Maryland county tries XML
- By Nicholas Morehead
- Jun 11, 2001
Officials in Montgomery County, Md. feeling lost in the maze of databases
used by their government agencies decided to take a shortcut to information
sharing via Extensible Markup Language.
The county recently teamed with InfoShark Inc., a specialist in data
integration software, to use XMLShark for providing links across the various
databases used by county agencies.
XML has become a popular tool for sharing information, particularly
across the Internet. The language makes it possible to tag information in
such a way that the system on the other end knows how to understand it.
XMLShark, for example, automates exchanges between database software from
Oracle Corp., IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp.
And that is just what Montgomery County needed. County agencies are
looking to exchange information so they can improve the services they provide
to the public.
"What we're trying to do is connect disparate data from various sources
and open them up in a sense through XML and get them to talk to each other,"
said Ken Goldman, applications manager for Montgomery County's Web portal
One area in particular that benefits from such seamless communication
is public safety, according to Goldman. Separate entities such as law enforcement,
corrections, fire and emergency services, for example, must often share
data in a timely manner in order to protect citizens. The fact that each
of the department's databases may run on different platforms becomes irrelevant
with an XML-based program inserted as a base, Goldman said.
With more than 855,000 citizens, Montgomery County is the most populous
jurisdiction in Maryland and the second-most populous in the Washington,
D.C., metropolitan area.
The county had worked with InfoShark in the past on a data-querying
project, so when it came time to upgrade services, the company suggested
an XML-based program.
The initial cost of the program is less than $25,000 for a single server
license to operate XMLShark. But if the program works well, the county may
expand its use, Goldman said.