- Hand-held Camera Shots of Duluth Flooding (Walter Leu, MnDOT, June 21, 2012)
- Google Fly-Through of Waldo Canyon Fire (Chris Mayfield, USNORTHCOM, June 28, 2012)
Comment: Although photos taken on the ground, such as those recently offered online by the Star Tribune for the Duluth floods, are essential for bringing granularity to events at a specific location, visualization of scope and overall context of a disaster is best served through the overhead perspective. Therefore, it would seem intuitive that Federal and/or State authorities would have a standing policy that aerial imagery is automatically collected in a standardized format whenever a disaster reaches a certain predefined threshold, such as activation of a county Emergency Operations Center (for you folks inside the fence line, I'm talking about a "pre-scripted mission"). Yet, no such policy exists. Instead, many of the issues that were brought to the forefront by a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Request For Information in late 2009 - which acknowledged DHS had an unresponsive and ill-defined system for delivering timely and useful imagery to those who could use it most - remain. And without action on this point, the nation will be denying the decision maker, responder and public, access to an incredible capability that could go a long way toward ensuring delivery of more effective disaster management in the future.
Lead graphic credit: wallpapervortex.com