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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Utilizing Tools of the Trade for Land and Natural Resource Management

April 2nd, 2016 by Susan Smith

At Esri FedGIS 2016 I sat in on a session, entitled, “Land and Natural Resources Management – Effective Planning, Analysis and Communication.”


Dlores Buljevic, USDA EAS, talked about how their mission is to enable Web GIS, applying geography to everything that involves location. Web GIS transforms GIS into a platform, and allows the understanding of your data through useful apps.

Implementing GIS involves understanding the purpose of who you are trying to serve, said Buljevic.

Vicki Lukas, USGS Chief of the Topological Unit, talked about the 3D elevation program. “The value of 3DEP’s newest generation is transformational because we’re applying LiDAR to collecting our data,” said Lukas. “It gives us higher resolution and accuracy and allows us to map the world in 3D. It also gives us point clouds. Our goal is to acquire nationwide coverage in 8 years.”

3DEP new products and services in the National Map beginning in 2015 include LiDAR point cloud, 1 meter Digital Elevation Models (DEMS), Alaska ifsar DSMs, Alaska 5 meter DEMS and Alaska ifsar Orthorectified intensify images (ORIs). 3DEP allows you to move to a 1 meter resolution. Data collected in 2010-11 was used to design the program and provide ROI of 5-1. “It gives us a conservative estimate of $695 per year,” said Lukas. “At that time LiDAR was new to folks, today we’d see a higher benefit there. This is just the beginning of what we can see in benefits for this program.”

The value of a coordinated national program includes the following:

  • Leveraging the capability and capacity of private industry mapping firms.
  • Achieve a 25% cost efficiency gain by collecting data in larger projects.
  • Completely refresh national elevation data holdings with new lidar and ifSAR elevation data products and services.

3.4% of entire U.S. was acquired to 3DEP quality in FY15, 13.9% of lower 49 states meets 3DEP quality (2008-2015 only), 63.6% of AK meets 3DEP quality (QL5-ifsar).

Massive flooding continues all along the foothills and front range of Colorado affecting 14 counties and towns from Boulder to Lyons, to Greeley to Fort Morgan.

Todd Boldt spoke on the topic “Effective Planning, Analysis & Communication for NRCS Emergency Field Operations.”

From September 9th – September 16th, 2013, Colorado experienced one of its most extreme rainfall and flood events in recorded history. The flooding spanned several counties, and resulted in 5 known dead, hundreds unaccounted for, 17,000 homes flooded, 12,000 evacuated from the area, 1,500 homes destroyed, extensive damage to transportation infrastructure, and many large communities isolated as a result of downed bridges and lost roads.

Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) specialists found there was no centralized depository for all the data, it was labor intensive to upload and download to and from iPads on a daily basis, some data collected was not useful and inconsistent, and it would have been useful to identify the data needs of the engineers at the initial damage site visits.

The 2013 Colorado Flood EWP Phase 2 plan was enacted in February 2015 (After Action Review of Phase 1) for coordinated data collection, and data management and decrease the number of times data needed to be input into a form (using cell phone coverage). In March 2015 Colorado received $56 million to implement Phase 2. In May 2015, Colorado NCRS organized the Get it Done Team. Their established goal was to develop a process to efficiently complete Damage Survey Reports (DSRs) for EWP P2 which incorporates lessons learned. They used Sharepoint to get access to information as it arrived from the field from specialists.

They will continue to use their iPads, automate forms, and the GAIA program. 40 detailed NRCS engineers from around the country utilized iPads for getting to the site and for more in depth data collection, as well as setting and finding control survey points. Going forward they will also put Esri Collector on the device that can be used you can disconnected where there is no cell coverage.

New National Flood Insurance Program Data Released by FEMA

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Categories: 2013 Colorado Flood, ArcGIS, ArcGIS Online, citizen science, climate change, cloud, data, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, Esri, field GIS, geomatics, geospatial, GIS, handhelds, image-delivery software, indoor location technology, iPhone, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, NGA, NOAA, Open Source, public safety, remote sensing, resilient cities, satellite imagery, sensors, smartphones, spatial data, storm surge, transportation, urban information models, USGS, utilities, wildfire risk

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