For many years Esri has provided assistance in the wake of disasters throughout the world. The support comes in many forms including software, data, hardware and people. Not only is it about Corporate Citizenship and helping our users but it gets to the very essence of Esri-making the world a better place through geography. We know that maps and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology can make a difference in saving lives, reducing impact, and expediting restoration. The mission of the Esri Disaster Response Program is to support our users, our partners, and Esri personnel who respond to disasters worldwide.
How does Esri support these individuals? Well, there are many people involved behind the scenes when an incident happens all working to help the response effort. Some of the different ways in which Esri personnel support the response includes:
- Coordinate requests for assistance and make sure they are met
- Contact our users and make sure they are okay and they have what they need
- Process temporary licenses of software and ship media as needed
- Collect and provide pointers to relevant data sources
- Coordinate offers of assistance and support from our business partners
- Travel to the incident in order to support the response effort
- Stand-up and provide round the clock technical support as needed
- Build and update web mapping applications that help provide situational awareness
- Provide updates and information on our website about each incident
Recent software advances have resulted in ArcGIS becoming easier, faster, and more powerful-all of which are critical for support in any disaster. We have increased the presence of live maps on Esri.com including more disaster specific applications such as the Latest News Map for example. There are several different types of applications and we’ll put them up on our website for several different reasons.
If the impact of a disaster is large enough on our planet and on our users, we will stand-up a website for the specific event. One of the main purposes of this is to give GIS personal assigned to the incident more information about the geography and nature of the incident by bringing in relevant data sources that provide context. We also include dynamic information from social media such as Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. Sometimes focused applications will be launched that include more detailed analytical tools and data that complement the available knowledge of an existing situation.
The main page for our disaster support is through this short URL-esri.com/disaster. From this link you can access several permanent disaster sites that are specific to reoccurring disasters such as:
We mentioned that if the impact is large enough, we stand-up websites to support them and our users. Here are a few examples of event specific sites that have been stood-up recently:
Some of the information from these applications and websites is of interest to the general public and news media. We have created a short link that indexes the active disasters which can be quickly referenced for information esri.com/news/maps/. Additionally you can see all of the maps we’ve produced over the last year-esri.com/news/maps/all.html.
How can you use Esri technology to support your own response efforts? Through our Public Safety Resource Center we provide a series of maps and applications for emergency management that may be used to stand-up a new capability quickly in response to an incident. These templates not only include an application that can be used as a starting point but also include an information model delivered through a geodatabase, and standard symbology for disaster response. All of these templates and resources are best practices that we have collected from our users who are subject matter experts in this area. The templates for emergency management include:
We hope you find this information and resources helpful. We hope you never have to use them for response but, when disaster strikes remember that the Esri Disaster Response Program is standing by to help!