Thursday, April 26, 2012


Regional and State Online Resource for Emergency Management (RaSOR-EM) is a web-based, geospatially driven, knowledge center maintained by the National Guard Bureau.  First rolled out in 2008 as the visualization part of the National Guard's Joint State Response Training System (JSRTS), RaSOR-EM has since become an Emergency Management Common Operating Picture (COP) platform for a number of smaller communities.  An official description highlights some its capabilities:
RaSOR-EM provides geographic, demographic, and organizational information in conjunction with advanced mapping capibilities.  With an extensive database that provides comprehensive emergency management data at the local, state and national levels, RaSOR-EM displays conventional maps, digital satellite imagery, or a combination of both.  Maps can be configured to display icons that denote locations of key resources and facilities.  RaSOR-EM also provides the capability to create custom map overlays. 
RaSOR-EM is available to pretty much the same group who would have access to the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN); those individuals with some tangible connection to the Emergency Services Sector.  For more information, use the links below:

Comment: In my opinion, the build concept behind RaSOR-EM is a far better than that used in HSIN.  In RaSOR-EM, textual information about an area (who is the Governor of Minnesota?) is interwoven into the map displays, whereas in HSIN, textual and geospatial information tend to be treated as two completely different things.  The RaSOR-EM interface is also very easy to use and a novice can have a great deal of information at his/her fingertips with only minimal training.  However, RaSOR-EM does have its shortcomings.  It has no online collaborative chat feature like Jabber, some elements of information and links are dated,  and the depth of geospatial data that is available is not much beyond what would be available through services like Google Maps.  All that being said - you owe it to yourself to give RaSOR-EM a test drive and see if it could potentially support your needs.

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