has:

  • Demonstrated that automated and near real time sharing of emergency management related information amongst multiple agencies and classes of service (e.g. police, fire, etc.) can be accomplished using the NIEM framework and mass market tools such as Google Earth.
  • Demonstrated that existing NIEM data elements, in addition to domain and application specific data elements, can be reused to create new Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD).
  • Demonstrated that the NIEM IEPD lifecycle can be easily used to establish new business requirements (based on the earthquake scenario used in the study) and create new information exchange models.
  • Promoted the use of the NIEM framework and other emergency data exchange standards at the GeoWeb conference in Vancouver, BC, on July, 27th 2010.
  • Demonstrated the use of NIEM at the 2010 Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG) conference in Victoria, BC, on December, 7th 2010.

In order to facilitate the adoption of C-NIEM in Canada, the study has:

  • Developed a recommendation report for the adoption of C-NIEM by the Canadian Law Enforcement Community.
  • Developed a two-year capability road map and a strategic advisory note for the adoption of C-NIEM by the Canadian Emergency Management Community.
  • Provided recommendations with regard to the C-NIEM governance, training, infrastructure, and integration with existing Canadian emergency management frameworks such as the Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System (MASAS).

Customer Comment

Michel Savoie
Interoperability Architect / Architecte de l’interopérabilité
Chief Information Officer Directorate / Direction générale Dirigeant principal de l’information
Public Safety Canada / Sécurité publique Canada

Galdos has renowned experts in open standards and their involvement in the C-NIEM research project was essential to its success.

Interoperability is a hard sell compared to some essential infrastructure needs such as IT Security! Lack of interoperability results in higher cost to address business needs but this is not obvious to people that aren’t knowledgeable about Enterprise Architecture.

The work performed by Galdos was critical for Public Safety Canada and the adoption of the C-NIEM standard at the national level. The report delivered by Galdos was presented to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police which approved the recommendation for the adoption of NIEM as the standard of choice for information sharing.

With Galdos’ expert resources leading the research activities I would not hesitate to recommend Galdos.