Chicago's Emergency Operations Center Deploys the Latest Digital Recording Technology

The City of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) protects life and property by coordinating and managing all of Chicago's disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery programs. OEMC's Operations Center (JOC) provides 911 communications and conducts continuous 24/7 citywide monitoring, tracking activity, events, and the location of vital assets in use. The Center handles communication and coordination of police, fire, emergency medical services and city, state, and federal command personnel.

Sam Tomlinson, Senior Project Manager for Electrosonic, explained, "The Operations Center maintains constant vigilance and provides unified interdepartmental coordination. One of the primary objectives of the new technology implementation was to establish an information network and command center where city agencies, the state, Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, and other federal officials can coordinate a united response to emergencies, terrorist attacks or other disasters. The mission critical JOC is designed to integrate real time monitoring from video surveillance with a variety of other media to provide a comprehensive situational awareness picture to command personnel."

"The JOC is contains a multi-image video wall comprised of a 2 x 8 display array of sixteen 50-inch rear screen cubes. One of the requirements was to digitally record all of these images for coordinating responses, after action review, training, forensic analysis, and to serve as a system backup. The key criteria was to achieve the highest quality, faithful reproduction of the original images. After extensive research, Electrosonic selected RGB Spectrum's DGy™ high resolution digital recording system and QuadView® multi-window display processor to replicate and record the entire video wall display."

Tomlinson continued, "We use four QuadView processors to reassemble the images displayed on the video wall. Each QuadView receives four DVI sources from a distribution amplifier which are combined into a quad display. The QuadView then feeds this combined output at 1280 x 1024 pixel resolution to four DGy recording systems. The DGy systems record these images at 30 frames per second in real time while preserving the fidelity of the original imagery. The DGy records in a 16 hour recording cycle, then automatically loops the recording. On demand, the DGy units can feed the recorded images back to the JOC's video wall, pre-configured to replay on the wall in the same size and location as when they were originally displayed. The DGy and QuadView units are operating continuously 24/7."

The video wall imagery includes surveillance feeds from over several hundred networked cameras emplaced throughout the city, local, national, and international cable TV broadcasts, digital uplink to the National Weather Service satellite imagery and Doppler radar, FAA O'Hare Airport flight information, PowerPoint presentations, maps, police communication networks, and agency personnel, equipment, and resource tracking data.

Tomlinson remarked, "the DGy delivers a perfect reproduction of the JOC video wall. It is the best digital recording product on the market. Its reproduction is superb. You cannot tell the difference between the original image and the recorded image. The RGB Spectrum products were the ideal solution to perform reliably in this mission critical environment."

Electrosonic is a global audio-visual company, providing turnkey solutions of large screen image processing for corporate communications, command and control rooms, museums, retail display, theme parks and exhibitions. Electrosonic is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. For more information, call 952-931-7500 or visit

RGB Spectrum® is a leading designer and manufacturer of videographic and multimedia hardware subsystems. Products include the View™ family of video windowing systems, the RGB/Videolink® line of scan converters, the DGy™ digital recording system, Quadra® universal scaler and synchronizer, SynchroMaster® keyers and overlayers and SuperWall™, ComputerWall® and MediaWall® multi-screen display controllers. RGB Spectrum is based in Alameda, California, and can be reached at 510-814-7000 and on the internet at

RGB Spectrum is a leading designer and manufacturer of leading-edge audio-visual solutions for commercial, government, and military applications. The company offers integrated hardware, software, and control systems to satisfy the most demanding requirements. Its Galileo video display processor is ideal for digital signage, lobby display, conference rooms, boardrooms, emergency operations centers, security operations centers, control rooms, command centers, traffic management facilities, and network operations centers. For more information, visit