Letters to State Tech

Readers discuss information sharing by law enforcement, the ways technology helps individuals choose travel routes, and the pluses and minuses of electronic data interchange.

Protecting the Public

In “Improving the Odds” (Cover Story, Summer 2004) on innovative technology, public safety and information sharing, one of the success stories is on our University of Central Florida-Florida Law Enforcement Data Sharing Consortium.

As StateTech reported, in Florida we implemented one of the top priorities of the Sept. 11th commission—complete information sharing for law enforcement.

A vice president for Microsoft came in for a briefing the other day and told us our program was the most advanced data-sharing system that the company has seen across 23 states. Microsoft offered assistance to connect Florida’s 355 police agencies. We can update you on the Florida data-sharing network.

It was a good story, and we look forward to reading more StateTech.

Joe Saviak
Program Manager
Public Safety Technology Center
University of Central Florida
Orlando, Fla.

Taming Traffic

Thanks for your article, “Street Smarts” (Cover Story, Fall 2004) about how technology is used to tame traffic. The more people we can reach with information about how to check traffic conditions, the better.

At the Washington State Department of Transportation, we continuously improve our intelligent transportation systems as advances in technology evolve. Since your article’s publication, we have upgraded our traffic Web sites, added a touch-tone option to our voice-activated 511 traveler information phone line and are improving our highway advisory radio system to allow us to transmit one radio message on multiple HARs statewide.

In November 2004, 63,301 calls were made to 511, almost doubling October’s total of 32,725 calls. The upgraded traffic Web sites for the Puget Sound area were released Nov. 10 and received 12.6 million page views by the end of the month.

Linda Mullen
Communications Director
Washington State Department of Transportation

Olympia, Wash.

Pros and Cons of EDI

I read the article “Bucks With More Bang” (Spend Management, Fall 2004), which included information on the use of electronic data interchange in Ohio government. I believe the article is incomplete as it fails to address the shortcomings of the EDI system.

Specifically, I receive EDI invoices from several vendors. Unfortunately, I cannot pay these invoices electronically because the EDI system does not support that practice. So, I have to fill out paperwork by hand to pay any EDI invoice I receive.

Ironically, we have a system for paying bills electronically, but it is not linked to EDI and thus cannot be used to pay EDI invoices.

James M. Ottarson
District Administrator
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency,
Northwest District Office

Columbus, Ohio

Since Ohio began using EDI standards in 1996, the Office of Management and Budget has reported a number of benefits, including time savings and efficient management of state procurement rules. But EDI systems must be made to interact with other related applications, and organizations must be ready to address any people and process issues that might arise, including issues with vendors. —Alan Joch, author, “Bucks With More Bang”

Oct 31 2006