News Flash


Posted on: September 8, 2023

Frisco's GIS Staff and Public Safety Program, SAFER, Recognized for Continued Innovation

(September 8, 2023) The City of Frisco Information Technology Department's GIS Division recently received two awards for continued innovative work on SAFER, or Situational Awareness For Emergency Response. The program designed in-house gives firefighters, EMTs, and police officers immediate access to building information, including real-time video, while responding to emergencies.
Internationally recognized more than a decade ago, SAFER recently received the Innovations in GIS Award and Special Achievement in GIS Award from Esri, a global geographic information system (GIS) software company. 

 “The vision has always been for first responders to have one way to respond to all incidents,” said Susan Olson, Assistant Director of IT. “Over time, we built reliance on SAFER on a foundation of accurate data, strong integrations, and responsiveness to needs.”  Olson serves as the lead for the GIS Division and the SAFER program.

First implemented in 2009, SAFER began as a partnership with the Frisco Independent School District (FISD) integrating two government organizations’ data. Scaling SAFER to keep pace with the city’s fast and expansive growth has required diligent attention and communication across city departments and with FISD. The Frisco Fire Department schedules yearly visits to every school to ensure campus information is up-to-date in SAFER.

“The Frisco Fire Department and school administrative staff work together during a fire drill to critique and identify areas of improvement,” said William Clay Carpenter, Deputy Chief - Frisco Fire Department. “Through this collaboration, staff from both agencies get to know each other better and effectively strategize student safety.”

SAFER enables first responders and administrators to make informed decisions when seconds count, benefiting not only first responders, but ultimately the citizens, when they need it most. Having access to video and real time information is critical when responding to emergencies. It also helps confirm false alarms. When problems happen, SAFER provides clarity, allowing first responders to share and receive critical information fast.

“For calls like minor accidents, dispatchers and responding officers can pull up traffic cameras through links in SAFER to determine the best approach,” said Chief David Shilson, Frisco Police. “At larger scenes, incident commanders can see where all units are in order to quickly set perimeters and direct incoming resources.”

“Their work sets a precedent for using GIS for pre-planning and emergency response by providing dispatchers, police officers, and firefighters real-time data and video before they arrive at an incident,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri Founder and President. 

SAFER is one example of how city leadership views all of Frisco as an innovation hub. The approach has contributed to Frisco’s reputation as a dynamic city for economic development and growth-focused startups and tech firms. 

Learn more about SAFER at

Also see why the city's GIS innovation is a great tool for you to use, too! Check out the mapping portal here.

GIS City of Frisco TX - Award Pic 3GIS SAG 2023 (002)

Pictured Left: City Manager, Wes Pierson, Assistant Director of IT, Susan Olson, and Interim CIO Curt Balogh accepted the Innovations in GIS Award on behalf of the city at the summit held in Redlands, California in June 2023. 

 Pictured Right: City of Frisco GIS staff members Charlotte Stockard, Meg Adaya, Susan Olson, and Brian Macke pictured with Esri CEO and Founder, Jack Dangermond at the Esri Users Conference in July 2023. 

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