Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vanderbilt University Researchers Develop Smartphone that Determines Gunfire Location

Funded by a grant from the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA), researchers at Vanderbilt University's Institute of Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) have developed hardware and software that allows an Android smartphone to determine the direction of gun fire. Created primarily as a way for small combat teams to locate snipers, the potential use in the civilian sector is also thought to be significant. In that regard, SWAT teams and patrol cars would be some of the first to receive the technology. More below: 

(Vanderbilt University Press Release, April 25, 2013)

Comment: As noted in the article, the Department of Defense has spent millions developing sophisticated and bulky systems capable of performing the same function. Therein is the marvel of what this research team has been able to accomplish. Smaller, cheaper, lighter by adapting the sensors and derived location capabilities of the smartphone.

Photo: Vanderbilt University ISIS 

Monday, April 29, 2013

FCC Test Findings: Cell Phone 9-1-1 Indoor Positional Accuracy

The FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) III recently released findings from 911 cell phone indoor location tracking  tests it conducted late last year in the San Francisco Bay Area. Conclusion: while improvements are being made in these technologies, accuracy acceptable to the 911 and Emergency Services Sector communities is still years away. Indeed, one of the more interesting benchmarks to come out of the study was that although indoor location accuracy to within 50 meters is acceptable for rural and most suburban settings, less than 50 meters will be required in urban settings. GCN reports:

(GCN, April 4, 2013)

Comment: With estimates running as high as 70% of all 911 calls now coming from cell phones, and up to 50% of those calls are being made from indoors, this is a serious issue. Best of luck to the commercial vendors who are trying to solve this vexing problem. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fibbing Friday: Speed Cameras, Sobriety Checkpoints, Tweetping, Swatted Swatting, and Lava World

So here we are on another Friday, and of course, as always, I'm making it up as I go. This time the theme will be - somebody is coming up short on the truth. Because, after all, you never want to let facts get in the way of a good story....

Come On! The police using fake speed cameras to get motorists to slow down?  But isn't that dishonest? How could the police do such a thing? On second thought, if my choices are to not get a ticket from a fake camera, or to get a ticket from a real camera - I'll take the fake. Check it out:

(WTOP, April 13, 2013)

Motorists Fight Back With Twitter. Speaking of the police, anyone who thinks law enforcement personnel don't know how to think on their feet needs to read this story. For every Tweet by a motorist, there's an answer. Find out below:

(San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 2013)

I Read Every Tweet, Every Day, for Those I Follow. Ever heard one that runs along those lines from the local Pinocchio? Well now there is a way to check out the plausibility of statements like that on a map showing real-time tweets from around the world. WARNING - Do Not Open The Link Below if You Get Vertigo! 

(Franck Ernewein)

It's Hard to Stop a Good Thing. This one is a wake-up call for the Press - please heed. Yes, they (and I) can publish things that will give the occasional whack-job out there a crazy idea or two. So, after a series of much publicized Emergency Services Sector responses (including SWAT in some cases) to celebrity homes in Southern California - the LAPD decided, enough is enough with the "public's right to know." I was sitting on the censorship fence about this one until I realized a nice guy from Iowa was getting harassed. Go, LAPD, Go!

Lava Lamp Gone BadSupposedly, the map below is the work of a hacker who created spyware to trace Internet use over the course of the day.  Say, I have this bridge in Brooklyn I'm trying to sell...would you be interested?  Anyway, dude, it makes me really mellow watching the ebbs and flows of Internet traffic as day turns into night, and night into day, and day into night, and......

(Fast Company, March 25, 2013)

Wishing You a REAL-ly Great Weekend!

Lead graphic: Fanpop.com

Thursday, April 25, 2013

NGA and Geospatial Community Explore Using the Cloud for Disaster Response

In an effort to better understand "what's possible" for situational awareness during disasters, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has been exploring the potential of cloud based solutions. Using architecture hosted by NJVC, a development team which includes Boeing, OpenGeo, Google, and Aerospace Corp., along with standards monitoring by the Open Geospatial Consortium, has been hard at work on proof of concept approaches. With preliminary work recently completed, the team expects to conduct a series of demonstrations later this summer that will show how to rapidly build geospatial support capabilities for disaster response and management in the cloud. More below:

(GCN, April 12, 2013)

Comment: OpenGeo is one of the leading developers of open source software for geospatial. OpenGeo, along with the entire North American community of cutting edge developers who believe in Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial will be meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 22-24. And, I mean, seriously, if open source geospatial software is good enough for NGA and others like NASA, the reason it would be not good enough for you would be what?  It's free?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Drones and the Press: Telling the Story

As has been mentioned many times before on this website, the thought that there will come a day in the not so distant future when drones will be buzzing to and fro across U.S. skies has grabbed the attention of the press and public in a way unlike anything else in recent times.  Indeed, so much so that two Midwest universities have begun offering topic specific journalism classes to ensure the technology is understood by future reporters and editors. At both the University of Nebraska and University of Missouri, an examination of drone information collection methods and legal implications are core parts of the curriculum. Find below links to stories about those programs, as well as some types of drone stories we can expect program graduates to report on in the future:
(University of Missouri, March 8, 2013)

(Website, multiple articles)

Journalism Schools Try Out Drones—And Test Legal Boundaries
(U.S. News, February 26, 2013)

Story lines we are certain to see again from future drone journalists:

(U.S. News, April 23, 2013)

(ABC Radio Australia, March 25, 2013) 

(AUVSI, March 13, 2013)

(Electric Light and Power, February 28, 2013)

Comment: Well, if you haven't been "linked to death" by now, may I suggest a visit to the 7th Unmanned Aircraft Systems Action Summit, Grand Forks, North Dakota, May 30-31. Link below:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wave of the Future? Police Cameras in Schools...

In response to the Sandy Hook shootings, several Long Island schools have been hard at work on a novel deployment of surveillance cameras. Recently, a reporter with a CBS affiliate in New York City received a tour of the new system. The attention grabber - streaming video from school cameras can now be sent directly to the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) in area police vehicles. Police can also pull up the floor plan of a school while en-route to a response. Video (1:51) and story link below:

(CBS New York, April 18, 2013)

Comment: It's going to be a slippery slope - but so far I like it.  After all, a response is always going to be about location information in one form or another.

Monday, April 22, 2013

FIRST Bomb Response App and Other Resources for the ESS

At the end of each week, the U.S. Fire Administration's Emergency Management and Response – Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC), publishes "The Infogram". Typically, the publication features four or five brief articles on events, capabilities, resources or similar items of educational interest to the Emergency Services Sector (ESS). As could be expected, the lead story in last week's offering was one encouraging various elements of the ESS to review and reevaluate policies and procedures they would use if a Boston Marathon Bombing type event happened in their area of responsibility. To go along with that thought, The Infogram offered a partial list of helpful resources the ESS might like to consider. Here they are:

  • Office of Bombing Prevention (OBP) offers training on demand,
  • OBP also runs TRIPwire, a username/password protected site containing information on terrorist design, manufacture, and use of IEDs (register here),
  • Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) offers free CBRNE training for first responders,
  • Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative provides both online and on-site training for fire, EMS, law enforcement, private security, 9-1-1, emergency management, and corrections officers,
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Study program hosts free courses on a variety of emergency management topics including Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and hazardous materials incidents, and
  • Departments or individuals should also contact their state fire marshal’s office, state police, state office of homeland security or emergency management, or state’s health/public health department to find applicable training scheduled or available to them locally.

In addition to this solid list by the EMR-ISAC, also worthy of attention is the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) First Responder Support Tool (FIRST)-Bomb Response app for smart phones and computers. This map based app provides ESS personnel with a near real-time means of managing a response to a potential or actual bombing event. Use the links below to learn more:

(DHS, S&T Directorate Website)

(FirstResponder.gov Website)

Comment: Unfortunately, the form of asymmetric warfare we call terrorism, will probably be with us for the foreseeable future. So, there's no time like the present to hit the books...

Lead graphic: DHS

Friday, April 19, 2013

Find'm Friday: FBI Uses Web Tools to Look for Boston Bombers

As long as I can remember, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been asking for the public's assistance in finding criminals. Typically, that effort has been some combination of "Wanted" posters hung up in post offices, "tip" phone numbers, the FBI's long running Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and the occasional TV plug. However, since the substantial information exchange capabilities of the Internet began to emerge in the late 1990's, the FBI's efforts have gained an entirely different dimension - one the FBI has apparently learned to manage with great skill. For example, while the mainstream press and John Q. Public were hard at work identifying the wrong suspects (just like they did for the Sandy Hook shootings) and filing totally errant reports about arrests, the FBI took its time and today released detailed, useful information that makes an electronically engaged, web-enabled, public a "force multiplier" in the search for the individuals responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. Indeed, one thing the main stream press did get correct was, as the FBI released information about the suspects, many individuals were receiving that flow of information real-time from the Internet on web-enabled smartphones. In addition to the posters above, and streaming video from the press conference, here are the other ways the FBI has made information available:

What's the return on investment for this level of engagement?  I'll leave that up to the FBI to say for certain, but curiously, within hours of this expansive and specific information hitting the Internet, crowd sourcing was apparently producing details the FBI did not mention during its news briefing: 

Comment: Three thoughts -

(1) When left to its own devices, the social media/crowd sourcing approach can go seriously off the deep end on an effort such as this.  However, when channeled, as is the case here post news conference, the power of the crowd appears to be truly significant.
(2) Massive kudos to the FBI for this outreach effort. However, I've got a complaint and you can probably already guess what it is. With all this visualization....where are the MAPS? To truly empower the crowd, maps need to be part of the delivery to the public. If you want the public to find clues, provide tips, that flow of information needs to be referenced to location, and if possible, time. 
(3) Surveillance cameras, cell phone cameras and recorders, Facebook postings, facial recognition, collaborative websites, cell phone records matched against location, and much, much more....makes it pretty darn hard for anyone to hide in this day and age. Therefore.........   

Here's Hoping the FBI Has a Find'm Weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Remote Sensing and Disasters: Two Examples

Two articles exploring different ways remote sensing is being used to support the Emergency Services Sector were recently published. First, in the April issue of Geoconnextion, Marco Van Der Kooij, examined the significant ways Canadian RADARSAT satellites have been used to mitigate and respond to flooding events around the world. Second, a joint news release by NASA and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) highlighted a collaborative effort that has taken remote sensing technology NASA developed for its space program, and brought it back to earth for use in a USFS aircraft that will be dedicated to wildfire response efforts this summer. Links to articles can be found below: 

(Geoconnexion, April 2013; PDF version)

(NASA News Release, April 11, 2013)

Comment: Unfortunately, communication with RADARSAT-1 was lost in late March. The Canadian Space Agency now fears this workhorse satellite has been permanently lost.

Picture credit: NASA

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HAZUS: BIG Happenings!

Kevin Mickey and the rest of the HAZUS outreach crew have been hard at it with promoting product improvements and upcoming training opportunities for FEMA's GIS software devoted to hurricane, earthquake and flood preparedness and response. Here are the highlights:

  • HAZUS can now be downloaded - no more waiting around for disks to arrive by mail,
  • The HAZUS annual conference is back - August 5-7, 2013 - in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana, and
  • Abstracts are being accepted for the conference through June 25th.

Use the links below to view the slides from yesterday's April HAZUS User Conference Call Presentation (they show how to download HAZUS), or to click through to the HAZUS conference site where you can learn all the details, plus sign up for this FREE conference:

Comment: Having Kevin Mickey and the Polis Center involved in the HAZUS Annual Conference guarantees a top-notch event.  Don't miss it! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombings: First Thoughts

The flag of the United States of America will be at half-staff over the U.S. Capital today in remembrance of all those harmed by yesterday's bombings at the Boston Marathon. The prayers and thoughts of a nation follow.

Now, a point of reflection. In addition to TV and radio news saturation, within a few hours after these explosions: 

The web was filled with graphic pictures, and 
Twitter, Facebook and the blogsphere were operating at full throttle.

Do you have a plan to respond to this mostly uncontrolled access to high-speed mass media by John Q. Public?

Enough said for today.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Get Ready for Severe Weather!

It is somewhat difficult to think about outbreaks of severe spring/summer weather when the Minnesota landscape remains snow covered on the unusually late date of April 15th. But, although warm weather has so far been elusive in the upper Midwest, at some point in the near future spring will finally arrive, and with it will come the ever present risk for outbreaks of severe weather. With that thought in mind, the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) has designated the week of April 15-19 as Severe Weather Awareness Week. To go along with that designation, the HSEM team has put together an excellent website that has a different "threat topic" for each day of the week. The site also has detailed reference materials for each threat that can be viewed by clicking on the topic for the day. Additionally, as has been the case for many years, a day has been set aside for a statewide tornado drill, this year on April 18th. Website, reference materials, and expanded details can be found at the link below:

Comment: In support of the HSEM effort, the good folks at Minnesota's InfraGard Chapter have been running a post on various smart phone and tablet apps that are applicable to this subject. That's something I would normally give you a complete run down on, but I'm currently dealing with a localized severe weather event. It's a microburst called: Tax Day 2013.....

Friday, April 12, 2013

Feel Good Friday: North Korea, SUPER DRONE, Big Gas, Rebellion Grows, and Mellow Out

The hit count for last Friday's edition has left me thinking the "Friday Series" has probably worn out its welcome. But, I decided, "What the heck, I'll give it one more shot, and if this one bombs, then.....I'll pull the plug."  So in a no-holds-barred attempt to lure back readers, I've decided to only offer stories with a feel good spin. Consequently, what do you say we start out with North Korea?

Things Are Not As Bad As You Think They Are!  Seriously, that statement is correct. So what if they've got nukes small enough to fit in their ballistic missiles? First off, unless you are living in Guam or Alaska, the best North Korean missile (Taepodong-2, at 6,000 KM) doesn't have the range to deliver a bomb to the U.S. or territories, and second, Guam and Alaska will have all that neat defensive Star Wars stuff the folks at Sandia developed in anticipation of this day.  So....nanny, nanny, nanny goat, you can't get us.  See, don't you feel better already? Proof below:

SUPER-DRONE: Protector of Animals Wide and Far! We've heard this story before, usually it involves hunters "accidentally" blasting an animal rights group's surveillance drone out of the sky during an organized hunt. And although PETA appears to have recently gone all-in on this questionable use of drones, it looks like some good folks in India have found an animal protection niche that actual might work. Details can be found in the story below:

(ABC News, April 8, 2013)

We Are Running Out of Oil! No, we aren't! In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently predicted the U.S.A. will be the world's leading exporter of crude oil by the year 2020. All because of some crazy rock formations in North Dakota that are so rich in hydrocarbons that the night sky has been turned to day by the burn-off. So if that thought makes you feel good, go out and buy that humongous, gas-guzzling, blob of pressed steel and plastic you've always wanted. More below:

(Mail Online, March 23, 2013)

The Rebellion Spreads! It started out with strip clubs (no, honey, that's not me in that online video), now the list of where you need to check your Goggle Glasses at the door includes cinemas, casinos, restaurants, classified facilities (naturally) and perhaps the driver's seat. Personally, the thought of living in a world where everybody is nothing more than a walking surveillance camera creeps me out. Apparently, I'm not alone:

(Geek, April 11, 2013)

Best For Last! If viewing the video below doesn't make you feel good, there's something wrong. To learn how it was done with free tools that are just a few clicks away, use the link below the clip.

(New York Times, April 10, 2013)

Graphic Credits:
  • North Korea: wikimedia.org
  • North Dakota: Mail Online

Wishing You a FEEL GOOD Weekend!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

U.S. Geological Survey to Crowd-Source the Nation

Based on review of data collected during a 10-month pilot project in Colorado, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has opted to expand nationwide a crowd-sourcing effort supporting The National Map. Coming as no surprise to individuals associated with similar efforts such as Open Street Map, the quality of structures information collected during the pilot program exceeded USGS's own standards. Going forward, plans call for three phases of expansion, with 17 additional states joining Colorado in the first phase. More below:

(USGS News Release, April 1, 2013)

Comment: Since 2009, Minnesota has had its own crowd-sourcing project focused on the Emergency Service Sector. Visit the home page of the Minnesota Structures Collaborative to find out more.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The "Bat-Man" Firefighting Helmet

As a prototype, it's hard to believe the helmet above may one day help firefighters navigate in the blinding smoke of a fire. But, with refinement and component miniaturization, researchers at the U.K.'s University of Sheffield Centre for Robotics (SCentRo) very well may have hit a home run when it comes to solving an age old safety issue. Sensors around the outside of the helmet can "see" through dark and smoke. That information is then provided to the firefighter via vibrating pads inside the helmet. Intensity of vibrations denotes proximity to objects. More below:

(redOrbit, March 30, 2013)

CommentVery cool. In fact, I want one! So, I don't think the folks at SCentRo will need to look very hard before finding someone who will help them bring this product to market.  

Lead photogizmag.com

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

California's Geoportal

On March 28, 2013, California became the first state in the nation to launch a collaborative interactive portal for geospatial information that follows the model of what the Federal Geographic Data Committee did approximately 18 months ago with its Geospatial Platform initiative. Within California's Geoportal, users can search for data resources, or work within a map interface where selected data can be displayed as layers. Although the portal is primarily focused on California, numerous Federal and surrounding State layers are also included. Additionally, this project of the California Technology Agency, contains significant amounts of data that would be of value to Emergency Services Sector efforts like wildfire response and earthquake recovery. Use the links below for more (video is 4:41):

(State of California Technology Agency News Release, March 28, 2013)

Comment: Minnesota's past efforts along these lines include two excellent data websites: MnGeo's Minnesota Geographic Data Clearinghouse, and the MnDNR's Data Deli.  However, unique to this California effort is the online mapping interface which promotes discovery of a broad range of geospatial information by non-GIS types. Nice!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Open Source Comes to the Criminal Justice System

The states of Hawaii, Maine and Vermont have come together to form the Open Justice Broker Consortium (OJBC), a collaborative effort to develop open source software that supports various criminal justice functions. With Hawaii leading the way because of its past efforts to save money by avoiding high priced proprietary software for tasks that have value to multiple state agencies, other states took notice when the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center (HCJDC) took aim on data needs that are nearly identical from state-to-state, such as incident reports and offender tracking. Now, out of discussions with Maine and Vermont, comes the OJBC, which envisions a collaborative process going forward which will use open source software to expand upon HCJDC original efforts. Additional states may soon join the OJBC. More below:

(Government Technology, March 27, 2013)

Comment: Did somebody say "Open Source Software" and "Government Save Money"?  In that case, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the FREE and OPEN SOURCE Software For Geospatial - North America (FOSS4G-NA) Conference (and sister events) will be taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 21-25. Includes a FREE "bring your boss day", on May 24th!  Go here: foss4g-na.org/.

Lead graphic: opensource.org

Friday, April 5, 2013

Failed Friday: Apple Maps, Reef Recap, Map Knowledge, Keyless Locks, and U.S. Border

After reviewing the test scores from the Mrs. Snodgrass test of last Friday, I've decided this week it would be appropriate if we had a FAILED Friday. Catch my drift? However, I realize that some of you out there might be a little touchy about delivery of that kind of news, so, to make you feel better, I thought this week I would offer a review of the competition. You are not alone.

The Worm In Apple: I've beat this issue to death. But, Apple found out the hard way. When it comes to mapping, for certain, bad data in, is going to be bad data out. Now, in an attempt to right the Apple sinking ship called Maps, Apple is looking for ground truth on the local level. If you need a job, you can find one below:

(PadGadet.com, March 27, 2013)

Speaking of Sinking Ships: Sorry, but I'm transfixed by this event. I can't stay away. So, ever so often, I have to sneak a peek. However, given recent developments, I've got to say I think we're at the end of the line for this navigation chart error story.

(CNN, March 27, 2013)

Get a Clue: OK, here's the deal: I fly around the world in an aircraft equipped with three inertial measurement units, integrated GPS, and multiple flight management computers that are constantly cross-checking calculated position against an electronic database of navigation points that has been checked multiple times prior to being published.  And, all that is taking place in an environment where for the vast majority of the time, a ground controller can see the aircraft's position on radar. However, in the cockpit you will still find maps! Against that frame of reference, find below stories about individuals who apparently believe that if a GPS tells them to do something, it has to be right:

(March 14, 2013)

Oh, Oh!: When the police are scratching their heads trying to figure out how the bad guys are doing something, that's a bad thing. Hopefully, you don't own a car with keyless locks.....

(CBS Los Angeles, April 4, 2013)

VADER Lives!: Unfortunately, it has taken use of a system developed to look for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to figure out that the U.S.-Mexican border is a sieve. News from the Vehicle Dismount and Exploitation Radar (VADER) is not good:

(LA Times, April 3, 2013)

Photo/Graphic Credits:
  • Speaking of Sinking Ships: CNN
  • Get a Clue: ABC News, GPS Astray: Lost in Death Valley
  • VADER Lives: LA Times

Truly Hope You Have a Fabulous and Failure Free Weekend!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Use FloodSmart to Get Ready for This Year's Floods

As circumstances currently appear to be unfolding along the Red River of the North, sister cities Moorhead, Minnesota, and Fargo, North Dakota, will be facing another spring of record high water.  Although the winter's accumulated snow fall has been about average, a thaw significantly delayed by unusually cool weather has put area residents on edge. Models are now calling for a potential crest that will be fourth highest on record. Consequently, sand-bagging efforts are underway in hopes of keeping the Red River "mostly" in its banks.

The flooding scenario related above, is just one of many that communities across the nation will be facing in the coming year. Knowing what that means on a personal level, including how to obtain insurance, how to prepare for the event, and what to do if water should come lapping at the door, can all be learned through review of FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) FloodSmart.gov web site. Included for many locations are recently updated Flood Maps.

For more details on the items above, use the links below:

(New York Times, April 3, 2013) 

(FEMA's NFIP Website)

Comment: Later this month, FEMA is also expected to release Preliminary Flood Hazard Data for communities across the Nation. Look for that information on FEMA's Map Service Center (MSC).

Lead photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tablets, Apps, and Emergency Management

Across the nation, more and more Emergency Managers are getting on board with the Geospatial Revolution as the result of another revolution - the one that has brought tablets and apps into everyday mainstream use. Through the incredible computing power, storage capability, and high speed connectivity now possible with these mobile devices, decision makers, as well as responders, are able to have at their fingertips resources previously only imagined. GPS location, up-to-date weather maps, reference manuals and standard reporting forms are just a few examples. Emergency Management Magazine reports below:

(Emergency Management Magazine, March 21, 2013)

Comment: If you are an Emergency Manager and think you can ignore this revolution, that would be about the same as King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette ignoring the French Revolution.

Photo credit: USA Today

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Google Street View Enters Fukushima Evacuation Zone

When I opened up a copy of the Japan Times last Friday, I was greeted by the following lead story: "Google Gives Glimpse Inside No-go Zone". Similarly, other major news outlets and tech focused blogs have picked up on this story about the ability for anyone with access to the Internet, to take a tour of a town left vacant by the one-two punch of the March 2011 Japan Earthquake/Tsunami and melt down of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Number One. Related articles and a way for you to join the tour, can be found below:

(Japan Times, March 26, 2013)

(Japan Times, March 29, 2013)

View Larger Map

Comment: Couple of thoughts:

  1. Here is a clear cut example of what is possible when it comes to information gathering about a disaster. When remote sensing like this is collected by robots, the data fed is in real time, and distribution is available to the public, the future will be here. Can you say: Privately owned Drones? Another communications management issue the Emergency Management sector will need to be prepared for or the Katrina PR debacle is certain to be repeated. 
  2. As shown by the map in the "Nuclear Evacuation Zone Revised in Fukushima’s Tomioka" article - contamination zones from nuclear incidents aren't perfect circles that expand out from the point of incident. Think about that one next time someone tries to show you zones of potential impact for location X.

Monday, April 1, 2013

NAPSG Online Training Session: DHS Geospatial Infrastructure and FGDC Geospatial Platform

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (NAPSG), will be offering an online training session on: DHS Geospatial Infrastructure (GII) and FGDC Geospatial Platform, next Wednesday, April 10, at 2 PM EDT. The training highlights will include discussions on current capabilities, future roadmap, and data interoperability. As with all NAPSG events, this training is offered at no cost to public safety officials. Here are the bulleted details:

  • Webinar Title: DHS Geospatial Infrastructure and FGDC Geospatial Platform
  • Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
  • Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT (1:00 PM-2:00 PM Central)
  • Cost: Free - but space is limited, so register early
  • More details: Click here
  • To Add to CalendarClick here

(Login details are provided during registration)

Comment: As anyone knows who has read this blog for more than a month or so, I have lots of issues with the DHS/HIFLD/HSIP top-down approach of data collection run by contractors (i.e., see: DHS Geospatial Update PPT, this blog).  That being said, there is real value in a federated approach that helps define national geospatial needs and sets in motion a process - even if it is one that still needs major torquing. Consequently, I would strongly encourage you to attend this webinar if you are able to do so. There are lots of good people involved, and they have brought the Federal suite of geospatial products supporting the Emergency Services Sector a LONG way from where things started.