Computer-assisted dispatch (also called CAD) is a method of dispatching taxicabs, couriers, field service technicians, or emergency services by computer. It can either be used to send messages to the dispatchee via a mobile data terminal (also called an MDT) and/or used to store and retrieve data (i.e. Radio Logs, Field Interviews, Client Information, Schedules, etc.)
Computer assisted dispatch systems use one or more servers located in a central dispatch office, which communicate with mobile data terminals installed in the remote vehicles. There are a multitude of CAD Programs that suit different department needs, but the layout of each system is the same. The purpose of CAD in the first place is to quicken the information that is received or transmitted from the call-taker or dispatcher to those who will facilitate the original call.
In an ideal setting, a call is received by a call-taker and information about the call is inputted into the CAD template. Generally, Location, Reporting Party and Incident are the main the fields that have to be populated by type-codes. For example, if there was a Burglary in progress, the type-code for that Incident could be BURG; when BURG is typed out, then the Program will spell out BURGLARY (in progress). If the Location was at the 1400 block of Madison, the type-code could be 14MAD. The Reporting Party information would be populated by the call-taker including Last Name, First Name, Call-Back number, etc.
A typical CAD Printout look something like this based on the examples above:
LOCATION - 1400 Madison RP - Doe, John, 555-5555 INCIDENT - BURGLARY (in progress)
Again, granted as it can be seen that the fields are spelled out, the call-taker uses those abbreviations that are already predetermined in order to quickly gather and transmit the information.
The Dispatcher then receives the call from the call-taker and is able dispatch the call to those available. The Dispatcher's screen would show the available personnel that are dispatchable. A typical setting can be exemplified by this:
INCIDENT # - 554123 LOCATION - 1400 Madison RP - Doe, John, 555-5555 INCIDENT - BURGLARY (In Progress)
Units available - (3) Units out of service - (2)
745 - Avail. 746 - Not Avail. Inc # 554121 747 - Avail. 748 - Avail. 749 - Not Avail. Inc # 554122
Everything that is gathered, dispatched and disposed is usually stored in a central server where the type codes reside in, or possibly another server. All of these calls which have incident numbers attached to them can be recalled by an internal search engine. For example, a request for a printout of all calls to Madison in the past hour could be gathered by querying the CAD Program by Location:
Search by: Location LOCATION [ ] —— Result:
(Now filled in)
Search by: Location LOCATION [14MAD ] —— Result: (1) Incidents
CAD can be used in a multitude of ways, whether it is for Radio Logs, Call Logs or Statistical Analysis.
Computerized mapping, GPS, and caller-identification technology are often used to enhance the service by pinpointing the locations of both the client and the most suitable vehicle for serving the client.