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Creating Location-based Email & Cell Phone Notification Service with FME

A location-based notification system to deliver time-critical information to local citizens.

Imagine being alerted of a road closure along your commute route or being warned in advance of a possible flood threat in your area. For the residents of Kilkenny County, Ireland, this is an everyday reality – made possible by FME.

In 2006, Kilkenny County Council launched a new location-based notification system to help improve communication and deliver time-critical information to local citizens. Developed by Brendan Cunningham, GIS Project Leader and Senior Developer for Kilkenny County Council, the system enables the county’s 85,000 residents to register online to receive updates via SMS or email on events of interest such as water outages, boil water notifications, road closures and flood warnings.

So, how does this notification system work? Residents subscribe by signing up for an account on the Council’s website ( where they are prompted to provide details on their location in GoogleTM MapsTM. FME is then used to overlay the list of registered citizens (points) onto the County’s list of service locations (polygons) using the PointOnArea Overlayer transformer. FME also filters the resident’s location within a specific polygon area so information can be provided on a localized level. A SQL Server trigger system is used to automatically send out SMS messages to only those residents located within the hazard zone. The system also uses Microsoft® SQL® Reporting Services to provide residents with PDF reports containing useful information for their area.

This location-based notification system provides Kilkenny County Council with a new and efficient way to communicate with residents. In fact, the system has been so well-received by citizens that Kilkenny County Council is already exploring other interesting applications for improving services to local residents. Future plans include working with their national gas company to alert citizens of leak warnings or potential explosions, as well as the County’s fire department to inform them where the nearest hydrant is located based on the fire location.

To learn more about Kilkenny County Council’s location-based notification system, view Brendan’s presentation at the 2009 FME International User Conference:

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