Sunday, July 31, 2011

Man Questions 911 Dispatch Error

by Lauren Amstutz
Posted: 06.08.2011 at 9:46 PM

"BENZIE CO. -- A Benzie County man is looking for answers tonight after an error by 911 dispatch.  His wife died of an asthma attack and he says the ambulance didn't get there fast enough. The mistake was made when the dispatcher relayed the wrong address to EMS. Now family members are left wondering if their loved one would still be alive had crews arrived sooner."   Read more.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

De Lorme Announces Fall Release of InReach

De Lorme recently announced the up coming fall release of InReach.  As described by the company, InReach will be the, "first-ever personal communicator with 2-way messaging, iridium global satellite coverage, and an Android interface".  The product can be paired with either Delorme's PN-60 GPS (a USNG enabled device) or an Android smart phone, and has a buttton to request a SAR response.  Conversely, SAR teams can use the satellite connectivity to communicate between search parties in areas without other frequency coverage.  Learn more.

Comment: This product will be competing with the SPOT satellite messenging system of France.

Friday, July 29, 2011

UN News Centre: UN Economic and Social Council Sets Up Committee on Global Geospatial Information

UN News Centre
July 27, 2011
Direct story link

"The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today voted to establish a committee of experts on global geospatial information management to coordinate international dialogue on spatial data infrastructures and enhance cooperation in that field.

According to the latest report of the Secretary-General on global geospatial information management, the rapid technological advances in geospatial information and related technologies have made this kind of information readily available.

Geospatial information has application in many fields including humanitarian, peace and security, environmental and development challenges facing the world, such as climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, famines, population displacement and food and economic crises, according to the report.

Building the infrastructure for the gathering, validation, compilation and dissemination of geospatial information is therefore as important for countries as the building of roads and telecommunications networks.

However, there is currently no global multilateral or intergovernmental mechanism that can play the important leadership role of setting the agenda for the development of global geospatial information and promote its use to address key global challenges.
The Secretary-General proposed that the UN take the lead role and serve as the coordinating entity of the global geospatial information community, hence the decision to create the committee.

The committee is mandated, among other tasks, with providing a platform for the development of effective strategies on how to build and strengthen national capacity on geospatial information, especially in developing countries.

It will also compile and disseminate best practices and experiences of national, regional and international bodies on geospatial information related to legal instruments, management models and technical standards, thus contributing to the establishment of spatial data infrastructures.
The committee will comprise experts from all Member States, as well as from and international organizations, who will serve as observers."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Street View Cars Grabbed Locations of Phones and PCs

July 25, 2011 12:14 AM PDT
by Declan McCullagh

According to CNET News, Google's Street View cars collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, printers, and other wireless devices around the world.  Read more.

Comment: Google was already in hot water after it was discovered earlier this year that its Street View mapping effort had collected the location of unencrypted wi-fi networks during its world-wide development.  Indeed, several countries have either commenced legal action or are contemplating same, with a BBC News article about the situation: "Google Accused of Criminal Intent Over StreetView Data", being typical.  

While this latest disclosure about cell phones and wireless devices is only certain to add to the controversy, privacy concerns as described above are only one edge of the "geolocation sword".  The other edge is emergency response systems like Next Generation 911 will not work without the ability to determine the geospatial location of Voice Over IP systems (i.e. Vontage, Magic Jack) and cell phones.  

For further insights into the complexities of this issue, go here

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Featured Speakers for URISA/NENA Addressing Conference Announced

From the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA):

"URISA and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) are pleased to announce the feature speakers at the 2011 URISA/NENA Addressing Conference taking place next month in New Orleans (August 15-18, 2011 at the Marriott New Orleans). Michelle Thompson, PhD from the University of New Orleans will open the conference and Steven Johnson, representing OpenStreetMap US, will close the conference."

To learn more about the conference, go here.

Comment: Two members of the EPC are on the Conference Committee:

  • Gordon Chinander, GISP, Metropolitan Emergency Services Board, St Paul, MN, and

  • 2010 Chair - Kathy Liljequist, GISP, GeoComm, St Cloud, MN

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Quick Overview Video About HAZUS Training at EMI

    Go here for a just released quick video about HAZUS training at EMI.  At the link look for item titled as: "FEMA Saves Training Dollars".  Total run time is 3:00 minutes.  Filmed at the Recovery Center at Des Moines, Iowa.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    FEMA Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners - Has Been Updated

    Appendix I: Discovery has been Revised
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed a revised version of Appendix I of FEMA's Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners. This Appendix will replace the April 2003 version of Appendix I that contained the Project Scoping Toolbox and the guidance for Scoping and Pre-Scoping activities. The June 2011 version of Appendix I contains the guidance for conducting Discovery. Discovery is the process to be applied by FEMA Regions, Cooperating Technical Partners, and other Mapping Partners in performing initial activities in a watershed of interest that may lead to a Risk MAP project being initiated.
    If you have any questions on the revised Appendix I or Guidelines and Standards in general, please email

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    Gatewing UAV Video

    A wave of the future - small portable UAV's for aerial mapping and emergency response.  Hip video takes 3:55 to walk you through the sequence of set-up, launch, data collection and platform recovery.  Go here.

    Comment: The flip side of this capability is deconfliction with piloted aircraft.  Given a couple of geese were enough to bring down USAir 1549 onto the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 (Miracle on the Hudson), the FAA is rightful concerned about the uncontrolled proliferation of these platforms.  As such, on December 1, 2010, it issued FAA Fact Sheet - Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) that relates the extent of the issues and how the agency is working to resolve them.

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    High-tech Mapping System Keeps Track of Cleanup Efforts in Joplin

    Reported July 18, 2011 at 6:10 PM CST by Zach Fletcher
    (KOAM-TV - Pittsburg, Kan.) 

    Agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers and the Missouri National Guard are using technology called Geographical Information Systems to plot out which Joplin properties have been cleaned and the progress of the debris removal efforts.  This approach has greatly sped up the recovery efforts in the area.  To view the video and read more, go here.

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    DHS Launchs OneView - Prepares to Pull Plug on iCAV

    On Wednesday, July 20th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Geospatial Management Office (GMO), announced the official release of its next generation geospatial viewing platform, OneView.  According to the news release:

    "OneView is now available to the Homeland Security community from the following URL: Users will still have access to iCAV for a limited period of time to allow them to transition to the new OneView capabil­ity, but in the near future, iCAV will be discontinued. The GMO will apprise the user community of final cutover dates for iCAV users."

    In addition, the release noted that, "users will access OneView through the same HSIN credentials they use for iCAV."

    Specifics of the platform were related as follows:

    "OneView will continue to provide end users access to the same capabilities as iCAV with a richer inter­face for viewing maps of critical infrastructure, natural hazards data, and other user defined data sources as well as enhanced imagery, geocoding, and routing features."

    Comment: Homeland Security Information System (HSIN) credentials are granted on an as needed basis through a variety of Communities of Interest, or COI's.  In most cases, state and local applications for access in Minnesota should be directed to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).  Alternately, it may be possible to gain access by contacting the HSIN help desk directly, at 1-866-430-0162 or and requesting access to a HSIN community of interest (Geospatial).

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    MnGeo Services Have Returned to Normal

    During working hours on July 21, 2011, MnGeo staff were successful in their efforts to restart nearly all geospatial services and staff functions that were provided prior to the shutdown of Minnesota government.  This includes the reactivation of the main website and individual email accounts.

    Go here for the MnGeo home page.

    Go here for the Emergency Preparedness Committee home page.

    This will be the last report on this subject.

    Senators Ask Intelligence Agencies About Location Tracking of Americans

    From the Wall Street Journal
    July 14, 2011, 2:45 PM ET
    Jennifer Valentino-DeVries

    Are U.S. intelligence agencies tracking American citizens’ location through cellphones and GPS devices?  Some Senators want answers.  Read more.

    Comment: Much like what occurred in the medical community some 30 years ago and continues to this day, technology developments in the geospatial community have started to surge ahead of the legal community's ability to keep up.  Nowhere has this started to become more apparent than the emergency services sector, particularly the law enforcement community.  Look for more of these complex issues to emerge as the years go forward.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Minnesota Government Return to Work

    According to BeReadyMN, services at Minnesota State government offices will resume tomorrow, Thursday, July 21st at 6:00 AM.  Consequently, it is anticipated that MnGeo services will begin coming back on line after that time.  More information will be posted here when it is available.

    Comments From the LightSquared Discussion Panel at the ESRI Survey Summit

    To read the comments of one VERY angry surveyor about the anticipated destruction of high-precision GPS surveying by LightSquared, go here.  There are only 10 days left to submit your comments to the FCC.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    NSGIC Geospatial Preparedness Committee Releases Recorded Webinar

    The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) Geospatial Preparedness Committee recently produced a webinar about how geospatial data and technologies were used during several natural disasters that occurred this past spring.  The recorded version of that webinar is now available.  Here are the details:

    "On June 28th, we held a special WebEx from the Geospatial Preparedness Committee.  Discussion focused on the unusual number of natural disasters that have occurred this year have and continue to plague federal, state and local resources.  In addition a National Level Exercise (NLE) was conducted, an earthquake scenario surrounding the New Madrid Fault. 

    Geospatial data and related technologies has played a valuable role in supporting these events and exercises.  A panel of presenters discussed the challenges, the role of geospatial data and technologies as well as lessons learned. They included:
    ·         DHS NLE After Action – Noah Goodman and David Alexander 
    ·         Kentucky NLE – Kenny Ratliff 
    ·         Arkansas Flooding – Learon Dalby
    ·         Tuscaloosa Tornado – Mike Vanhook
    ·         Joplin Tornado – Tony Spicci
    ·         Q and A

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Groupon Tracks Mobile Users’ Locations—Even If Their Apps Aren’t Open

    From Internet Retailer:

    "Groupon Inc. knows where mobile consumers are—even if those consumers aren’t using the daily deal sites’ mobile app at that moment, according to the company’s new privacy policies. “if you use a Groupon mobile application and your mobile device’s settings allow it, we may collect mobile location information from your device. Our application may be designed to collect information even if you are not logged into the Groupon application or the sites,” reads the newest version of company’s policy."  Read more.

    Comment: Here's another example of one of the multiple ways to track individuals in everyday life, yet the development of a national Common Operating Picture (COP) that would do the same thing in the emergency service sector remains an elusive goal.  Obviously, technology is not the issue.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Quick Action Helps Google Win Friends in Japan

    Click on the link below to read this article from the New York Times:

    TECHNOLOGY   | July 11, 2011
    Quick Action Helps Google Win Friends in Japan
    Through efforts like a Person Finder site and Street View recordings after the earthquake and tsunami, Google is finally winning over new friends in Japan.

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Hwy. 10, Cty. Rd. 10 Tend To Get Confused

    From the Star Tribune:
    July 10, 2011

    "Motorists traveling certain reaches of the north metro sometimes come to the same sad conclusion: Two 10s is one too many.  Confusion about the side-by-side County Road 10 and Hwy. 10, especially for those unfamiliar with the area, has been known to cause missed meetings, unintentional meanderings, frantic -- or annoyed -- calls from lost friends, relatives, customers and delivery truck drivers who had turned off Interstate 35W or Central Avenue onto the wrong 10."  Read more.

    Comment: Here's another clear cut example of why a street address isn't always the best idea when it comes dispatching emergency response vehicles.  There is a better way: the U.S.National Grid.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    The Virtual World on Your Phone

    Click on the link below to read the article from the New York Times:

    N.Y. / REGION   | July 10, 2011
    App City:  Bringing Past, Present and Future Into Focus
    A few new apps will tell you what used to be nearby, or even what might have been nearby - less practical but often thoroughly satisfying experiences.

    Comment: Imagine this technology intergrated into first responder helmet displays in a way that would allow them to view maps, floor plans, etc. during a response.  The Brits are ahead of us in thinking about this one: Go here.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    The 5th Annual HAZUS User Conference - August 10-12, Seattle, Washington

    The 5th Annual Hazus Conference will be held on August 10-12, 2011 at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building at 915 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA. The Hazus Conference, sponsored by FEMA Mitigation Division is the premier risk assessment conference for GIS specialists, emergency managers, geologists, state/local planners, educators and private entities that are using Hazus for decision-making and response planning. This year’s conference will include two and a half days of educational sessions, hands-on training, and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities.

    Click here for agenda.

    Click here for other event information.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Minnesota Geospatial Services During State Shutdown - Updates

    As related in previous posts, a website that provides links to geospatial services, data, maps, and other related information available during the state shutdown can be accessed by using the link immediately above the Emergency Preparedness Committtee symbol in the right-most column.  Look for the link entitled: "Available GIS During MN Gov't Shutdown", or click here.

    In addition, from Mike Dolbow at Minnesota Department of Agriculture: "If anyone needs an update of a shapefile formerly hosted on the Data Deli, chances are I can get you a version during the shutdown. Just send me a note at and let me know the layer name (metadata) and the last time you downloaded it."

    And from Brad Neuhauser, GIS Specialist, Elections Division, Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State:
    "Hi, noticed the link to the EPC blog and Available GIS in the MN GIS/LIS announcement today.  As sole GIS-related staff at Secretary of State, I generally fly under the radar, but since our office is open (due to it being under a constitutional officer) while so many others are closed, I thought I'd pass that news along in case it might be of use.
    Brad Neuhauser
    GIS Specialist
    Elections Division
    Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    The LightSquared Battle Heats Up

    Some recent articles concerning LightSquared and its efforts to get approval to deploy its system in the band next to the GPS spectrum.

    July 6, 2011: GPS World - "The LightSquared signal would devastate services for users of all GPS receivers tested."

    July 7, 2011: The U.S. Departments of Transporation and Defense asks the FCC to withhold authorization for LightSquared to commence commercial service.

    July 7, 2011: LightSquared Hires Senator Dorgan and others to Recast Its Fight

    Comment: This going to get very nasty before its all over.......

    Resource Guide for the Criminal Intelligence Community Just Released

    For those geospatial professionals working in the Law Enforcement community, here's a just released document that is packed with great information:

    Source: U.S. Department of Justice

    A draft of the Criminal Intelligence Resources Guide (PDF, 2.1 Mb) was released in late June by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The unclassified document is a collection of intelligence information sharing products and resources, which aims to capture a valuable representation of the intelligence-related sources available to the intelligence community.
    The Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council believes the guide is a significant asset to law enforcement agencies by providing a single document of well-organized intelligence products and resources. The guide contains a listing of available open-source products and a brief summary of what each product entails.

    According to the DOJ, the document should be considered a “living document,” and “persistent effort will be employed to continually update it as new resources are identified.”

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Pipelines, Black Swans, and Data Governance

    An interesting article by Mr. J. Tracy Thorleifson, Vice President at Eagle Information Mapping, Inc., discusses how geospatial data that was "less than accurate" played a significant role in the San Burno, CA pipeline accident of last year. 

    Go here to read. 

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Satellite Images to Combat Avian Flu

    "It is not only domestic poultry but also wild waterbirds that play a significant role in the spread of the avian influenza variant H5N1. With the aid of satellite data, it is possible to create risk maps for the spread of the virus by wild waterbirds. This has been shown in research by Yali Si, who obtained her doctoral degree from the ITC faculty of the University of Twente on 16 June."  Read more.
    Comment: In the early part of 2005, Professor A. Townsend Peterson, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, Kansas University, released some ground breaking work along these same lines for the North American continent.  Those efforts focused on using historic migratory flyways to determine the likelihood of an avian flu outbreak at any specific location inside the United States, as sequenced across time.

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Judge Rules Use of GPS to Track a Cheating Spouse is Not an Invasion of Privacy

    MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger
    Friday, July 08, 2011, 6:44 AM

    GLOUCESTER COUNTY — Beware, all you cheating husbands and wives.
    The use of a GPS device to track your whereabouts is not an invasion of privacy in New Jersey, a state appellate court panel ruled today.  Read more.

    Comment: This case has implications for the Law Enforcement community.

    Phone Data to Give a Picture of Traffic Shutdown in L.A.

    Click on the link below to read the article from the New York Times about real time traffic sensing using cell phones:

    TECHNOLOGY   | July 05, 2011
    Bits: Phone Data to Give a Picture of Traffic Shutdown in L.A.
    A Los Angeles television station has partnered with a tech startup to use location data from smartphones to track the effects of a major highway closure.

    Comment: In December 2010, I was able to listen to an executive from Honda brief the GITA Japan Conference at Tokyo University.  Honda is on the verge of releasing an intergrated sensor system for its cars that will automatically provide the same fed as related in this article (and other aps like Google Maps for Mobile) and much more - to include automatically transmitting road conditions (how wet/slick is it) and broadcasting GIS based warnings concerning flooded areas as sent in by other cars in the system.

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    LightSquared GPS Update

    As many of you are aware, a commercial entity called LightSquared seeks to use the frequency spectrum immediate adjacent to the band used for GPS to implement a powerful terrestrial based communications system.  The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a report that raises concerns about the damage that could occur to GPS accuracy as a result.  Find below items that relate to the current situation:

    The FCC has set a July 30th deadline for the public to submit comments.

    A news release from the GPS community voicing strong concerns can be found here.

    The official hearing documents can be found here.  Appendix G2 gives some specifics on testing that was done with GPS devices.

    If you are concerned about this situation, you may want to take the time contact the FCC, or your Congressman and/or Senators.  The Coalition to Save Our GPS has created a page that relates how you can do this.  Go here

    Disclaimer: I have been in contact with my Congressman since January 2011 on this issue.

    National 9-1-1 Assessment Guidelines Released

    From the Emergency Management and Response—Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC):

    National 9-1-1 Assessment Guidelines (PDF, 125 Kb) are now available for public comment at the 9-1-1 Resource Center. Comments received will be considered prior to the release of the final guidelines.

    The National 9-1-1 Assessment Guidelines will serve as a comprehensive benchmark for statewide 9-1-1 systems to measure their progress as a unique and important entity, and will help to facilitate a coordinated effort to advance 9-1-1 across the country. The guidelines represent high level functions that should exist within a statewide 9-1-1 system. They are intended to be used as the basis for statewide system assessments to assist states in achieving their best level of 9-1-1 service.

    Interested personnel can provide comments using the comment form found at the 9-1-1 Resource Center. The comment form should be submitted by e-mail to this specific Resource Center electronic address. The comment period will remain open until 26 September 2011. 

    More information about the guidelines can be seen at 9-1-1

    Comment: In a related development, in late June the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) endorsed the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard.   More here. 

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Metro Geocoder Alternatives During Minnesota Government Shutdown

    From Nancy Read at Metropolitan Mosquito Control District:

    "In response to the MN State Government shutdown, two replications of the Metro Geocoder service have been set up.

    The staff at Metropolitan Council GIS were first on the scene and set up a service that uses the local streets and parcels data in the ESRI geocoder, but they also replicated the input and response formats of the PAGC geocoder at MnGeo, including both address and intersection search. This has been graciously opened for general use, as in this sample request: AVE W&PlaceName=Saint Pau&ResponseFormat=XML&RequestStrategy=Both

    A new build of the regular open-source PAGC Geocoder has now been installed at SharedGeo, and can be accessed as shown in this sample request:

    The PAGC-based service gives results like the MnGeo installation (including landmarks) and also should require very minimal alteration to applications calling the Geocoder. However note that unlike at MnGeo this needs to be set up as a secure request (https), so the users' code calling the Geocoder needs to be able to handle that. Also this uses the latest version of the Geocoder code, which allows single-line submission of address data and then does its own parsing, as well as handling intersections and landmarks. The parcel database is the most recent available (May 2011), and streets will be updated from NCompass/GuideK12 soon."

    Note: Information about these services will also be posted at the: Available GIS During MN Gov't Shutdown website.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Minnesota Geospatial Services Links

    A temporary site showing active geospatial links that may be of value to you during the Minnesota State government shutdown has just been activated.  To access it, use the link directly above the EPC symbol to the right.  Additions and corrections can be sent to

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    MnGeo Services During State Government Shutdown

    MnGeo status of services as known at this time:
    • The MnGeo Image Server has been left running for emergency response purposes.  A backup to the MnGeo Image Server has been installed and is operational on an alternate site in the event it is needed.
    • All other services have been turned off.
    • Efforts are underway to have an alternate geocoder service in place by the end of the week.  Details will be published here when available.
    If you have corrections or details you would like to add to this post, please use the post comment feature, or send to

    July 6 is the Deadline for Anoka and Hennepin Counties to Request Federal Public Assistance

    Release Date: June 29, 2011
    Release Number: 1990-002
    » More Information on Minnesota Severe Storms And Tornadoes

    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- State agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofits in Anoka and Hennepin counties have just a few days remaining to file their official requests for federal public assistance to help recover from severe storms and tornadoes on May 21-22, 2011.

    The deadline to file a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) is Wednesday, July 6Read more.

    Comment: Geospatial technologies have much to offer when it comes to documenting extent of damage following a major disaster.  In turn, those documentation efforts are central to FEMA's reimbursement process.  Thus, the degree to which a community can use geospatial technologies to help develop extent of loss after a major disaster can directly impact the amount of funds available from FEMA for recovery efforts.  Furthermore, as this notice indicates, there are limits on the time in which those requests for assistance can be made - so geospatial response efforts must be timely to be effective in this realm.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    World Bank Is Opening Its Treasure Chest of Data

    This is a must read article for anyone interested in importance of data sharing - geospatial or otherwise!

    BUSINESS DAY   | July 03, 2011
    World Bank Is Opening Its Treasure Chest of Data
    Robert B. Zoellick, the World Bank president, argues that its most valuable currency isn't money - it's information.

    Happy 235th Birthday America!

    Go here to read the Declaration of Independence, signed by 56 men who risked everything with the following oath: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Confusing Dispatches Delay Responses in Ohio

    The recent integration of Dayton fire into the dispatch center boosted the fire call load by more than double from 28,000 annually to an expected 60,000

    By Doug Page
    The Dayton Daily News

    DAYTON, Ohio — Since moving to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center last year, Dayton police, firefighters and medics complain they are sometimes sent to the wrong address, the wrong equipment is dispatched and updates on the dispatches are confusing.

    In one instance, it took police 48 minutes to get to a man assaulted with a bat. He eventually walked to the medics who were standing by, waiting for police to secure the scene. 

    Read more.  Don't miss the very last two sentences.

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Interstate Chemical Threats Workgroup (ICTW) July Newsletter

    Formed in early 2002, the ICTW is a national network of local, state, and federal health agencies which allows for sharing of knowledge, materials, and resources to define the role of state and local health agencies in a chemical terrorism event.  For the past several years, they have published a monthly newletter that is an absolutely invaluable information resource concerning this area of response.  To view the July newletter, click here

    At the bottom of the newsletter, please note the link to the free online lecture, "Mapping and Tracking Vulnerable Populations Using Geospatial Technologies", sponsored by the Pacific Emergency Management, Preparedness, and Response Information Network and Training Services (Pacific-EMPRINTS).   Hawaii based Pacific-EMPRINTS hosts many excellent online training modules - several of which discuss the use of geospatial technologies in the emergency services sector.

    ICTW is planning to discontinue the newsletter in early fall and replace it with a comprehensive website.  When that development takes place, the new EPC web site (which is currently under construction) will host a link to that site.

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    July InfraGard Meeting

    For those who have never heard of "InfraGard", it is a FBI program of outreach to the nation's infrastructure community.  Local InfraGard chapters are managed by industry volunteers, who arrange a variety of training events and other activities designed to help the FBI prepare and respond to disasters.  (The FBI is the federal lead for response to man-made disasters, while FEMA is the federal lead for response to natural disasters).

    The Minnesota InfraGard Chapter is one of the largest and best run chapters in the country.  More than a few members of the EPC also belong to InfraGard, with Joella Givens serving as the Deputy Director of their P2CAT team which operates in the state EOC during disasters.  Information concerning their next chapter meeting is listed below.  Please send an email to if you would like to attend and are currently not an InfraGard member:   

    Time: July 12, 2011 from 1pm to 4pm
    Location: Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Campus (Founders Hall Auditorium)
    Organized By: Erica Wirtz for Minnesota InfraGard

    Event Description:
    Joint us Tuesday, July 12th from 1pm to 4pm for our July General Membership Meeting of the Minnesota Chapter of InfraGard


    An update on the Threats to your Cyber Assets - Mike Kearn and the intelligence committee will conduct a briefing on some of the recent cyber threats.

    What is the status of the Nuclear Threat to Minnesotans in light of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.The June 2, IAEA briefing on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant states " Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious." The plant was damaged during an earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The impacts of the damage and radiation leaks are only now being understood. In the wake of Fukushima there are now Nuclear Plants in the US that are threatened by flood water. We have put together a panel to discuss the disaster and its impact on Minnesota business and Minnesotans.

    Google Loses Bid to Dismiss Street View Suit Over Privacy-Violation Claims

    Google Inc. must face a lawsuit claiming its data collection using Wi-Fi networks for its Street View program, which allows users see photographs of roadsides, violates wiretapping laws, a judge said.  Go here for more: