Since September 11th, 2001, geospatial technology shifted its emphasis to be more focused on emergency response, disaster recovery, terrorist action and other domains of the federal, state and county governments. Indoor mapping derived from this event, when it became evident that knowing where assets were located in buildings, would be vitally important in a time of disaster or terrorist action. If there is any one single event that showed the need for geospatial information, this was it.
The need for disaster management and recovery has escalated with the greater number of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, floods and other acts of nature that have torn the fabric of the U.S. as well as other countries. Geodesign has emerged since that time, tracking requirements for marrying geographic sciences with design professionals and information technologies and the data provided by the people in a geographic location. There must be some overlap of these perspectives which would not overlap if not for the desire to merge information into a cohesive whole.
Other disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, have shaped the way geographic information has been disseminated to the public. Each time one of these disasters hits, there is more to learn about how to disseminate information to the public, how to find resources during a disaster and how to save lives and manage the recovery from these events.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, practically announced that Facebook would have a search engine during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. He also said that the last two years the company had wasted time building cross-platform mobile apps based on HTML5 rather than snappier, smoother native apps. He believes that more people will be using mobile than desktop applications, and is moving forward with that huge priority. They now have a native iPhone app that is based on code contributions to apps. He said he basically lives on his mobile phone himself.
In a recent article “Emergency rescuers: Use GPS devices with caution,” the message was really about what happened to Craig Matthews, who turned off a major highway in northern New Mexico last spring, whose remains were found in July by his girlfriend and another friend. Why? Matthews had been traveling north on Interstate 25 when he talked to his girlfriend, Debra Hughes, who lived in Penrose, Colorado. When Matthews didn’t return home, Hughes called search and rescue. A state game warden found his truck lodged in a snowdrift four days later about 44 miles off a remote side road, U.S. 64. He was found approximately 4/10 of a mile from the vehicle.
Hughes thinks Matthews got confused after he stopped for coffee in the town of Raton which is on the Interstate, and got on 64 instead of the Interstate. She thinks he turned on his GPS to direct him toward home.
NOAA researchers have a new instrument unofficially named “Seahorse” that is used on the ocean floor to study sea scallops. Named Seahorse because it is spiny and curved, the instrument is a sophisticated, up-to-date version of a survey system developed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and used on sea scallop resource surveys conducted by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC).
Hurricane Isaac has shifted its path from threatening Florida and the Republican National Convention and has moved far west, now following a path through the Gulf very similar to the one Hurricane Katrina traveled seven years ago.
It is predicted to be a weaker Category One storm when it makes landfall, with sustained winds of between 74 and 95 miles per hour, yet it’s still said to be a hurricane. The hurricane is prompting the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to declare emergencies (and in Alabama’s case, the governor to order mandatory coastal evacuations).
Global climate change on the Atlantic coast is in fast-forward mode — swamping and eroding beaches, wetlands and farm fields, according to scientists. Shorelines from North Carolina to Boston are in a ‘hotspot’ for sea-level rise and will see water levels rise at double the rate of most places on the planet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. What is the cause of this is a double geological activity.
A mobile app developed for the city of Omaha, Neb. allows citizens to contribute videos and photos of potholes, fallen tree limbs, or things that pertain to zoning, and can identify or plug in location, etc.
Today’s launch of a new web portal called MapSAR from Esri supplies “search and rescue (SAR) personnel with GIS tools, educational materials, and a virtual community for learning and sharing.”
The website is designed to help Search and Rescue operations find lost people. GIS and SAR professionals from Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, Esri, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Mountaineer Rescue Group worked together to develop the MapSAR application. MapSar gives all SAR personnel the tools and knowledge needed to effectively use GIS in their operations, no matter what their technical background. Mapping and planning functions will be able to be carried out within the incident command structure (ICS). GIS skills will be used to track search teams and assets for greater efficiency and safety.
According to press materials, the MapSAR site includes the following:
MapSAR Tool: This free tool runs with Esri ArcGIS 10 software and enables maps to be generated, stored, and printed quickly so that search teams can deploy faster to look for missing people.
SAR E-books: Two newly published e-books give personnel a rich array of information. Using GIS for Wildland Searchand Rescue is a core instruction manual for developing a working knowledge of all things GIS for every team member. MapSAR User’s Manual is for more advanced GIS users and provides an introduction to and a detailed tutorial for MapSAR.
Search and Rescue Forum: This peer-to-peer network provides a place to discuss technical challenges.
In a move that the geospatial industry had been expecting, on Monday, GeoEye announced plans to combine with competitor DigitalGlobe in a deal worth $900 million. This move is in response to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency informing both companies that it plans to curtail funding for its $7.3 billion EnhancedView contract, pieces of which were awarded to both firms in 2010.
The two former competitors provide photos and satellite imagery from satellites that are contracted by the NGA, the products of which are generally sold to federal agencies, the military and other government institutions.