Database Plan Development
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Howard County would like to develop and populate a single holistic database that includes all the information on commercial buildings and occupancies for use by County agencies in various initiatives like inspections, licensing, and billing. Currently, there are many different County agencies that use information regarding commercial businesses, their occupancy and structure characteristics. For example, the County’s Fire and Rescue service needs this information to monitor fire sprinkler alarm systems in safety inspections, and for distributing safety information. Further, a central database would be useful and beneficial for the agencies listed below based on their needs and purposes: Department of Health; Department of Police; Department of Citizen Services; Health Department; Economic Development; Department of Planning and Zoning; Department of Licensing, Inspections and Permits; Department of Finance; Bureau of Utilities (part of the Department of Public Works); Office of Emergency Management; Office of Consumer Affairs. The challenge in creating a holistic database is that there is no one County or State source that can provide current information on all aspects of the data needed, either about the structure of business that they are in, or about the business themselves. Thus, the project’s ultimate goal is to develop a central database for the County, populating it with more accessible data, and creating an ongoing data management system to keep the database updated. This project’s database plan should include comprehensive sources listing, which can be used as a guide to build the central database, starting with identifying data sources and developing a management plan for ongoing data management. This document includes research about available data sources in agencies, including their approaches to acquiring and maintaining it, research about external data sources, and the advantages and disadvantages of including the data sources in the central database. Further, a preliminary “Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD),” is suggested to clarify the attributes and the relationship between them to have a better understanding of the required data fields. Through this research, a final solution is provided that meets the agencies’ requirements to build a holistic central database.