Government Technology

    Digital Communities
    Industry Members

  • Click sponsor logos for whitepapers, case studies, and best practices.
  • McAfee

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


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
Digital Cities & Counties Survey: Best Practices Quick Reference Guide
This Best Practices Quick Reference Guide is a compilation of examples from the 2013 Digital Cities and Counties Surveys showcasing the innovative ways local governments are using technological tools to respond to the needs of their communities. It is our hope that by calling attention to just a few examples from cities and counties of all sizes, we will encourage further collaboration and spark additional creativity in local government service delivery.
Wireless Reporting Takes Pain (& Wait) out of Voting
In Michigan and Minnesota counties, wireless voting via the AT&T network has brought speed, efficiency and accuracy to elections - another illustration of how mobility and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology help governments to bring superior services and communication to constituents.
Why Would a City Proclaim Their Data “Open by Default?”
The City of Palo Alto, California, a 2013 Center for Digital Government Digital City Survey winner, has officially proclaimed “open” to be the default setting for all city data. Are they courageous or crazy?
View All