Site Navigation

Overview of Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) Systems

Introduction to the Micromation CAD System

What it Provides .

Key Features

Executive Summary

System Description



Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) for emergency services is largely regarded as an essential feature of an Emergency Control Centre.   With the advent of more powerful computers, and vast system software capability, the today’s CAD systems allow the operator to enter any information, or look up any information at the click of a mouse. But this was not always the case.

Many year ago, the emergency service control room operators would have an “Occurrence Book” in which all occurrences would be recorded.  Early computer systems simply mimicked the occurrence book functions, but as time went by, the computer systems grew in complexity, till today the functions of many of the CAD systems are vast.

With the increase in functionality came increases in prices, and increases in complexity.  Emergency service operators could no longer get away with only knowing how to write, they had to become computer operators, and in so doing needed to be able to find their way around operating systems, as well as CAD application programs.  In fact, to be proficient, many CAD systems today require operators to undergo extensive training on the CAD system, as well as training on the computer system software such as Windows 2000.    No longer could old and experienced staff spend their latter working days before retirement in the relative comport of a control room – they simply did not have the necessary skills for this new age environment.

Today things are even further complicated by the increasing use of multidisciplinary control centres, which required the operators to be proficient in the Call Taking and Dispatching of many different emergency service providers.

In first world countries, many operators are extremely computer literate, and have no trouble negotiating complex and extensive CAD programs, but in developing countries, operators are usually chosen for their knowledge and proficiency in the languages of the region, rather than for their computer literacy abilities.      What this means in practice is that CAD software packages developed in first world countries are often not suitable for staff use in developing countries.  On a smaller scale, the CAD packages used in large cities are often too complex for the folk who operate control centres in the remote towns and country areas.

What does this mean for the councils and provinces that install and operate emergency control centres?  It means that the installation of an effective CAD system is virtually totally dependant on the IT ability of the control centre staff.  If the staff your emergency control centre intend using could not hold down a position in an IT company, the best (and most expensive) CAD system in the world would be a total waste of money.  Moreover, you would be lucky if they were able to use even a small fraction of the CAD system’s capability.

In short, you would have frustrated staff, low staff morale, and poor emergency centre performance, not to mention a flattened budget!

With CAD systems, as with many other things in life, there are “horses for courses”.   Micromation has realised this fact, and now is able to offer its top of the range CAD system, supplemented with its functional down-to-earth economical “XX” system.  So now you can choose a system from Micromation that suits your staff and your budget.

Back to "Site Navigation"

Introduction to MICROMATIONs' CAD

State-of-the-art emergency management system based on the open systems architecture.

Comprehensive Integrated Incident Reporting and Call Handling system aimed at improving the emergency services of Local or Regional Administration and Metropolitan services and other organizations requiring an emergency management system.

Its ultimate goal?   To save People and Property in case of Emergencies.

Fully integrated system that gives the user a bird's eye view of the scene of interest, be it an aircraft disaster, traffic accident, chemical spillage, building on fire, natural disaster, armed robbery or hijacking. The modularity of the system enables the user to configure the system to satisfy his current needs and, as requirements change, expand and upgrade by adding further modules.

The design and modularity make it ideal for :-

Fire Departments

Traffic Departments

Ambulance Services

Civil Protection Services

Police Control Centers

Reaction Forces

Cash-In-Transit (CIT) Control Centers

Fleet Management

Transport Industry

Resource Management

Back to "Site Navigation"


Provides Quick Reactions

The use of true Geographic Information System (GIS) data models enables the user to link geographic data (maps, streets, landmarks, houses and buildings) and non-geographic data (telephone information, address information, street information, house and building information) at the click of a button. This allows the user to effectively select the best service to turn out to the incident in order to ensure that help arrives on scene in the shortest possible time.

Provides Quick Information

It has an extensive call-taking and recording facility that assists the operator in capturing information in the shortest possible time. The use of Caller Line Identification (CLI) further assists in effective and fast call capturing. Captured information can at any stage be passed on to another center for dispatching purposes or further data capture.

Fully complies with the latest designs in Local Area Networks (LAN’s) and Wide Area Networks (WAN’s).

Utilizes various transmission mediums, i.e. telephone lines, fiber-optic cable, radio frequency and microwave. There is no need to change or upgrade existing networks.

Will utilize these networks as far as possible for its data communications.

Will also utilize third-party data communication networks when they prove more cost-effective and reliable.

Provides Quick Response

The Computer Aided Dispatching system enables the user to quickly dispatch the correct vehicles, equipped with the necessary equipment, to the emergency scene. The Computer Aided Dispatching system uses a routing feature assisting the response unit to reach the scene of the incident in the shortest possible time.

Provides Quick Access

Makes full use of the radio and telephone communications infrastructure in place, or a new communications infrastructure can be established as part of the system.

Has an information security system that enables only authorized personnel to access information from the CAD database.

Provides Quick Training

Makes use of a consistent graphic user interface that enables the user to move from the reporting subsystem to any of the dispatching subsystems without the need for retraining. All subsystem modules are designed to run directly from the control panel.  Opening and closing of Windows, selecting of programs using icons, etc. makes a user-friendly system.

Provides Quick Results

The benefits of using the system are numerous:

Easy to use


Fits in with small and large emergency centers

Up-to-date information system

Integration with existing systems

Upgradability for future expansion and needs

Effective and simplified data management

But most importantly, the major benefit of using the Micromation CAD System is the saving in terms of lives and property.  There are currently a number of South African "107" (911)  Reporting and Dispatching centers that have a system adapted and installed for their specific needs.  We can do the same for you!

Back to "Site Navigation"


Runs on Microsoft Windows NT/95/98/2000.

Microsoft SQL 6.5/7 database.

Year 2000 compliant.

Incident Reporting subsystem with automatic number and location identification.

Extensive user access control system.

Individual dispatching modules for Fire Emergency, Ambulance, City police, Traffic Police and Support services.

Dispatching modules allow for integration with station announcement systems and remote printing of turnout details.

Integrated shift planning and rostering subsystem.

Extensive data management subsystem for data entry and manipulation.

Integrated paging and faxing modules.

Management information subsystem with standard reports.

System maintenance includes database backup and archiving.

Integrated alarm monitoring system for automatic call registering initiated by domestic and public alarm & panic systems.

If you would like us to email you more information on the Micromation CAD System, as well as a Power Point presentation on the various facilities that it offers, please click  action@micromation.co.za and don't forget to include your name, position, company name plus phone number including area code, and we will email you a self extracting 616 KB zipped file!

Back to "Site Navigation"


Micromation's CAD System is a fully integrated system that gives the user a birds eye view of the scene of interest, be it an aircraft disaster, traffic accident, chemical spillage, building on fire, natural disaster, armed robbery or hijacking. It is a state of the art command and control system for the paperless control centre.

The system is designed for the recording of incidents of any kind at any one or combination of the following control centres:

107 (911) Reporting;



City policing;

Security services;

  Armed response services;

Service centres (such as electricity utility, water, waste, towing services, etc);

Delivery services (such as cash-in-transit and courier services)

Once captured using the incident reporting module the incident information will be distributed to the pre-selected dispatching centre or centres be it on the same premise or located elsewhere. The incident handling module in conjunction with the shift planning and duty rostering module allows the dispatch centre to respond with the best equipped response team to the incident. The CAD mapping system may be used to calculate the shortest route from the selected response team to the incident allowing the dispatcher to navigate the response team effectively.

To populate and update the database a maintenance module was designed giving the user a user-friendly graphical interface to enter and correct information. Through the maintenance module the user can set the access control of operators to the system, populate a personnel and streets database, link incidents to dispatch centres and all the other tables that assist the call taker and dispatcher to capture and handle an incident with the click of a button.

The management information system allows the control centre management to draw extensive management reports an all aspects regarding the incidents captured and the response to these incidents. Using the management information system it is possible to draw conclusions on high risk areas be it crime, traffic or fire related.

Back to "Site Navigation"


The Micromation CAD System is a totally integrated command and control system specially developed in South Africa for the South African emergency services namely Fire & Ambulance services, Traffic services, Security services and the traditional Community Preparedness or Civil Protection services.

It consists of a number of building blocks allowing it to be configured for the typical control centre or for a 107 (911) reporting centre.  Both configurations have been implemented successfully at Johannesburg, Pretoria, Germiston, Alberton, Tygerberg and the Khayalami Metro.

The configuration designed for a typical control centre consists of a call capturing module, a call handling module and management information module.  Modules such as paging and faxing can be added to the system.

The configuration designed for a 107 (911) reporting centre consists of a call capturing module, incident handling, maintenance module, paging module, faxing module and management information module.  A unique feature of the Micromation CAD System is the direct interface with other control centre systems such as the ESS system supplied by Sysman. Another feature is its close loop control on all captured calls even when handled by the ESS system.

Back to "Site Navigation"


The system is a fully integrated reporting centre system that has its own call handling modules (Ambulance, Fire and Security services) or may be interfaced with the call handling modules of existing control centre systems. Such an interface is operational between the CAD system and the ESS (the emergency management system supplied by the company Sysman) system in Pretoria.

Following is a short description of each of the Modules within the system.

1. System Access Control Module or Control Panel

The system access control system grants the user access to the command and control system and accompanying Modules.  The Module is an access control system that is sign-on code and password driven.  This prevents unauthorized use and/or abuse of the system.  All inputs into and processing on the command and control system are monitored and controlled by linking a specific sign-on code in use to each transaction executed.  Access rights vary from limited to total access to all available facilities on the system.

2. Incident Reporting Module

The incident reporting Module is used to record electronically all complaints, enquiries and incidents reported telephonically or by any other means to the Reporting and Control Centres.  The operator is notified of a specific incident by telephone and/or radio communication.  The relevant information, including the nature of the incident, the geographic location and details of the person reporting the incident, is recorded on the system.  The Control Centre(s) that must be involved with the incident takes/take note of the incident by computer and mobilizes/mobilize the necessary operational unit(s) to investigate and deal with the incident, as discussed in the different Incident Handling or dispatching Modules.

The incident reporting Module also incorporates the CLI (Caller Line Identification) facility. The number of the caller with associated address and medical information will be displayed on the call-capturing screen and on acceptance of the call be written into the call log. This feature saves time during the call capturing process and ensure a callback number should the call be lost for any reason. Linked to the CLI are all relevant details on the subscriber of the telephone and additional information on the occupants at the residence. This allows for the recording of medical history on occupants.
The incident reporting Module also offers a landmark and routing feature. The landmark feature enables the call taker to enter a landmark whereupon the system will enter the location of that landmark. The routing feature enable the call taker to enter any street location or landmark as origin, a street location or landmark as destination and the route between these will be displayed in the format it is saved on the database.

A mapping feature may also be linked to the incident reporting module. After entering the incident location the call taker may select the locate feature which will display a map of the area with the incident location indicated on the map.

3. Incident Handling Module (Dispatching)

The incident handling Module is used to record the steps of the handling process of incidents for record purposes. The Dispatch Operators at the various control centres are responsible for the inputs into this system.  This entails a step-by-step recording of the actions to be followed by operational units when dealing with and finalizing an incident. The priority status of each incident is displayed on the computer screen at all times.  This screen is known as the incident status screen.  It consists of a brief description of the incident, the location of the incident and the exact time the incident was reported. Updating of the completion stage of an incident is executed by zooming into the incident concerned, making the necessary inputs and returning to the incident status screen.  When an incident has been dealt with fully, the Dispatch Operator concerned confirms that the incident has been handled.  The incident status screen is adjusted accordingly so that the incident concerned is removed programmatically from the list of incidents still to be dealt with.  The Reporting Centre Coordinator monitors the progress of completion of each incident on an ongoing basis and takes the necessary steps if the completion of the incident requires additional assistance and/or if the completion does not take place as one would wish.

3.1 Dispatch Module for Traffic, Security & Essential Services

The incident handling Module for traffic, security and essential services has three progress phases namely dispatched, arrive on scene and job complete. During the handling of the incident the operator may attach specific actions to be performed to this call. An incident with actions to attend to can not be closed by the operator until all outstanding actions are complete.

This module may also be used to dispatch and keep track of standby personnel such as after hour electricians, plumbers, etc.

3.2 Dispatch Module for Ambulance Services

The incident handling Module for the ambulance services records all actions regarding the transportation of patients from the scene of the incident to a hospital. Patient details, the kilometers driven and any transferring of patients are recorded. An ambulance call will be closed when releasing the last ambulance that has responded to the incident. This will remove the call from the call list and update the call status at the reporting level. This completed call will be written into the calls to be finalized list.

The system may be set up to assist the dispatcher in selecting the right unit and personnel for a specific incident. Personnel may be assigned to vehicles and vehicles may be assigned to specific types of incidents. When set up the system will also indicate to the dispatcher the station that should turn out to the incident. In no instance the system will make a decision on behalf of the dispatcher but will make recommendations during the process of dispatching units and personnel.

3.3 Dispatch Module for Fire & Emergency services

The fire and emergency incident handling Module display only those calls that have to be handled by this service. Calls in the call list are displayed in order of priority. Upon selection of a call to be handled the system will highlight the station that should respond to the incident based on the location of the incident. All available appliances linked to that station are displayed. Upon selecting an appliance all available personnel are displayed. The system also allows for the linking of personnel to a specific vehicle (refer to the Shift Planning module). Should such a vehicle be selected the attached personnel will be displayed in the selected crew window. The operator can dispatch this vehicle upon which the system will print a turnout slip at the station where this vehicle is stationed. During the process of handling the incident all action are recorded and provision has been made for entering additional information in the form of notes.

This module makes provision for the dispatching of specialized personnel as well as specialized equipment other than the normal appliances and personnel that belongs to a station. Upon releasing the last appliance on this call the call segment will be closed and removed from the call list. The reporting system call list will also be updated and this call segment will be written into the calls to be finalized list.

3.4 Fire and Ambulance Finalisation

The finalisation module displays all fire and ambulance calls to be finalised. Finalisation can be done remotely at the station that responded to the incident. This remote station may be linked via wide area network or dial-up modem to the main server. Only the calls handled by this remote station will be displayed on their finalisation screen.
Upon finalising a call the system will assist the operator in completing all required fields. Once completed an incident report and invoice will be displayed. The operator may print the reports or just close the call. At this point the call will be removed from the finalisation call list. Should the operator require to update a finalised call he may reverse the call status back to the to be finalised status.

4. External Enquiry Module

The external enquiry system is an interface through which the users of the command and control system are able to gain access to databases outside the Council to obtain information from them for official use such as telephone subscriber detail from Telkom. This is no online link but a scheduled download from the third party database or databases.

5. Shift Planning Information Module

The shift planning information system is a register consisting of details of available staff and vehicles.  Shift periods may be created uniquely for each discipline or station. Shifts per day are entered and displayed on a timeline. The shift information is entered by the supervisors concerned and/or an authorized person every day.  The Control Centre uses this information to identify, inter alia, available officials when incidents must be dealt with, to be kept informed about available staff, to be aware of the areas to be patrolled during a shift and to identify officials for carrying out special services.

The system has three facilities.  A main input facility is used to record on the system the original shift information in terms of personnel details, vehicles, tasks, instructions and areas to be patrolled for each specific shift.  An enquiry facility is used to extract the input information from the system.  The third facility is used exclusively by the Control Centre.  This facility consists of a joint enquiry/input facility through which enquiries can be made and details of additional tasks assigned to specific officials can be input into the system.  There is also a database relation between the shift planning information Module and the relationship in that the names of officials will be linked to the completion of an incident when an official/unit is identified to deal with an incident.

6. Management Information Module

This system has two types of enquiry facilities. The one facility offers the user specific information in a fixed pre-determined format. The second facility enables the user to design purpose-directed management information according to a personally chosen specific format and to extract the necessary information. To obtain purpose-directed management information end-user software aids are used.

7. Maintenance Module

The maintenance system is the interface through which the appointed System Administrator performs essential and routine maintenance on the system. This maintenance concerns the following:

Maintenance of the system access control Module.

Maintenance of all pull-down choice box options of all Modules.

Maintenance of the back-up of data on the system.

Maintenance of the computer network.

As a result of the standard technical nature of the maintenance system no specific requirements are prescribed in terms of the operation and procedures to be followed.

8. Archiving Module

The user is able to archive data from the database or to do a complete database backup. The archiving Module keeps a record of when data was archived or restored. The user has the opportunity to restore any of the archived data to the database in the event of archived data being needed. The archiving Module also provides the user with the ability to view results of all database backups, database loads, archives and restores, database statistic updates and database consistency checks.

Back to "Site Navigation"