Friday, June 28, 2013

Frantic Friday

Don't you hate it when you find yourself in one of those Groundhog Day scenarios where no matter what you do, circumstances play out in a way you have seen before - to an outcome that's not good? That's exactly how I feel midway through the year. The geospatial and related technologies revolution is generating crazy stories quicker than I can unload them.  Basically, I'm frantic in the editing room as I watch the pile of nonsense grow higher with me knowing full well I'll never be able to use the whole stack. The only thing I can do is  - dispense the stories that have made the cut for this week:

Drone Fishing: Recently one of my partners in crime suggested that the two of us should build a drone that can be used for fishing. Something that can "air-troll" a bait though Minnesota waters. I told him that while I thought it was a great idea, I would first need to do a little meditative dance with a couple of my drone friends before I could commit to such a plan:

(USNews, May 15, 2013)

Show Me the Money: Speaking of "gone fishing", looks like Vermont Public Radio (VPR) has figured out how to map the money of a disaster. First one examined in this experiment in governmental transparency: FEMA. Given this type of map is one of those of things politicians love, I'm guessing this won't be the last time a disaster map like this is produced.

(VPR, June 13, 2013)

More Hot Air From Google: OK, so I got the story wrong. Google isn't going to do the tethered balloon thing to provide Internet for places on earth that currently don't have it. Instead, they are going to launch fleets of balloons into the stratosphere so they can drift around the globe on their own. I'm just guessing, but I'll bet commercial airline pilots would like the first plan better.

(NBCNews, June 15, 2013)

Smartphone in Space: Turns out Google isn't the only one trying to figure out how to use the higher ground more efficiently. In early May NASA released a series of pictures taken from a trio of $3500 satellites which were equipped with nothing more than smartphone cameras. I knew budgets were tight - but not that tight:

(PetaPixel, May 4, 2013)

Calling All Indiana Jones's: The lost Temple of Doom has been found using LiDAR. So all you Indiana Jones types out there better get with the program or get left behind when it comes to looking for treasure:

(Sydney Morning Herald, June 15, 2013)

Here's Hoping Your Weekend and Coming July 4th Holiday are Something to be Treasured

Lead photo: April King, donated to wikimedia commons

Thursday, June 27, 2013

GeoMOOSE - The Open Source - Common Operating Picture Software

Yesterday's post pointed out there is a growing body of Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) that can be used for disaster preparedness and response. One such program is GeoMOOSE, which came into being in 2004 as a way for the City of St. Paul to visually monitor and keep track of its robust Public Works infrastructure. Released as Open Source software in 2006, it was subsequently used to create the nation's first local Common Operating Picture (COP) used during a National Special Security Event (NSSE) - the Republican National Convention in 2008. Capable of displaying 100's of layers of data and images as controlled and provided by the data owners in near real-time, it is currently in use by numerous units of state and local government, as well as some small businesses and national governments. In April 2013, GeoMOOSE became one of only 19 software programs officially sanctioned by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), the worldwide FOSS4G governing body. GeoMOOSE example sites can be found below (the internal St. Paul site is now displaying over 300 layers):

Comment: It's absolutely FREE, at least four different vendors can provide support if needed, the cursor's running position is shown in formats which include U.S. National Grid (viewing area lower border bar), a version with an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) capability has recently been developed, and did I mention, it's absolutely FREE? What is there to not like about that!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Which GIS for Disasters?

Late last month, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), the humanitarian news and analysis a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, published an article which examines the growing interest in using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for managing disasters. Central to that discussion is the idea that in a growing number of instances, FOSS applications are comparable and sometimes exceed the capabilities of products by major commercial vendors. Conversely, major commercial vendors currently hold the advantage when it comes to product support. As such, public safety officials need to think about how to create the correct mix of products to deliver effective mission support, and not just assume one solution or the other will always be better.  More below:

(IRIN, May 30, 2013)

Comment: Undoubtedly the most heavily used FOSS for Geospatial (FOSS4G) product in the world is MapServer - developed by Steve Lime while in the Masters program at the University of Minnesota. Recently, a second Minnesota-developed FOSS4G product joined MapServer as one of only 19 software products officially sanctioned for worldwide use by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. It's called GeoMOOSE - more tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

USNG Implementation Guide Webinar

For the better part of a year, a select group of volunteers from the Emergency Services Sector (ESS) and GIS communities have been hard at work on developing an implementation guide that can be used to help interested individuals and communities take steps to incorporate U.S. National Grid (USNG) referencing in their operations. A webinar that explains this ongoing effort and expands upon information in the guide will be hosted by the National Alliance of Public Safety GIS on July 18. The intent of the guide is as follows: 
The guide is not a technical tool, rather it's intended to serve as a launching point for any agency that wants to understand the basics and benefits of USNG. The guide was developed by practitioners who are currently using USNG, so it reflects many years' experience in deploying this important tool.
Here are the event details:
  • Date: Thursday, July 18, 2013
  • Time: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM EDT (11:30 PM-12:30 PM Central)
  • Cost: Free - but space is limited, so register early
  • More details: Click here
  • Add to Calendar: Click here

(Login details will be provided at a later date)

Comment: One of the individuals who has been extensively involved in the drafting of this document is Randy Knippel, GIS Manager of Dakota County, Minnesota, and long time advocate of leveraging GIS to facilitate disaster response.  Great job - Randy! Looking forward to the presentation.

Monday, June 24, 2013

EPC Updates is Two-Years-Old

Dear Reader,

Yesterday, EPC Updates celebrated its 2nd birthday. With that thought in mind, today I am writing to ask your help so EPC Updates will see its 3rd birthday. The help I am requesting is a donation to the federally recognized 501 (c) 3 nonprofit that makes EPC Updates possible: SharedGeo.  
  • Any amount you contribute will be greatly appreciated (as little as $10 can go a long way), and
  • You will receive a receipt that makes your donation tax deductible.
If you are able to do so, please use the donation button below to help SharedGeo keep EPC Updates online for another year (and do a whole bunch of other cool things in support of the common good).


Donate Now

Friday, June 21, 2013

Flathead Friday - Lots of Flat Things

Some of the more curious inhabitants of the land of OZ are the Flatheads. Humanoids with flatheads, and no craniums or foreheads. Consequently, they are forced to carry their brains around in cans, which are, of course, subject to theft. Sort of reminds me of rushing around getting ready to leave on my latest trip. "Ah, anybody seen my brain?" Hey, maybe that's how that Sir Walter Raleigh joke got started many years ago. You know: "Do you have Sir Walter Raleigh in a can?" Never mind kids, it's all before your time. However, the stuff below is in the category of "current events".

Flattening Everything: The tragic series of tornadoes that visited the state of Oklahoma in May 2013 achieved notoriety on the last pass through the state of the Sooners - the El Reno twister was the widest ever recorded and packed winds of an amazing 300 MPH. More below:

(AP, June 4, 2013)

Flat Out Fast: Hard to know whether the speed of this deal or the capabilities it gives drivers is faster. See below for Google throwing around a few coins from their spare change jar:

Who Changes the Flat?: OK, great. So the U.S. DOT issues its first endorsement for the testing of driverless cars. I have just one question to ask about the day when all these robotic gizmos with four wheels are whizzing around without anyone behind the wheel. Does the rider always have to change the flat?

(New York Times, May 31, 2013)

Flat-lined Drivers: Yipity-yapping at the kids is bad enough. "Don't make me pull over this car!" But what the heck are you going to do when your car talks back, or won't do what you tell it to do? Big problem that looks like it could land you in the hospital:

(New York Times, June 12, 2013)

The Earth is Not Flat: If it was, it sure would solve all sorts of navigation problems. But since it isn't, the technology prowess that put the first satellite, man, and woman into space (deduct 10,000 points from your IQ score if you think the answer is the USA), has figured out how to put the world on the inside of a motorcycle helmet. Video and link below tell the story:

Here's Hoping Your Weekend is Anything But Flat!

Lead graphic: wikipedia
Flat Out Fast: WAZE
The Earth is Not Flat: LiveMap

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A View From Above: Blimp Imagery for Disasters

Today's post is about technology that has come full circle. The first aerial images of landscapes were taken from hot air balloons. Now, after nearly a century of using airplanes to do the job, serious efforts are underway to develop lighter-than-air platforms that will once again offer views from above.  However, this time the lens will be focused on disasters. 

Find below two related links: 

  1. Click the link immediately below the image to view a full screen view of an example site - then use your mouse to pull the scenery through 360 degrees.  
  2. The second link is to details of the story.

APDER Example View

Quick and in 3D: High-resolution Aerial Photos for Disaster Response and Recovery
(Sensors and Systems, May 28, 2013)

Comment: Although I've covered this topic before, huge kudos to Aerial Photography in Disasters Emergencies and Recovery (APDER) for rolling up their sleeves and actually turning a concept into reality. One word of caution though. Conquering technical hurdles to make something like this a reality and conquering administrative hurdles are two entirely different things. Example: It's hard to believe, but one of the greatest challenges the response community faced during Katrina was the shear randomness of aerial SAR efforts. Some sectors were searched multiple times, others not at all. Why? No one was in "tactical" charge of the airspace. While that may sound funny on its face, it's the reality of wholesale collapse of government. The FAA will set boundaries that define an operating area for a disaster response and limit who can operate in that airspace, BUT they do not have a tactical control function ("search sector X") when it comes to tasking and routing of traffic inside that area. As circumstances dictate, various other entities will be responsible for that function.  Consequently, while putting up an observation balloon may be relatively easy from the technical standpoint, the hoop jumping required to  "legally" be there and appropriately incorporated into the official air plan may be much more complicated. For details on this issue, go here: FAA Airspace Management Plan for Disasters.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some Thoughts About ICS, USNG and SAR - From a Florida Firefighter

I recently received an email about a SAR effort in Florida. I believe the writer's comments stand on their own:
The last few years all of us have been advocates for a couple things; the Incident Command System as well as the US National Grid. So I wanted to share.
On or around May 18th an elderly gentleman with medical problems including Alzheimer’s wandered away from his residence here in Jacksonville Florida.
Law enforcement proceeded to conduct neighborhood searches over the next couple days with no luck.
On or around May 20th it was decided to use the Incident Command System and involve more agencies than just Law Enforcement to not only search but support the entire operation.
Jacksonville Fire Rescue including emergency management and USAR Florida Task Force 5 members were organized under the Incident Command System along with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the search area was gridded out using the US National Grid.
USAR search teams located the missing person alive but disoriented on May 21st in a wooded area a couple miles from his home.
Today I had a chance to meet with members of the team that actually located this gentleman and I posed this question to them:
Did the well trained search team members save this gentleman’s life or did the process? The process which of course included a JSO led Multi-Agency Incident Management team; which put a system in place to support, manage and organize the search using ICS principles and a common operational grid... that not only USAR team members but GIS professionals in the Sheriff’s Office as well as some of their supervisory staff had been trained in.
Their answer was both deserve the credit, well trained searchers, fully supported by an Incident Management Team using a common operational grid saved this man’s life.
Often as Instructors, mentors, advocates, planners etc., we lose sight of how important what we do is.

This should again demonstrate that having a plan, training on that plan and then exercising that plan puts all the pieces together when necessary. It is also an opportunity to remind folks that Incident Management Teams are not just for “MAJOR” incidents and the process works for any type of incident and event.
So whether you are a Director at FEMA, a US National Grid Advocate, an Instructor, an ICS disciple or a person that writes, evaluates or exercises emergency plans...each of us hold an important piece of the overall puzzle.
So … “Head down; horns forward”
Thank you for all that each of you do on a daily basis,
Captain Bruce A. Scott, RPM FPEM
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department
Emergency Preparedness Division

Comment: Got ICS? Then the next thing you need to ask is: Got Grid?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NEWS FLASH: FEMA Proposes Position Qualification Standards for GIS Personnel!

Last time I devoted space to this issue, I was crying because FEMA had failed to consider the geospatial community when developing the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Guidelines for the Credentialing of Personnel. Now, I'm crying tears of joy. At long last, FEMA through the National Integration Center (NIC), is for the first time proposing position qualification standards for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) personnel who are participating in a disaster as either an individual or part of a team. Details were released Monday, June 17, 2013. Comments about these standards must be received by June 28, 2013. To review the position descriptions and offer comment, use the links below:

Links below updated February 27, 2014
  1. GIS Analyst (PDF)
  2. GIS Supervisor (PDF)
  3. GIS Team Leader (PDF)
  4. GIS Field Data Entry Technician (PDF)
Comment Form used to respond for National Engagement (XLSX, PDF)
Announcement Document: NIMS Alert 05-13

Comment: Oh, happy days!  At least two biggies out of this: 
  1. Geospatial support just became a reimbursable activity during Federally declared disasters, and
  2. Working knowledge of the U.S. National Grid is now a defined standard of performance for geospatial personnel!
Who do I send the flowers to in Washington, DC?

Monday, June 17, 2013

2013 Wildfire Information Resources

As noted on this blog in January, experts have been warning since early this year environmental conditions were right to make 2013 a bad year for wildfires. Unfortunately, that prediction proved correct in California in early May, and has now been reaffirmed in Colorado this past week. In an effort to help mitigate and manage wildfire risk for those in need going forward, find below some wildfire information resources:

Dynamic Maps for the Public:

Posts Previously Published on EPC Updates:

Comment: As was the case in both California and Colorado, the impact of a wildfire is amplified when it burns along the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), thereby taking out 100's of homes in the process. Consequently, anything WUI communities can do to ensure they have immediate access to experienced firefighting crews who understand the dynamics of this unique operational space, will go a long way toward reducing loss of life and property when a wildland fire occurs (example: outer suburbs of the Twin Cities).

Photo credit:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flummoxed Friday: Cat Cameras, Internet Balloons, Graffiti Drone, WiSee You, and Navigate Your Way Out of This

The worst thing about Friday - there so many stories of geospatial insanity that it's hard to figure out which ones should make the blotter for the week. In fact, the situation leaves me feeling like one of those folks in Washington, DC trying to explain their way out of the latest revelation: flummoxed (attention Scrabble players - 24 points!). That's also the experience I've had every time I've picked up a copy of MAD magazine since I was about 10 years old. Dazed, confused and a little bit nuttier than I was just a few minutes before. I'm not alone:

Cat Cameras: In the more money and time than brains category, apparently the BBC has enough spare cash that it can hand out GPS cameras to cats who then record their travels and shenanigans for the British broadcasting giant. Best of all, the adventures of Puss'n Boots (and cohorts) has apparently been a TV ratings hit. Really? Really!

(MailOnline, June 12, 2013)

Internet Balloons: Hey Google - get your own ideas. Using a blimp to provide the Internet in places without infrastructure; who would think of such a thing?

(Fox News, May 28, 2013)

Graffiti Drone: Meanwhile, over at the train station, Hans and Franz have hatched a plan to catch football hooligans and other malcontents red-handed in the act of defacing German state property. It's a high flying plan with plenty of places to crash:

WiSee You: Last time anybody said anything to me about doppler, I was flying along at 420 knots per hour, 500' above the ground in a high rising night. Something about when the only thing you have left to compute your navigation solution is the concept of a train whistle approaching and departing a location along some theoretical railroad tracks, things aren't good. I'm thinking the one below is probably in the same category:

(NBC News, June 4, 2013)

Navigate Your Way Out of This: OK, this week's wrap up item is about some dude named Mercator. Who, and why, would anyone in their right mind put their name on a map where nothing looks right?  That's very, very puzzling.  In fact, it's so puzzling, it could take an entire weekend to figure out: 

I Truly Hope You Can Figure Out How to Have a Great Weekend!

Lead graphic: MAD Magazine
Cat Cameras: MailOnline

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Emergency Journalism

Ever so often I come across a website that knocks my socks off.  Such was the case when I stumbled on Emergency Journalism. As described on its website, Emergency Journalism is an "initiative by the European Journalism Centre (EJC) that brings together relevant news and resources for media professionals reporting in volatile situations. The website focuses on tools that use up-to-date digital technology, including content curation tools to multi-layered live maps, and support media coverage of emergencies such as natural disasters and political conflicts."  Although it is an extensive site with an amazing range of information, of particular interest is its catalog of "News Gathering Tools". 20 such tools are listed - with some like Geofeedia, and HealthMap, indicative of 24 hour news that is becoming an increasingly location driven product. Use the links below to check out the site:

Comment: A core piece of any major disaster response is public relations. Consequently, kudos go out to the EJC for pulling together in one place the social media, news, and mapping tools that deliver the public's understanding of developments. That combination creates an information flow valuable to Common Operating Platforms, and for anticipating victim's physical and informational needs. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NEW USFA Course: Emerging Uses for GIS in the Fire Service

The U.S. Fire Administration recently announced five "pilot" courses that will be used to hone delivery of future versions. Of special interest to readers of this blog, the offerings include: Emerging Uses for GIS in the Fire Service (P0512).  The two day course will be conducted at Emmitsburg, MD. Here are the details:

Curriculum: Planning & Information Management
The course provides a foundation for implementing geospatial technologies in a local emergency service agency. The value, application, and use of geospatial technologies in emergency services and the fundamental skills required for basic implementation will be addressed.
The purpose of this course is to explain the application of GIS to the fire service, within the context of planning, mitigation, response and recovery. GIS can be applied to each of the phases of crisis management and whole community planning. It may also be structured for day-to day uses. 

Course Date, Location, Availability   
  • Dates: July 13, 14
  • Location: Emmitsburg, MD
  • Vacancies: Yes

 Selection Criteria 
  • Responders with skills and knowledge of company level operations;
  • Department members currently seeking to implement geospatial technologies; and
  • Instructors or training officers responsible for conducting awareness level geospatial training.
 Prerequisites/Post Course
  • There are no ACE recommendations, NFPA standards, or student pre-course materials associated with this course
  • There are currently no CEU's or post-course requirements
To Apply

Training conducted at Emmitsburg, MD, is normally free - including all travel expenses to/from Emmitsburg, as well as lodging. Students are only expected to pay personal costs and a nominal fee for meals. However, this course is being taught during a state weekend. Please check with the course training specialist to verify which costs will be covered for your circumstances.

Here's the course reference web page:

Comment: Bad on me for not posting information on this one earlier. The world famous Talbot Brooks and his merry band of firefighting GISers will deliver this course. Expect a second offering in August for those who are unable to attend during July. Also, it is anticipated the course will eventually become available for local delivery.

Image credit: Chris S. Geiger

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Next Generation 9-1-1 Guide for Law Enforcement

As reported in a recent edition of the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) InfoGram, the National 911 Program Office has developed a new guide to "give law enforcement agencies a better understanding of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) and how to plan moving from an analog system to NG9-1-1."  Mindful that law enforcement agencies operate the majority of 9-1-1 centers in the nation, the guide has been specifically designed to help these types of agencies during the initial phases of a transition. Additionally, 
The guide discusses the complicated issue of funding a new system, illustrates how NG9-1-1 enhances departmental operations, showcases departments who have already converted to NG9-1-1, and describes how it may change departmental response to various incidents for the better.

According to the Department of Transportation NG9-1-1 page, “The overall system architecture has essentially not changed since the first 9-1-1 call was made in 1968.” Growing use of mobile technology, internet phones, text messaging, and the public’s increasingly mobile lifestyle means 9-1-1 systems need to be able to receive communications from more diverse means and be able to pinpoint locations of calls.

Upgrading current 9-1-1 systems to be able to handle information coming from newer technologies helps meet the changing needs of the population and increases capabilities for first responders.

Find the guide below:

Comment: The backbone of NG 9-1-1 is geospatial information.  Indeed, it won't work without accurate GIS data sets.  For more on that thought, nationally recognized 9-1-1 expert, Gordon Chinander, of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Emergency Services Board, and Jackie Mines, Director, Division of Emergency Communication Networks, Department of Public Safety, State of Minnesota, provide insight in a short article they published in 2009. Click here to read.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Privacy and Geographic Data

As most of us are aware, over the past week a firestorm of controversy has erupted on the backside of allegations the U.S. government has put in place a "big data" system to harvest and store personal data collected from a variety of sources that includes emails, phone calls, and other forms of electronic communication (PRISM). The reaction on both ends of the political spectrum has been largely the same - stunned and angry. Sadly, it's behavior indicative of a population that has been lulled asleep by The Kardashians, HD sports, and the latest high tech gadget. Reality is - there have been more than enough clues in the popular press since 9/11 that anyone paying attention should have had an inkling where things were headed without needing to review a Top Secret Power Point. In a war where the enemy is already inside the walls of Fort USA, didn't anyone think:

Apparently not. Instead, the nation now finds itself in a Mell of Hess. A raw, open discussion about privacy rights and technology that is certain to be tainted by a 29-year-old "whistleblower's" serious violations of Federal law. Not to mention it will take place in front of our enemies - individuals who are adept at using the systems being discussed in efforts to bring harm to us all. 

Unfortunately, it's hard to see how anything good is going to come of all this. That's because the same inability to focus on the core issue and resolve it before we got to where we now find ourselves, is certain to permeate the dialogue going forward. Seemingly, two very real issues will square off. On one side it will be about the inherent right to personal privacy in America. On the other, it will be about limited commercial data storage capabilities and the need to forensically understand information flows in order to stop acts of evil. Worthwhile points of discussion, but all the while missing the core issue: This is just the tip of the iceberg of problems that are going to come forward if we don't quickly move to align our nation's laws with the reality of the technology revolution taking place all around us. And nowhere is that more true than with the Geospatial Revolution.      

For readers of this blog, that last thought is the proverbial "beating the dead horse". It's a topic that has been addressed here ad nauseam. So much so, to bring this post to a conclusion, I've decided to offer an opportunity to hear that idea from another source. As such, I now direct your attention to the thoughtful comments of Geoff Zeiss - available using the link below. Taken together with my comments above, I believe they will provide plenty of food for thought as the PRISM issue plays out in the coming months.
(Between the Poles Blog, May 6, 2013)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Final Friday

Yup, it's that time. Finals. The last hurdle before wandering out the door for a fun-filled and care-free summer. An examine you know has been coming, but you've waited until the last minute to crack the books for (if at all). So, I'll dispense mercy. It will be open book - but you'll have to dig for some answers, in the answers provided. And with feet are up on the desk, I'm tilted back in my chair with stop watch in hand. You get 45 minutes to show the world you've been paying attention during the past school year. Go!

1.  What does the acronym WUI stand for?  Answer

2.  Why are established institutions slow to adopt new technologies?  Answer

3.  Do Google, Apple and others censor the imagery they provide online?  Answer

4.  In October of last year, an Italian court convicted a group scientists for failing to predict what?  Answer

5.  What nonprofit organization set up a crowd sourcing system to prescreen damage assessment imagery in support of FEMA's Sandy response?  Answer

6.  What does the term ALPR stand for?  Answer

7.  Name the company that is facing 350+ lawsuits worth potentially billions of dollars for having bad GIS data?  Answer

8.  Within the last year, the FEMA GeoPortal Development Team has won two awards. One of them was the ESRI Making a Difference Award. What was the other?  Answer

9.  The acronym FOSS4G means what?  Answer

10. What is a Minnesota Marker?  Answer

11. Name the organization that sponsors: Public Safety Interface of the GIS Inventory.  Answer

12. What is Geomedicine, and why is it important?  Answer

13. The U.S. has had an operational Global Positioning System (GPS) in place since 1994. How many other countries or regions of the world are in the process of deploying their own systems? Answer

14. Who or what is NAPSG?  Answer

15. Critics of crowd sourced geospatial information claim the accuracy of data submitted by volunteers can't be trusted. Tests of data submitted during a pilot project in what state led the USGS to create a nationwide crowd sourcing program for The National Map?  Answer

16. What event is now considered by many to be the first major crime solved by social media? Answer

17. Why is the ability to determine location of indoor cell phone calls so important?  Answer

18. An Iowa Sheriff sitting on a national steering committee recently claimed impropriety in committee activities. What very important system is the committee overseeing development of?  Answer

19. There are how many National Planning Frameworks?  Answer

20. Getting the Emergency Services Sector to adopt the U.S. National Grid has been described as being like what event?  Answer

Time's up!  After you turn in your blue exam booklet....

Have a Great Weekend (and Summer)!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Observations About Security at Large Events

The June 2013 edition of Geo International offers an article about actions communities can take to enhance security when hosting large events. Written by Kalyn Sims, Vice President, Safety Portfolio, Intergraph's Security, Government & Infrastructure subsidiary, the article develops two main themes in the aftermath of the Boston Bombings. First, points of consideration when buying equipment for everyday use so it's flexible enough to handle the occasional large event. Second, ways to deploy technologies so that data feeds "neck-down" to an appropriately configured Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and/or Common Operating Picture (COP) platform. More below:

(Geo International, June 2013)

Comment: Although this article reads somewhat like a checklist of things to do, it does provide an excellent overview and some great thoughts about a complex subject. The only point I would add to Ms. Sims's comments is one that makes me sound like a broken record. Technical specifications for Next Generation 911 mean future CAD systems must be able to handle location information in three formats: street address, latitude/longitude, and - you guessed it - U.S. National Grid. Consequently, make sure any new CAD system you buy includes a USNG capability up front or you will have to pay for it later!