Rural American Roadways
America is covered by over 4 million miles of road, and 3 million of it is rural and small town routes. In addition, only 130,000 miles are under the jurisdiction of the federal government, this leaves 97% of all roads in the U.S. being managed by state and local governments. Factoring in that 65.4% of roads are paved, and the rest unpaved, and roads are often created based less on planning and more on personal interest, new and freshly paved roads will often lead to poor mapping and road systems in many rural counties. This is unfortunate because rural America is the leading provider in the U.S. for food, raw materials and manufactured products.
The United States land area amasses 3.6 million square miles, and when 97% of that is designated as rural or small town, we have an obligation to improve mapping in these locations.
Rural Mapping Issues & First Responders
These poor mapping and road planning issues have more than just an effect on moving America’s resources. It also has a major impact on the response time, and even the arrival of emergency services like police officers, sheriff deputies, EMT’s, ambulance crews and fire departments. Sadly, although it is known that these delays are great in number, it is extremely hard to pinpoint the exact amount because most cities, towns, counties and states do not measure performance in regards to overall response time. The information that is available does make it clear that something must be done. If a patient is transported to a hospital within 15 minutes of having cardiac arrest by ambulance they have a 6% chance of survival, reducing the time to 8 minutes increases this to 8% and lowering it to 5 minutes increases the number to 10-11%.
Counties In Need
One solution to the problem, other than a better plan for roadways, is manual GIS map correction by a trained GIS expert. GIS stands for geographic information system, and these experts go through and capture, store, manipulate, analyze, and manage geographical data. In this case, they make sure that what is on the map matches the roads in any given county. Take for example, the GIS experts at Rural First that take select data from each county and then verify that data against county records and other pieces of information to get the most accurate maps available. And like the solutions at Rural First, without a strong GPS software solution that utilizes this new data provided by the GIS experts, counties cannot use the level of accuracy they are provided. Working in tandem, response time is greatly reduced, insuring budgets are kept under control, time is better managed, and most importantly, more lives are saved.