Last week, we were afforded a visit to see one of our applications in action; the TOCS map. The TOCS map was developed for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems department. TOCS stands for Transportation Operation Center and is where the state’s roadways are monitored. We were able to visit our baby in the Portland TMOC (Transportation Management Operation Center) which resembles a command bunker straight out of a Hollywood movie; complete with giant TV monitors lining the walls.
Because the map is only available within the ODOT intranet, we had to arrange a visit to the TMOC to actually see our baby in action.
Our map helps the TOCS operators visualize where incidents occur on the roadways and helps in getting assistance to the scene as quickly as possible. Before our map, the operators had no way of visualizing where exactly an accident had occurred. The system that they have had in use for years is tabular (think spreadsheets) and relies heavily on the operators’ in-depth knowledge of the roads that they monitor.
Version 1 of the TOCS map allows operators the ability to zoom in on a location and see what cross-streets may exist, as well as to see if there are any road cameras in the area that may provide a visual of the accident. The map also allows operators to filter out certain incidents, so that they only see the ones that matter to them (for example, some operators don’t need to see construction activities).
Right now, the TOCS map is a visual aid only. However, in the next iteration, we are hoping to include embedded camera controls, as well as the ability to program a message into the many digital road signs that exist along Oregon’s roadways. Additionally, TOCS Map 2.0 will include the ability to add an incident into the TOCS (currently the map just pulls from already existing incidents).
This was a really interesting and fun project to work on, and seeing it in use was the icing on the cake!