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 »
Newscycle Through the Eyes of Maps
October 4th, 2017 by Susan Smith
This week the news hit close to home: my son was working in the Manderley Bay Hotel when the shooter opened fire on Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas outside. He was safe thank God, but terribly shaken by the event as visitors poured into the hotel with panicked stories and later, the hotel was in lockdown for several hours. The level of fear and panic generated by this event was hard to contain as most people didn’t know what was happening and heard only shots coming from up high.
Rather than rehashing the news here, which everyone has read already via TV or popups on their phones, I’m going to blog through maps that show factual information on this and other recent disasters that have hit close to home, both manmade and natural. Maps put events in perspective, take one incident out of isolation and place it in context.
From The Guardian: The United States owns way, way more guns per capita than the rest of the world. And the best research on gun violence suggests that’s probably contributing to our homicide problem — as exemplified by Sunday night’s horrific shooting.
Here’s a map of firearm ownership around the world, using 2012 data compiled by The Guardian. The United States has nearly twice as many guns per 100 people as the next closest country, Yemen — 88.8 guns per 100 as opposed to 54.8 in Yemen:
We have also the aftermath of the devastation from three hurricanes making landfall in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbuda and others, plus an earthquake in Mexico. Fortunately maps are abundant in the GIS world for tracking and analysis of the events, plus disaster recovery efforts.
In many parts of the world people do not have physical addresses, nor defined property boundaries. The importance of identifying location by addressing/location with just three words is brought to light in this video by what3words:
This Esri Interactive Map presents the enriched Shakemap of the M 7.1 Earthquake near Puebla, Mexico to show the potential impact to population and households in the area.
Clicking on the shaded areas allows you to view the impact for that intensity:
Orange (very strong): 447k total population; 114k total households
Yellow (strong): 10.2m total population; 2.6m total households
Green (moderate): 8.7m total population; 4.8m total households
Blue (light): 43.1 total population; 10.8m total households
While there are still many places that are not on the radar of technology after catastrophic events such as hurricanes, cyclones and earthquakes, map technology may be used to locate victims and learn where to provide desperately needed services. From company materials: Esri is supporting organizations that are responding to hurricane/cyclone disasters with software, data, imagery, project services, and technical support. If you are in need of software or support, complete the Request Assistance form on the webpage above. All requests should be justified in the message section of the form and are subject to approval.
Web mapping applications related to Hurricane Maria provided from the Esri Disaster Response Program and agencies involved in response to and monitoring of the hurricane. There is also an identical page for Hurricane Irma.
CrowdRescueHQ is an organization powered by volunteers, who gather data from social media to support rescue efforts and victims of natural disasters. This CrowdSourceHQ Observations dashboard is updated every half-minute and displays latest observations reported in Puerto Rico related to Hurricane Maria.
Woolpert, working under two separate contracts that had very technically different requirements, collected and posted high-resolution, before-and-after imagery of areas in Florida affected by Hurricane Irma to assist with flooding and damage assessment.
From company materials: Miami-Dade County contracted with Woolpert for post-storm imagery as Hurricane Irma approached, while Woolpert’s work with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is part of an existing five-year, statewide contract for emergency mapping services.
“Miami-Dade wanted imagery from after the event, documenting damage assessment, while FDOT wanted to see how high the water got at the peak of the flooding to gain current flood conditions,” Woolpert project manager Mike Zoltek said. “For FDOT, we captured 1,000 square miles of imagery along the St. Johns River in a single day as the water was cresting. The imagery was collected across four counties—St. Johns, Duval, Putnam and Clay—from Palatka to Jacksonville.”
The FDOT project is complete, while the Miami-Dade project continued as weather allowed throughout the week.
The collections have included 6-inch and 1-foot ground sampling distance (GSD) orthoimagery. The smaller the GSD, the higher the image resolution. As part of this process, Woolpert captured aerial imagery, processed the data, paired it with comparable imagery collected prior to the hurricane, delivered it to clients and posted it on a before-and-after online slider for use by anyone affected by the disaster.
The resulting online maps, aggregated with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Google, enable viewers to look up an address, navigate to an area of concern, and zoom in and out.
Woolpert, whose planes had just returned from mapping the devastation in Houston after Hurricane Harvey when contacted by Miami-Dade, credited the county for preparing for recovery efforts before the storm hit.
Two Koreas Story Map
Tensions between the U.S. have escalated rapidly, with a lot of chest thumping and threats of nuclear war. The conflict is not new, and has roots reaching all the way back to World War II. It is a conflict over control of the Korean Peninsula, pitting the North against the South.
While the Korean War of the early 1950s never formally ended, its aftermath has created starkly divergent worlds for those living on either side of the north-south divide. This Esri Story Map takes a look at life in the two Koreas; how such a night-and-day difference came to be; and offers some analysis of where the crisis could go from here.
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