Monday, September 15, 2014

EPC Updates Off-LIne This Week

EPC Updates will remain off-line the week of September 22nd due to unanticipated personal circumstances.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fire Hydrants to the Rescue

Realizing the lowly fire hydrant is one of the few things that can survive a disaster intact, the University of Missouri Extension has come up with a plan to leverage that circumstance for response purposes. Read below:

(University of Missouri Extension, August 27, 2014)

Taking the story above one step further, a firefighter in Florida has an idea about how to maximize the value of such efforts:

(USNG Florida)

Comment: Got Grid?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

American Public Unplugged From Indoor Cell Phone Tracking Reality

If there was ever proof positive there is a disconnect between the public's belief's about what cell phone tracking technology can do, and reality, the latest survey by the Find Me 911 Coalition is it. 66% of survey respondents errantly believe a cell phone when used inside a building can provide location information sufficiently accurate to bring an emergency response to the correct address. According to Jamie Barnett, Director of the Find Me 911 Coalition and former Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, “Unfortunately, the carriers have chosen cheaper, less-effective location technologies, and people are dying because emergency responders can’t find them."  Details below:

(GPS World, 26 August 2014)

Comment: With each passing year, more and more Americans have unplugged their hard wired phone and have come to rely on a cell phone as their only phone, thereby increasing the significance of this reality gap over time. Kudos to the Find Me 911 Coalition for its efforts to bring this issue into the public's attention.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blimps Over Baltimore

We've been tuned into this story for the past couple of years. Now, what were once conceptual discussions about using lighter-than-air craft to protect the nation's capital and surrounding East Coast cities, has become approaching reality. Later this year two JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System) aerostats will be sent aloft from the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, and privacy watchdogs are not happy.

(Washington Post, September 3, 2014)

Comment: The privacy issue has bubbled to the top as predicted, and my opinion about that circumstance remains unchanged.  See: 

(EPC Updates, July 29, 2013)

Photo credit: U.S. Army

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Friday Top Five: July 2014

Hard to believe isn't it? The kids are already back in school and once again it's the first Friday of the month. Which means winter is just around the corner (at least in Minnesota) and it's time to review the top five posts for the month that's two back. So while you are taking a gander at the suggested reading list, I'll be making sure my snow-blower is still working after having three months off....

1. ) DoD to Use Open Source Mapping for Humanitarian Crisis Response Missions, July 28

Here's Hoping Your Weekend Is a Fun Filled Recess From Work!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

FEMA Disaster Reporter

According to the home page for FEMA's crowd sourcing app Disaster Reporter: 
The purpose of the FEMA Disaster Reporter is to crowdsource and share disaster-related information for events occurring within the United States, allowing citizens, first responders, emergency managers, community response & recovery teams, and others to view and contribute information on a publicly accessible map.
To check it out, use the link below:

Comment: Kudos to FEMA for making this app available. Hopefully, as time goes forward app use will increase substantially beyond the current "All Time" number of mapped reports shown above.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

APCO Panel Warns About GIS Ignorance Ahead of Next Generation

According to a panel at the recent Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) national conference, 911 professionals are typically lacking in their understanding of GIS. With older E9-1-1 systems that circumstance was tolerable. However, with cut over to NG9-1-1 systems, there are going to be big problems ahead. 

(Urgent Communications, September 2, 2014)

Comment: Everywhere you go, there I am. GIS, that is.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Disasters and Emergencies: Lessons Learned from CIOs

The caption under this story's lead photo says it all:
For Orange County, Fla., CIO Rafael Mena, who has more experience responding to hurricanes than many, he learned not to underestimate the importance of GIS -- a tool that helps officials see what’s happening even if they’re confined to an emergency operations center.
For more, see the link below:

(Government Technology, August 29, 2014)

Comment: This is a great article that drives home the point disaster preparedness requires a unique way of thinking about things. Three key take aways:

  1. When a disaster hits, its too late to "get prepared".
  2. Relationships you develop before a disaster are crucial to successfully managing the unexpected events that make a disaster, a disaster.
  3. Have a plan for ramping up operations using outside assets.