Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mapping the Washington D.C. Storm

Little doubt the storm that hit the Eastern United States last week was a significant event, particularly so for the Nation's capital.  Indicators include 10's of thousands still without power in the metro region five days after the storm, failure of the Northern Virginia 911 system during the weekend following the event, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich going so far as to compare circumstances to an Electro- Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack.  Against that backdrop, find below for your consideration, some official views (maps) that were available to the general public:


Map Link: OSPREY 
Other Links: GIS for Public Safety

Washington DC:

Map Link: Cooling Centers
Other LinksEmergency Information Center MapsOnline Maps ListingData Catalog


VIPER Information Page: VIPER Background
Map Link (password protected): VIPER Login

Pepco (A subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc., delivers electric service to more than 788,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia):

Map Link: Outage Map

Comment: First off, big kudos to each of these entities for their efforts to deliver situational awareness to the public through the power of visualization.  Just like dynamic weather maps that have become a mainstay of modern society, there is simply no way to effectively deliver the story these maps tell, with text.  That being said, the shortfall is similar to the flood mapping efforts for Duluth that were offered by mostly private entities (see: Comparing Mapping Approaches for the Duluth Floods), the mostly government mapping efforts presented here are each off doing their own thing. There are big differences in data availability, data presentation, viewer accessibility, and so on.  All that would be fine if disasters were confined to administrative boundaries. However...News Flash: Disasters Do Not Know Jurisdictional Boundaries!!! Consequently, the delivery of geospatial services and data needs to be planned for on a regional basis. And if anyone in the Washington Metro wants to know how to start a process to make that this link, and then read the report at the bottom of the page that opens.

Lead photo:

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