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This summer, the Esri Disaster Response Program has responded to several disasters, including floods, tornadoes, and wildfires to provide technical support, software, data and information maps. While we always provide public information maps, one of the most common requests we … Continue reading
The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) is forecasting an active wildfire season this year and so far it is off to an early start. In their National Significant Wildland Fire Outlook, NIFC states there is a “Significant fire potential [that] will … Continue reading
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:
- Severe Weather
- Hurricanes & Tropical Cyclones
- Global Incident Viewer
- Current Event Maps
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!
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:
Wildfires – http://www.esri.com/wildfire
- Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones – http://www.esri.com/hurricane
- Floods – http://www.esri.com/flooding
- Earthquakes – http://www.esri.com/earthquake
- Volcanoes – http://www.esri.com/volcano
- Severe Weather – http://www.esri.com/severe
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:
- Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
- Flooding in Australia
- o This recent blog post on Australia Flooding Support describes some of the different types of applications that get stood-up for an event specific site.
- Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
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:
- Common Operational Picture (COP) for Situational Awareness based on the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex2.2
- Damage Assessment Template based on ArcGIS Mobile
- Citizen Engagement application for getting information to and from the public
- Public Information Map with social media and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)
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!
9/22/09–In disaster response work, a common challenge is to quickly gather data and accurately fuse it together to provide actionable information for those managing the emergency and related relief efforts. Properly trained emergency planners can use spatial information to implement measures, such as, establishing communications sites, restoring electrical power, and planning traffic routes to carry emergency supplies to critical facilities. Often, specific locally-stored datasets are not available to accommodate every possible contingency that may arise in disaster operations. In these cases, freely available content from ArcGIS Online can be used to help support these disaster response efforts. For example, demographic data from ArcGIS Online was recently used to create a map of the wildfires that affected southern California.
Below are a sample of the maps and data that are available through ArcGIS Online that can be used to support disaster response efforts:
See esri.com for more information on disaster response and assistance.
See ArcGIS Online Help for information on the conditions for external use of ArcGIS Online content during a disaster.