Saturday, March 3, 2012
When it comes to having a statewide collaborative geospatial environment that supports emergency preparedness and response, few states can rival Indiana. In addition to being home to FEMA's center of excellence for its HAZUS flood, earthquake, and hurricane modeling software (Polis Center at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)), the "IndianaMap" effort is often pointed to as an example of how to create statewide geospatial data sets by fusing together a wide variety of sources in one place. In addition to 25+ Federal, State and commercial entities, 85 of Indiana's 92 counties contribute to the effort that makes geospatial information about Indiana readily available online.
Comment: Yesterday's tornado events in Southern Indiana and elsewhere across the Eastern U.S. were truly horrific. Within that reality, the Indiana geospatial community can find some comfort in that they were far better prepared than most to assist with response and recovery efforts that will be unfolding for some time to come. And therein lies the lesson: When a disaster strikes, its too late for the geospatial community to get ready. Because all elements of a response depend on "where", far more than any other element of preparedness and response, geospatial has to be ready to go the moment the first siren sounds.