Government Technology

GIS-Assisted Disaster Relief in 2013 and Beyond



February 8, 2013 By

The northeast is still in the thick of Hurricane Sandy relief and damage remediation, even though the disaster itself took place in fall 2012. Local authorities used modern tools like social media and GIS technology to assist relief efforts during the event and its aftermath. But technology still has a role to play in the recovery efforts for this disaster, and future emergencies.

GIS mapping technology plays a crucial role in helping public-sector employees identify hard-hit areas. Russ Johnson, Esri’s director of global public safety, answered Government Technology’s questions about how GIS technology affects disaster relief in crises like Sandy, and how it may evolve in the future.

How are organizations using Esri technology in disasters?

The most powerful thing they can use it for is understanding where they have vulnerabilities based on historical events and raising the level of preparedness. But with that said, when something like Sandy hits, they often use it for identifying, first of all, what’s the impact or the parameter, and what is the damage associated with it.

One of the biggest problems that organizations have, particularly public safety, is, when we have this massive event, how do we allocate a finite amount of resources for rescue and recovery? What’s the protocol for doing that, how do we do it, where do we do it? One of the important roles GIS plays right up front is taking that damage perimeter, or information about where the impact is, and then bringing up layers of data regarding critical infrastructure. They can begin to see, in terms of priorities for life, property and natural resources, where are the key search and rescue areas, what are the key things we need to do to the infrastructure to get things back up and running again, and what natural resources do we need to preserve or protect or take action on? 

Then as the event unfolds, typically you start getting imagery, and imagery is very important because it begins to give you a full picture of what has happened. Imagery can be infused, imported into GIS technology and used as another data layer. You begin to combine several layers, imagery, critical infrastructure, demographics, the event data, maybe even some dynamic information such as real-time weather or real-time stream gauges, and you get this virtual picture of what has happened.

How much longer do you think Esri technology will be used for damage control and remediation efforts on recent disasters like Sandy?


View Full Story

| More

Comments

GeoRube    |    Commented February 11, 2013

While GIS technology helps in disasters, this reads like an Ad for ESRI Tech. It seems that over the past few years ESRI has worked to make their name synonymous with GIS. The "Federal GIS" Conference, is another example of this. ESRI is fine technology, but this tact will slow the creativity in the Geospatial industry and end the end, stifle open standards and innovation.


Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Maintain Your IT Budget with Consistent Compliance Practices
Between the demands of meeting federal IT compliance mandates, increasing cybersecurity threats, and ever-shrinking budgets, it’s not uncommon for routine maintenance tasks to slip among state and local government IT departments. If it’s been months, or even only days, since you have maintained your systems, your agency may not be prepared for a compliance audit—and that could have severe financial consequences. Regardless of your mission, consistent systems keep your data secure, your age
Best Practice Guide for Cloud and As-A-Service Procurements
While technology service options for government continue to evolve, procurement processes and policies have remained firmly rooted in practices that are no longer effective. This guide, built upon the collaborative work of state and local government and industry executives, outlines and explains the changes needed for more flexible and agile procurement processes.
Fresh Ideas In Online Security for Public Safety Organizations
Lesley Carhart, Senior Information Security Specialist at Motorola Solutions, knows that online and computer security are more challenging than ever. Personal smartphones, removable devices like USB storage drives, and social media have a significant impact on security. In “Fresh Ideas in Online Security for Public Safely Organizations,” Lesley provides recommendations to improve your online security against threats from social networks, removable devices, weak passwords and digital photos.
View All

Featured Papers