ISG transforms business operations by transforming an agency’s permit process from paper to electronic. After conducting business requirements, the ISG team seamlessly guides the client through proof-of-concept to final delivery. A web-based system can be used to apply for a permit online, check the status of an application, and view issued permits. Under the President’s eGovernment initiatives, ePermitting streamlines the permit application process in the following ways:
- Improves customer service
- Provides the ability to conduct business outside normal business hours
- On-line process allows for collection of fees
- Decreases time for organizations to process a permit
- Improves coordination with other agencies
- Simplifies reporting use of data
Introducing ePermits to Nature Lovers
The U. S. Forest Service needed to modernize how 17,000 white water enthusiasts in the Four Rivers Recreation Area apply for river permits. Weekly trips by car or airplane to deliver paper permits and cash from a remote boat launch site to District Headquarters were time-consuming and expensive. ISG’s mobile solutions team pinpointed and deployed the ideal solution to enable the Forest Service to issue ePermits in real-time to the public.
The U.S. Forest Service needed to shift from its legacy paper river permit application process to an electronic solution. However, in order for ePermitting to be implemented, ISG’s Mobile Technologies team would have to use “out-of-the-box” problem solving skills in the field to deliver power and internet connectivity to this remote region for the first time.
To leverage existing technology to transform the way the U.S. Forest Service issues 17,000 river permits per season to whitewater enthusiasts in the Four Rivers Recreation Area. To shift the application process from an outdated legacy paper process to electronic permitting in an effort to ultimately streamline U.S. Forest Service operations.
Collaboration began nearly a year before implementation, as the project faced extreme technical obstacles from its inception. Regular telephone and face-to-face meetings were held between U.S. Forest Service staff at the Salmon-Challis National Forest and ISG to define project requirements. Supplying power to a rugged, remote location for the first time was a daunting challenge. ISG utilized glass solar panels to power batteries, which in turn, powered the modem and router providing internet connectivity. Propane thermal generators were used for back-up to the solar panels on cloudy days. Batteries and power inverters were put on trailers and placed in plastic pelican cases 100 yards away from the boat launch sites. Since the Forest Service did not possess a satellite contract, an existing relationship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was leveraged to seek authorization for use of their satellite service contract with HughesNet. Further stakeholder collaboration in person and on the phone continued throughout the life cycle of the project, until all three boat launch sites, (Corn Creek, Indian Creek, and Boundry Creek), had a functional electronic permitting and remote wireless solution in place.
The ePermitting/Remote Wireless project at Four Rivers provides the public with a “one-stop-shopping” source for river permit government services. Whitewater enthusiasts can now log onto www.recreation.gov and find the Four Rivers Lottery featured prominently on the website’s home page. The U.S. Forest Service has eliminated the need for airplane and vehicle trips to deliver applications and fees to District Headquarters, saving the agency $3500 a month. The Forest Service expects to save $2.5 million over the next five years thanks to the ISG solution.
Finally, this project has enhanced the Forest Service’s ability to ensure safety in the field. The Forest Service has seen an 80% reduction in the two-way radio traffic between Ranger Districts and launch sites and a 90% reduction in satellite phone usage thanks to remote internet service. Airwaves are no longer dominated by routine permit management issues and are free to be utilized when a true emergency, such as a wildfire, arises.