Tag: Disaster Management

FREE Living Atlas Webinar! Critical Content for Disaster Response available in ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World

Satellite Imagery

Natural disasters have dramatically increased in frequency and intensity over the past couple of years. Esri has been there to offer GIS support and assistance before, during, and after significant emergencies and events. In this webinar Jeff Baranyi, Esri Public … Continue reading

Posted in ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, Health, Hydro, Imagery, Living Atlas, Local Government, Mapping, National Government, Oceans & Maritime, Portal for ArcGIS, Public Safety, risk assessment, State Government | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating a Presentation with Live Feeds


In this blog post we want to cover two new features of ArcGIS Online that go great together, presentation mode and live feeds.  With the July release, you can now create presentations with your web maps.  This is great way … Continue reading

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Empowering Action — New Tools for Crisis and Humanitarian Response

This week several members of our team attended the 3rd International Conference of
Crisis Mappers (ICCM)
that was held in Geneva, Switzerland and we were blown away by the turn out (Follow #ICCM on Twitter).  This community has grown substantially over the last 3 years – when we attended the first conference held in Cleveland, Ohio back in 2009 there were about 100 attendees.  Now there are more than 400 gathered here discussing crisis mapping and the challenges they face.  There are really 3 main things that we keep hearing as it relates to GIS and mapping: Continue reading

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Tools for Social Media

During the Emergency Management Special Interest Group (SIG) Meeting (sponsored by IBM) at the Esri International User Conference I gave a talk on Tools for Social Media.  Many of you were interested in the tools so I wanted to share the links via this blog.

Public Information Map

The first tool we talked about was the Public Information Map.  This application is something that we have developed over time to include live mapping in support of our Disaster Response Program website.  The Public Information Map is available as a template that you can download and configure.

There are many live examples of the Public Information Map that you can visit now with current information in support of our Disaster Response Program.  The Public Information Map Template has been configured for:

Also note that Jeff Archer (@vee_dubb) wrote a nice blog post on lessons learned applying this template.

Social Media Widget

Social Media is on a path to evolve to become another critical source of situational awareness just like weather.  A Social Media Widget has been developed to be able to bring in Social Media into command and control applications, such as the Common Operational Picture Template

Here is an example of the Social Media widget in action during the National Level Exercise we tracked the Commonwealth of Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Public Information Officer as she traveled around the State with the Brigadier General:

ArcGIS.com Tweet Mapping Template

As described in this previous ArcGIS Online blog, you can add Twitter to your ArcGIS.com map.  Simply create your ArcGIS.com web map and then share using the Azure Twitter template.   Here’s an example from the #EsriUC and the 5K Fun Run/Walk:

Ushahidi ArcGIS Desktop Add-In

Often times during disasters we will stand up a Trends Map, such as this example from Japan, where we can look at the density of Ushahidi reports visualized as a heat map.  During the flooding in Australia, we took this one step further and put together an ArcGIS Desktop Add-In for Ushahidi data so you could export Ushahidi data in to a local geodatabase to do further analysis.  The Add-In for Australia flooding example can be found on ArcGIS.com.

We are actively working with the Ushahidi community to make this tool more generic and broadly available.  Stay tuned for more information.

ArcGIS Explorer Twitter Add-In

The ArcGIS Explorer Twitter Add-In was updated just before the User Conference.  Here’s an example screenshot of a slightly earlier version of the tool from when FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate (@CraigAtFEMA) came to visit Esri last year.


There you have it, a tour of some of the Social Media Tools
and Templates from Esri that we discussed during the Emergency Management SIG.  This is an area that we continue to do more
research and development on.  Watch
Twitter and the blogs for more updates!

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Esri's Disaster Response Program

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!

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Australia Flooding Support

Since December 2010, floods have been hitting Australia, particularly in Queensland.  The Esri Disaster Response Team has been activated for this event. We are working with Esri Australia, whose Brisbane office was significantly impacted, to provide support.  There are several applications available through our disaster response portal for this event.  There is a Common Operational Picture (COP) for the Brisbane City Council, our Latest News map as well as a new Ushahidi Trends map.  As always you can request support directly via this link on the portal -esri.com/australia.

The Brisbane City Council Flood COP is a map application that is now available to provide updated information. It shows the scope of flood response, including evacuation centers and accessible roads near Brisbane, Australia as well as GeoRSS news feeds from the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).  The actual flood peak is also included.  The application was created and is maintained by Esri Australia.

The Latest News map contains geolocated social media from Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.  Social Media continues to grow as a valuable source of information to enhance situational awareness.  Additionally this application has GeoRSS news feeds from the ABC as well as information from Ushahidi for this event.  This is the latest version of the Social Media application that we used to support many events last year including the Gulf Oil Spill, the Fourmile Canyon fire, and Hurricane Earl and the Mount Merapi Volcano.  The source code for the application is available to download here.  One of the new functions in this version is the ability to let you change the social media keyword filter on the fly.  In this case the keyword is #qldflood but that can be changed to #vicfloods for example if you are interested in what people are saying about the recent flooding in the southernmost state of Victoria.

New for this event we put together a Trends map based on the Ushahidi feed set up by the ABC.  We’ve been working more closely with Ushahidi these days – some of you may have seen our press release last October announcing our Strategic Partnership.  Unlike pure social media, where the percentage actionable and geo-located  information can be quite low, a high percentage of the Ushahidi reports contain actual latitude longitude values that pinpoint the reported incident to an exact location.  The communities that post to Ushahidi during a crisis are dedicated and as a result the quantity of information coming from the feed can be overwhelming when consumed as individual incidents.  One way to pull meaningful information out of the feed is to visualize the data as a hot spot map instead of the individual points. This gives you a better sense of where the concentration of reports that are coming from.  You can click on the different categories on the left hand side to show only those categories as hot spots on the map.  Furthermore you can filter the data by time by clicking on the link on the bottom left and adjusting the time slider accordingly.  If you want to just see the concentrations of points as dots uncheck the “Show Reports” box.

While this hot spot function is a visualization technique in the web tier, we can also bring in the data from Ushahidi to ArcGIS Desktop via a custom tool.  One of the tech wizards in our group quickly developed an ArcGIS 10 Desktop add-in that connects to the Ushahidi feed and stores it locally in the geodatabase for further analysis.  This provides Ushahidi as a data source for further analytics using traditional GIS tools and operations like Kernel Density, Frequency, and Geostatistics.  You can download the Ushahidi add-in for ArcGIS Desktop here.

We have also dispatched our wildfire specialist Tom Patterson to Australia to assist (see the video). He brings along many years of experience mapping operationally on incidents and more recent lessons learned from the Gulf Oil Spill and also Mobile Mapping for First Responders.

While the impact of these floods are tragic, we stand by in admiration of the resolve of the Australian people and are ready and willing to do what we can to help expedite the recovery.


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Configuring the Esri Social Media / VGI Application

Last week, you may have read about lessons learned developing a web map for volunteered geographic information (VGI) and social media on the ArcGIS Server Blog.  This is an application that has evolved this year and has been used to support many disasters including the Gulf Oil Spill,  hurricanes, flooding in Pakistan and wildfires  This work has been featured in stories by Computerworld, Emergency Management Magazine, CNN and Fox News.  This web application is built with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript and combines ArcGIS Online basemaps, dynamic information from sources like the USGS and Pacific Disaster Center, Social Media and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) via an ArcGIS 10 feature service

The source code for this application is available for download from ArcGIS.com.  You can download and configure this application for use within your organization.  To get started there are a couple of steps that should be fairly straight forward for most web programmers.  These steps are outlined in the documentation that is included with the download.  First, set your extent.  Next, pick you map layers (either rendered as graphics or via dynamic map services).  Then, pick your social media filters, and finally, set up and configure your feature service. 

Here’s an example of the application configured to convey information to the public regarding a train derailment scenario that we’ve used in many of our demonstrations.


In this case the Social Media filters have been changed to “Louisville” to pick up Tweets, YouTube, and Flickr photos with that tag.

For more details about the application and configuring it check out the documentation that comes in the download package.

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2010 ESRI Homeland Security Summit and UC Public Safety Events and Activities

ESRI Homeland Security Summit-July 10-13, 2010

The ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit is the only geospatial conference dedicated to homeland security.  However, it is not just about the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology.  The summit is aimed to provide insight into the challenges associated with meeting homeland security mission objectives from thought leaders within the homeland security community.  This unique forum then discusses how GIS technology can be applied to improve effectiveness, in situational awareness, critical infrastructure protection, and threat assessment.

Saturday, July 10th has a very full agenda with senior executives within The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) including a keynote address from Steven King-Division Director for the Contingency Planning and Incident Management Division and an in-depth discussion on Virtual USA by Dr. David Boyd-Director of Command, Control, and Interoperability Division.  In addition, Major General Reddel from the New Hampshire National Guard along with his colleagues Dr. Brian Cullis of the Air National Guard and Sean Goodwin from the New Hampshire Department of Safety will be discussing collaboration between organizations for better domestic operations during a catastrophe.  After lunch, the summit will reconvene back together for a panel session on information sharing where industry leaders will share their solutions and experiences and will be ready for questions.  Day one will wrap up with a look into FDNY’s GIS operations presented by Captain Steve Pollackov, and GIS demonstrations for Disaster Support and Homeland Security by ESRI’s team of technology specialists. 

Sunday, July 11th is equally as exciting as the first day with discussions on emergency management and communications, an overview of a geospatial response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and wrapping up with a panel discussion focusing of the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation and the work they are doing to advance the effective use of GIS for public safety.  Additional details on the ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit can be found online.

ESRI International User Conference-July 12-16, 2010

On Monday, July 12, 2010, ESRI customers from across the globe will converge on San Diego to attend the world’s largest gathering of GIS professionals.  More than ever before, our Public Safety community is faced with many challenges requiring rapid changes in the way business is done. You’ll see how those challenges are met head-on at the 2010 ESRI International User Conference (ESRI UC). The weeklong GIS conference offers sessions, exhibits, and technical information for GIS professionals across all disciplines.


Some conference highlights, not to be missed, include:

Exhibits: Public Safety Showcase

  • -Visit the Public Safety Showcase (in Hall B1) to see GIS solutions for all aspects of public safety. The showcase will feature law enforcement, fire, homeland security, and emergency management solutions including mobile applications, incident analysis, and simulated disaster incident mapping. These applications are deployed using the Internet, servers, PCs, and handheld devices. You can get hands-on GIS experience; meet GIS users from police, fire, and emergency management communities; and see demonstrations of their work. Be sure to stop by our large-screen demo theater for the latest GIS solutions for public safety.    See the attached flyer for all of the details.  
    •   -Note the family friendly presentation in the Public Safety Showcase Demo Theater on Wednesday night!
  • -ESRI is proud of its partners dedicated to providing public safety professionals with geospatial solutions aimed at improving effectiveness and efficiency in protecting the communities they serve. So don’t forget to stop by the ESRI Public Safety Showcase to visit with partners to learn more about their solutions and how they can help your operation be more successful in achieving mission objectives.
  • -Visit the new Operation SafetyNet demo area to see the four public safety workflow patterns-data management, planning and analysis, field mobility, and situational awareness-within the context of law enforcement, emergency management, and fusion center operations. Operation SafetyNet is organized to demonstrate how GIS supports individual segments and functions and can meet the needs of multiple users throughout an entire organization. From an incident commander confronting a flood to a chief of police managing gang violence to intelligence analysts and field personnel collecting reports of suspicious activity, enterprise GIS supports them in their workflows and missions. This support-much like a net-results in enhanced communication, collaboration, and coordination throughout the entire public safety domain.
    • -Three specific scenario demonstrations will be ran throughout each day of the exhibit:
      • -Morning Demo (9:00 – 11:00) – Gang activity in the midwest
      • -Noon Demo (12:00 – 2:00) – Emergency Management Operations in Louisville, KY
      • -Evening Demo (3:00 – 5:00) – A Counter Terrorism Scenario in Boston, MA

   Special Interest Group Meetings

We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Homeland Security GIS Summit and ESRI International User Conference.  Be sure to stay connected with the Public Safety Team and follow us on Twitter and Facebook throughout the week.


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Computerworld Article Highlights Oil Spill Interactive Mapping Applications, ESRI Web Resources

Check out ComputerWorld’s latest blog article titled “A social map of the Gulf oil spill.”

The story highlight’s the ESRI Gulf Oil Spill interactive mapping application that lets you see where people are who are talking about it on Twitter, in news reports and on YouTube. It also points out our ArcGIS Online Gulf Oil Spill Response group, where participants can view other maps relating to the spill.


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ESRI Assisting with Gulf Oil Spill and Tennessee Flooding

ESRI is providing a number of support activities for the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the recent flooding in Tennessee. Working closely with dozens of agencies and the Geographic Information System (GIS) community, ESRI has activated its Disaster Response Team to provide assistance to users in local, state, and federal government agencies as well as the private sector. The team is supplying software, technical support, GIS data, and personnel.

ESRI is also providing support and services through its disaster response web site. Resources available include continuously updated maps, data, and applications as well as links to incident sites and related Web pages.  As part of the site, ESRI launched an interactive map application that allows users to add points with links to online photos, Web sites, and YouTube videos. Visitors can add current information to the map and increase everyone’s awareness of activities related to this event. More details of this application are on the about page.

In addition, ESRI deployed an ArcGIS Online group for the oil spill that includes maps, data, Web services and applications.  The content is being published by ESRI and other organizations to support response and mitigation requirements.  The group currently features the following types of content:

  • Applications: ESRI Web mapping applications that combine ESRI maps with other types of information
  • Services: links to ArcGIS services directories with relevant data
  • Data and maps: links to downloadable data and maps and layer packages

Some of the ArcGIS content and services include an oil spill plume trajectory, an environmental sensitivity index map, electronic navigation charts, and more.


Concurrently, we’re supporting the flooding in the Southeast.  On our Southeast U.S. Flooding site we have an interactive map application built using the ArcGIS API for Flex Version 2.0 that contains information such as post event imagery from Metropolitan Government of Nashville, current weather information, news and YouTube videos.  More details are on the about page

In addition, an ArcGIS Online Group is also set up.

ESRI is working around the clock to supply technical support, software, data, maps, and other services related work. If you need assistance please use the forms below or contact the disaster help coordination team:

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