Thursday, June 30, 2011

FEMA Region V Regional Interagency Steering Committee (RISC) Meeting

I know out of state travel money is pretty much not going to happen right now, but sooner or later that will change and when it does, I highly recommend attending at least one quarterly FEMA V Regional Interagency Steering Committee (RISC) meeting sometime in your career.  Primarily focused on developing understanding and cooperation between state and federal agencies during disasters, quarterly RISC meetings provide a unique opportunity to build engagement with a wide spectrum of contacts - before bad things happen.  Click here for the agenda, and note GIS with a 45 minute presentation block.  The invite from FEMA Regional Administrator, Andrew Velasquez III, follows:

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to the FEMA Region V, 3rd Quarter, 2011, RISC meeting.  As usual, we will use our half day, half day format to facilitate out of town travelers during the dates of August 16 and 17, 2011 at FEMA Region V Headquarters, 536 S. Clark Street, Chicago, IL.

As we approach the 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on our Nation, we thought it appropriate that our meeting focus should reflect the man-made threats confronting us.  To that end, some of the agenda (draft attached) items include a retrospective look by Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, William Carwile, at where we’ve come since that fateful day a decade ago, a current threat briefing, a presentation from Northern Command on Homeland Defense, and a review of our ongoing catastrophic planning efforts regarding an Improvised Nuclear Device detonation.   

We will send out a list of nearby hotels, restaurants, and parking information in mid to late July to assist you in making your travel arrangements.  The point of contact for this event is Victoria Boccolucci, she can be reached at, 312-408-4418 office, or 312-925-1147 cell.  Please do not hesitate to contact her with any questions or concerns.

I look forward to your participation in what I believe will be an informative and collaborative planning session benefiting our region.      


Andrew Velasquez III
Regional Administrator
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
FEMA Region V
536 S. Clark Street, 6th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60605
312/408-5504 Office
312/408-5384 Secure
312/408-5234 Fax"

Critical Public Safety Functions To Continue During MN Shutdown

Critical Public Safety Functions To Continue During MN Shutdown

By KBJR News 1
June 30, 2011 Updated Jun 30, 2011 at 12:22 PM CDT Posted by Melissa Burlaga

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) Judge Kathleen R. Gearin ruled Wednesday that in the case of a government shutdown on July 1, some critical services must continue to be provided in order to protect the lives and safety of Minnesotans.  The ruling means the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) will continue some services deemed “critical” to Minnesotans and discontinue others in the event of a state government shutdown.   Read more.

Additional details are available by sending a note to

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

White House Unveils National Strategy for Counterterrorism

President Obama’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism, which was presented today by John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. The strategy articulates the United States’ broad, sustained and integrated campaign against al-Qa’ida, its affiliates and its adherents, consistent with the President’s enduring commitment to protect the American people.

Minnesota HAZUS-MH Users Group is Forming

In an effort to help develop better statewide understanding of FEMA's HAZUS-MH program, the EPC is sponsoring the startup of a Minnesota HAZUS User Group.  If you have interest in learning how you can use HAZUS-MH to help your community or place of business effectively plan for, and potentially respond to, several types of major disasters, please contact Kitty Hurley, GIS Specialist at, (763) 493-8196, or Joella Givens at (as long as the state is in business), (651) 234-7365.  For more information, see also Kitty's HAZUS presentation from the June 9th, 2011, EPC quarterly meeting.

Free Presentation on International Applications of Hazus-MH - July 5th, 1:30 CDT

From Kevin Mickey, GISP, CTT+, Director, Professional Education and Outreach, The Polis Center, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis:

The Central Hazus Users Group is sponsoring a virtual presentation by Giedrius Kaveckis on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm CDT.   The dial-in for the audio portion of the presentation is 1-570-720-0113   Passcode: 1351813.  You can watch the video portion of the presentation by opening a web browser to 

Giedrius Kaveckis is a graduate student from Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in Austria. He is the recipient of a Marshall Plan Scholarship and is currently working on his Master’s thesis at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis at The Polis Center. The title of his thesis is “Potential Contributions of Hazus-MH to Flood Risk Assessment in the Context of the European Flood Directive.” His research focuses on the ability to integrate non-US datasets into the Hazus-MH Flood Model for the purpose of performing flood damage assessments and contributing to flood risk and hazard mapping in Europe.

In the presentation Giedrius will describe the implementation strategy that he has developed which enables the Hazus user to assess flood related losses anywhere in the world.  He will introduce the audience to the European Flood Directive and how Hazus-MH can support the goals of that directive.  He will also discuss the requirements for the inventory and hazard data as well as how those requirements can be met with free open source tools.  Giedrius will conclude with a discussion of the steps and challenges associated with fully implementing Hazus-MH in an international context.   He will also present opportunities for potential future research that can inform those working to address these issues.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Setting Boundaries on the Use of Your Geotracking Data

An interesting editorial from the Denver Post:

"A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress to set boundaries on the use of GPS information, including requirements that police establish probable cause and get warrants before obtaining geolocation data from private companies. It's a strong and useful piece of legislation that would bring laws into line with technological advances and set clear standards for private companies and law enforcement."   Read More

Monday, June 27, 2011

ICS 300 and 400 Training Dates Announced

Here's an opportunity for some excellent advanced ICS training:

Prairie Island Indian Community is hosting an ICS300 and ICS400 this August.
A prior scheduled course had to be canceled  and rescheduled due to not enough students.
If you know of anyone needing this course please pass the information on.
Law enforcement personnel can receive 24 (ICS-300) and 16 (ICS-400) hours of continuing
education credit upon completion of these classes.
Minimum number of students for these classes is 20, the maximum is 40.
300 will be August 15th, 16th, and 17th. (Mon- Wed.)  8-5pm daily with an hour break for lunch on your own.
400 will be August 29th and 30th.   (Mon- Tues.)  8-5 daily with an hour lunch break on your own.
They will be located in our Tribal Court Chambers in the Community.
If you are interested in signing up please contact me via email or phone.  I will need proof of
passing any prerequisite courses  (for 300 it is ics 100,200 and 700,  for 400 it is ics 300) prior to
the start date of the course for the instructor.  If you are signing up a student, I need their name, title and agency they work for and a way to contact them prior to the class to send out directions and information.
I will send out a confirmation email to enrolled students a week prior to the course
with directions and options for lunch nearby.

We do have a hotel near the property and there are also other hotels within 10 miles of where the class will be held.  If you have any questions about hotels, please let me know.
Thanks much, sorry for the hassle in doing this all over again.
Jennifer Cable
Jennifer Cable
Prairie Island Indian Community
Emergency Management Coordinator
Prairie Island Tribal Police Department
1960 Island Blvd.
Welch, MN 55089
651-385-4178  office
651-267-4008  fax
651-775-1560  cell

HSIP Gold/Freedom Feedback Session - Feedback Requested

In preparation for the upcoming 7-8 July 2011 Homeland Security Infrastructure Program (HSIP) Gold/Freedom Data Feedback Session the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation Level Data (HIFLD) Working Group is collecting feedback to better understand your HSIP Gold/Freedom data usage and requirements. To assist in the feedback process and ensure the success of HSIP, please provide feedback by visiting or via email to the  HIFLD Support Staff ( The HIFLD Working Group would specifically like to understand:
                1. How do you use HSIP Gold/Freedom data to support your mission?
                2.  a. Which HSIP Gold/Freedom Data Layers do you use the most?
                     b. Which HSIP Gold/Freedom Data Layers do you use the least?
                3. What additional data, data attributes and /or data sources would you like to see in HSIP Gold/Freedom?
                4. What data are you currently purchasing to meet your mission?
                5. Do you currently use HSIP Gold provided symbology? If no, what symbology is used?
                6. How do you use HSIP Gold/Freedom in support of exercise/training (e.g. NLE 2011)?

If you would like to provide specific data layer HSIP feedback please utilize the HSIP Feedback Mechanism found on the HIFLDWG website ( The Feedback Mechanism allows for specific types of feedback, including:
-          General Comment
-          Recommend New Data Layer
-          Recommend New Data Layer Attribute
-          General Data Layer Comment
-          Point/Line/Polygon Comment
-          Metadata Comment

As always the HIFLD Working Group and HSIP appreciates your support and dedication.  The updated July 2011 HIFLD WG Agenda is attached, for additional information the on the July HIFLD Working Group Meeting or HSIP please visit or contact Casey Perry,, 703-377-9684

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Airline Pilot's Union Voices Strong Opposition to LightSquared

"GPS Essential to U.S. Airline Industry
LightSquared Proposal Threatens Efficiency and Safety

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent today to the U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee, the world’s largest pilot union declared adamant opposition to a private company’s bid to expand its broadband communications services in a way that would jeopardize the global positioning system (GPS) and threaten the tremendous contribution that the satellite-based navigation system makes to ensuring efficient and safe airline operations."

ALPA news release, Release #11.13; June 22, 2011.  Read more.

2011 HSIP Freedom Information is Now Available

Courtsey of Kara Scott, GIS Specialist, Radiological Emergency Preparedness Division, FEMA Region V in Chicago, information on the 2011 HSIP Freedom data sets is now available using links along the right hand side bar.  Information provided includes instructions on how to receive a copy of the HSIP Freedom data sets for use at your unit of government.

Monday, June 20, 2011

War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs

From the New York Times, a very interesting article about some unique developments in the world of remote sensing.  In the future, the value of these technologies to disaster response and SAR could be significant.  Click the link below to read the article.

WORLD   | June 20, 2011
War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs
From blimps to bugs, an explosion in aerial drones is transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Maine Cops Probe Response Delay in Murder-suicide

Maine cops probe response delay in murder-suicide
Date: June 14, 2011

"Police in Maine say they don't know if a six-minute delay in responding to a plea for help from a threatened Winslow woman contributed to her death.  Police say the dispatcher who answered the 911 call on June 6 from 30-year-old Sarah Gordon mistook "Marie Street" for "Murray Street" and sent officers to the wrong address."  Read more.

Friday, June 17, 2011

NFPA completes Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service

Big thanks to Al Studt, Kennedy Space Center Fire Systems Engineer, and Lieutenant/EMT with Canaveral Fire Rescue.

Fighter, for the following heads up concerning the recently released
Needs Assessment by the National Fire Protection Association.  From pages 159 concerning geospatial capabilities:

"Table 6-3 indicates that roughly half of all fire departments have no map coordinate
system (48% of departments that said they knew whether they had a system), roughly
unchanged from 45% in 2001 and 50% in 2005. There are some indications that national
authorities are more supportive of the need for standardization in this area, particularly in
the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but there is no evidence of progress at the local level.

Table 6-4 indicates that the vast majority of departments with a map coordinate system
have only a local system, which means the system they have is unlikely to be usable with
global positioning systems (GPS) or familiar to, or easily used by, non-local emergency
response partners, such as Urban Search and Rescue Teams, the National Guard, and
state or national response forces. Moreover, interoperability of spatial-based plans,
information systems, equipment, and procedures will likely be rendered impossible
beyond the local community under these circumstances. This reliance almost exclusively
on local systems exists across-the-board, in all sizes of communities.

The U. S. National Grid (USNG-NAD83) standard, based on the grid system used by
U.S. military units and National Guard forces around the world, was adopted as the
system best suited for eventual national standardization. Nearly all departments (99%)
indicated no use of the U.S. National Grid (called Military Grid in the survey and Table
Only 1% of departments reported no 911 or similar system in the latest survey,
down from 6% in 2001 and unchanged from 1% in 2005. (See Table 6-5.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More on LightSquared

Here are the latest developments on LightSquared:

(1) "LightSquared cellular network interferes with all GPS applications, latest tests show".  Go here.
(2) "LightSquared Gets Two-Week Extension on GPS Interference Report; Congressman Calls on FCC to Rescind Waiver".  Go here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

In Nuclear Crisis, Crippling Mistrust

An interesting discussion in the New York Times about the value of sharing information to avoid making a disaster worse.  Click on the hyperlink below to read:

WORLD   | June 13, 2011
In Nuclear Crisis, Crippling Mistrust
A look at the first days after a tsunami crippled Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant reveals that the prime minister was dangerously ill informed.

June 9, 2011 EPC Meeting Presentations Are Now Available

The Power Point presentations from the June 9, 2011, EPC meeting are now available by using the appropriate links in the right hand column.  You will find there:
  • The administrative meeting presentation covering a wide variety of snippets related to the EPC.
  • Snap Shot presentation on HAZUS-MN, by Kitty Hurley.  An outstanding piece that will help you gain better understanding of how to use this geospatial tool to save your community BIG money.
  • Four excellent USGS presentations made available to us by Brenda Jones's visit to the EPC.  In them you will find lots of information about imagery capabilities that can be made available to your community response team during a disaster.
The presentations play best if you use the "Start Slide Show" feature found on the menu bar immediately above a presentation when it first opens.  Although there is no audio available for these presentations - there is a great deal of information that is visually available on the slides.

Abstract Submission Deadline for the 2011 Minnesota Government IT Symposium is June 14th

Details can be found here:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Call For Applications for Statewide Geospatial Advisory Council

The Council advises MnGeo about issues, policies, priorities, and investments needed to improve services statewide through the coordinated, affordable, reliable, and effective use of geospatial technology.  Membership comprises representatives of a cross-section of organizations.  These include city, county, regional, state, federal and tribal governments, educational organizations, businesses, nonprofits, and other stakeholder groups that benefit from geospatial technology.  For additional information about the council, see its webpage.

Council members are appointed for 2 year terms through the State’s open appointments process.  Application forms and general State open appointment information can be found on the Secretary of State’s Open Appointments website.  Applicants should submit their application to the Secretary of State’s Office; in addition, sending a copy directly to is encouraged.

The application deadline is July 15, 2011 or until positions are filled.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Klobuchar Announces Committee Passage of Bipartisan Public Safety Communications Bill

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that bipartisan legislation to strengthen the public safety network for first responders passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee today. The SPECTRUM Act would provide emergency responders with a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network and includes a Klobuchar amendment that would commission two studies that would help implement Next Generation 9-1-1 technology.

Read more:

Lessons From a University - Report from September 2010 Christchurch Earthquake

As provided by Talbot Brooks......

"A friend shared the attached with me earlier today and I’ve given it a quick read – this is some great stuff that we need to include for our readiness plans for MS universities.  Please read and feel free to share."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Universal Geocoding from NAC Assigns Unique Codes to Every Location on Earth

I personally view this article as a great disservice to the geospatial community in that it gives the purveyor of a proprietary coordinate system a forum in which to hawk a product that runs directly counter to U.S. national policy as embodied in formal decisions of the FGDC, National Search and Rescue Committee and others (implementation of the U.S. National Grid).  Talbot Brooks was much nicer in saying the same thing.  Go here for the article:

The next thing you know, somebody will try trademarking a name like "Seal Team Six".

Huh?  What do you mean Disney already tried that?  You're kidding me, right?

FEMA Issues Guidance for the Submission of Flood Mapping Data

Procedure Memorandum No. 62
As of May 25, 2011, Procedure Memorandum No. 62 (PM 62), Technical Support Data Notebook (TSDN) submittal and Flood Elevation Determination Docket (FEDD) File Review Protocol for Mapping Projects, was issued final.  This link includes the final approved PM 62 to help explain the purpose of the procedure memorandum and new requirements as well as the FEDD File Submission Guidelines and corresponding FEDD and TSDN Inventory Checklists.  MIP User Guidance for Submitting Study Data Artifacts to FEMA will be issued in the near future. 
With the implementation of PM 62, beginning with post-preliminary mapping projects for which Letters of Final Determination will be issued on or after August 2, 2011, all mapping partners, including IDIQ contractors and CTPs, are required to submit FEDD files and TSDNs in a timely fashion to FEMA Headquarters (or its designee as indicated on the attached FEDD File Submission Guidelines PM 62)  and to complete the checklists and certify that their project documentation is complete and reflects the final products by signing the certification page on the TSDN Inventory Checklist.  Please note, the FEDD files must be submitted for review along with all other documentation during Quality Review 6 (60 days before the LFD is scheduled to be issued).
Please ensure widest dissemination of this procedure memorandum to your RSCs, staff, and mapping partners.  If you have any questions regarding PM 62 please contact Michael Godesky by email at or Rick Sacbibit at .

Monday, June 6, 2011

'After Bin Laden'

Time: June 15, 2011 from 12pm to 2pm
Location: Webinar
Organized By: FS-ISAC and MSA

Event Description:
What does the terrorist threat environment look like after the death of Osama bin Laden?  MSA Security's Research & Intelligence Analysis Team has conducted an in-depth analysis providing perspective on what happens "After Bin Laden."

Join the FS-ISAC and MSA for a complimentary webcast to take a closer look at potential al Qaeda leaders, the threat posed by al Qaeda affiliates, and the implications of Bin Laden's death on the overall jihadist movement.  The presentation will conclude with best practices and security measures for mitigating against the current threat.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
TIME: 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT

To register, click on the registration link below or go to the FS-ISAC website at and click on the webinar listed in the Upcoming Events section on the home page.

Registration Link:

Once you register, an email confirmation with login information will be sent to you directly.

Busy on June 15th? Be sure to register and you will automatically receive a link to the on demand replay several days after the webinar.

Please do not reply to this email. For questions regarding this webinar please contact

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Program That Includes Simple Mapping is the Winner

As related by FEMA Director Craig Fugate:

"It [the Map Your Neighborhood program] involves meeting with a small group of your neighbors to set up a plan for evacuation, rescue, etc. in the event of a disaster. You physically draw a diagram of your neighbor's homes to include gas shut-offs, water shut-offs, etc. You also inquire and make a list of who has a ladder, chain-saw, rope, muscular strength, or who can provide childcare so others can go to the aid of surrounding neighbors and so on. It is a very easy program to understand and does not rely on a large group to participate, just you and your immediate neighbors. It teaches basic preparedness and give some insight as to what may be needed and who, in your own neighborhood, is able to provide it."

Read more about the program and the rest of Director Fugates comments at the FEMA Blog:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wrong Street Suffix, Woman Dies

From Dispatch Magazine On-Line:

"Wrong Street Suffix, Woman Dies

Quite simply, the difference between “Daniel Street” and “Daniel Avenue” in Atlanta (Geo.) may have proved fatal to a woman who was accidentally crushed in the demolition of a house. The 51 year-old homeless woman was inside a home slated for demolition when the work crew showed up and began work. When workers discovered the woman had been injured, they dialed 911 and correctly gave the street address of 68 Daniel Street. The unnamed male Atlanta 911 calltaker repeated the correct address. However, when emergency units were dispatched, they were sent to 68 Daniel Avenue, about five miles away. A second 911 caller nine minutes later said no emergency units had arrived, but both the 911 dispatcher and an EMS dispatcher assured the caller that units were enroute. Apparently neither re-confirmed the address with the caller. A few minutes later the 911 and EMS dispatchers conferred on the telephone and discovered the location mistake. An ambulance arrived 18 minutes after the first 911 call. The patient was transported but did not survive. Read more and listen to the 911 calls here."

HIFLD WG July Meeting Announcement

The July HIFLD WG meeting is rapidly approaching.  In order to ensure a robust session, please be sure to provide feedback to the following questions at or via email to the  HIFLD Support Staff (

1. How do you use HSIP Gold/Freedom data to support your mission?
2.  a. Which HSIP Gold/Freedom Data Layers do you use the most?
    b. Which HSIP Gold/Freedom Data Layers do you use the least?
3. What additional data, data attributes and /or data sources would you like to see in HSIP Gold/Freedom?
4. What data are you currently purchasing to meet your mission?
5. Do you currently use HSIP Gold provided symbology? If no, what symbology is used?
6. How do you use HSIP Gold/Freedom in support of exercise/training (e.g. NLE 2011)?

The next HIFLD Working Group meeting, scheduled for 7-8 July 2011 and will be hosted by San Diego State University (SDSU) in the Hardy Tower.  The purpose of this meeting is to conduct the 2011 HSIP Gold/Freedom Data Feedback and Symbology session and to facilitate further discussion on the identification, acquisition and use of common homeland geospatial infrastructure data, symbology and applications for shared use among HIFLD WG members. Additionally, topics of general interest related to how geospatial technology and data supports efforts to enhance the protection and resiliency of our Nation's infrastructure and international infrastructure significant to the US will be addressed. Details on how to register for the meeting are listed below. If you have any questions please contact Casey Perry at 703.377.9684/757.532.8252,  or

-Online registration can be found on the HIFLD website,, register using conference code HIF51145.  Conference fee will be approximately $35.00
-Additional logistic information can be found on the HIFLD website and on the conference registration site.  If you do not already have an account, please complete the request access form. Password and login instructions will be sent to you via e-mail once your request has been submitted.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Terrorism, Social Media & You Conference

On June 10th, 2011 InfraGard has partnered with the Mall of America to present the Terrorism, Social Media & You Conference. Our online registration closes on Friday, so you only have 5 days left to sign-up!! If you miss the online registration, you can register at the door for an additional cost.

Our conference will feature, Gordon Graham, nationally recognized expert on risk management, whose work has had tremendous impact on the risk management effectiveness of law enforcement operations and private sector companies around the country and Dr. Jarret Brachman, internationally recognized counterterrorism specialist, author, public lecturer and former CIA Analyst and Director of Research at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

We will also have a presentation from Weber Shandwick on their newly launched Social Crisis Simulator, FireBell. FireBell creates an authentic, real-time experience of being under attack on social media channels.

And we will hear from Mall of America’s Bridget Jewell, Bloomington Police Department’s Brant Richardson and the Eden Prairie Police Department’s Ryan Kapaun in a case study approach to analyze real crisis to see how social media changes crisis communication while exploring the changing nature of human response in crisis, and what organizations need to know to strategically employ and observe social media during these events.

Conference Website: