Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Disasters = Reflections on the Power of GIS

Events like Irene often trigger reflections on what GIS can bring to the emergency preparedness and response equation.  In that vein, the online 1 V Magazine has recently posted an article by Matt Ball that you may find of interest.  Go here.

Three thoughts:

  • Carl Reed of OGC Standards has added an interesting post that points to the need for “standards” when working in this realm.  I highly recommend that you read his attached post.  It hits on a theme you have seen posted here – geospatial data is absolutely critical to disaster response, but it is of marginal value if everyone is off doing their own thing.  Carl also points out an excellent background document that he helped write for the National Academies of Science: Successful Response Starts With a Map.  Go here for the executive summary, or to order the book.

  • Final thought.  At the bottom of Matt’s article you will find links that continue to build on the theme that GIS has much to offer to the emergency services sector.  However, as the saying goes in the U.S. Armed Forces, “You fight, like you train”.  Indeed, for geospatial capability to have value during a disaster – it has to be “trained” and developed before things go ugly -  it’s simply too late to make things happen when a flood comes, a hurricane visits, an earthquake shakes, or some other calamity happens.  Remember that thought when the bright lights of attention dim on Irene.        

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