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Update from Houma Incident Command Post (ICP), Louisiana

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

I got an interesting report from Drew Stephens, Director of the GIS Institute, on his organization’s contribution to GIS at the Houma Incident Command Post (ICP) in Louisiana:

“Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and sinking, the ICP was established in Houma. As you can imagine, GIS was quickly a major component of the response. Beginning April 30, a team of  “GIS Smoke Jumpers” from across the USA deployed to Houma, LA to build and operate an enterprise-class GIS for the ICP. Waypoint Mapping’s Devon Humphrey served as the initial GIS Team Leader and was transferred to serve as Geographic Intelligence Officer for ICP Houma. Drew Stephens of The GIS Institute was named GIS Unit Lead. Mr. Humphrey served as liaison to Incident Command and NIMS-compliant system architect advisor, while Mr. Stephens recruited and managed a team of GIS professionals to operate the GIS Unit, most having 10-20 years GIS experience.

At first, GIS staff & products were primarily serving US Coast Guard task forces on the water, and overflight / plume mapping. The team quickly migrated away from the fragmented skills, flash drives and personal laptops, to a networked drive with a file geodatabase, then to an Enterprise SDE and ArcGIS Server. ArcGIS Mobile figured prominently into the overall design, and by last Friday, The Louisiana National Guard was posting data directly to a server from the field. There are now over 150 layers of base map and operational data served to users of ArcGIS desktop, a browser-based Flex viewer and a Google Earth app. The system, which would have normally taken a year or more to plan and implement, was fully operational in less than two weeks. Map requests were dominating the GIS staff time, so standardized map products were created on a schedule, each following a data deliverable to the team – for example, the twice-daily airborne SLAR imagery would be followed by a map product available from the document management team.
The range and depth of talent was truly remarkable. As the demand for GIS products and services grew, so did the GIS team, and its ability to deliver. Federal and Intelligence assets were put into play against the spill, as were staff. The GIS lab was a common stop by visiting Admirals, Captains, Colonels, and many others. The team had the honor of meeting various members of the Unified Command, including the outgoing Commandant of the Coast Guard (Admiral Thad Allen), Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp, Area Command FOSC Admiral Landry, Admiral Watson, Tom Strickland (Chief of Staff for Interior Secretary Salazar), David Hayes (Deputy Secretary of Department of Interior), Jane Lute (Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security), representatives from the State of Louisiana Governor’s Office, Army National Guard, Air Force, US Fish & Wildlife and many others.

There are now many more senior-level administrators who understand the power of GIS! I just returned from 21 days of service, resting and standing-by to go back…
Also, it’s tough to watch the news these days without being swept-up in the anger and blame – please know, that regardless of your take on all of this, there are many hard-working and passionate oil spill responders working really long hours with no time off in support of this ecological disaster.  Thanks for your support!

PS: if you see this by 5:20PM EDT Friday June 4, Drew will be on 880 AM in Asheville, NC and – it will be saved as podcast at the site under Local Edge Radio.”

Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp  Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp

Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp

Jane Goodall Institute Tanzania Awarded $2.7 million (USD)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

“By using geospatial technologies and the Internet, local communities will be able to interact directly with the global carbon marketplace and demonstrate unequivocally the concrete benefits of their efforts to protect the forest,” said Dr. Lilian Pintea, director of conservation science at the Jane Goodall Institute. “As a result, local information will directly inform and influence national and global decisions regarding climate change.”

News Bytes

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

“An investigation into whether more than 39 Bettendorf voters were assigned to the wrong ward or legislative district turned up more than 300 Scott County voters casting ballots in the wrong elections.”

January 3, 2010, Kurt Allemeier, QC Times

“BANGALORE: The mash-up story is an old but compelling one, particularly when used for advocacy as in Tunisia where exile Sami Ben Gharbiais used a GoogleMaps mash-up to paint a different kind of landscape.

So random net surfers were startled to find the Tunisian map dotted with a string of prisoner’s names, their biographies, and videos of their family members telling the story of the human rights situation in the country.”

“Drawing Maps for Change,” by Deepa Kurup, The Hindu, January 3, 2010

GIS mapping technology is helping underprivileged communities get better services — from education and transportation to health care and law enforcement — by showing exactly what discrimination looks like.

“The Revolution will be Mapped” Public Intelligence Blog, Bob Burtman

Houston finds a way to consolidate GIS data from city agencies

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

A shining example of collaboration comes from Max Samfield, deputy director of the Houston Planning and Development Department, who chose a hybrid approach that requires city agencies to add basic data to a new enterprise GIS, but lets them choose whether to publish more specialized data to the system.

The goal was to “create a repository of newly accurate GIS data delivered to end-users from a central server farm. Agencies then use that scrubbed enterprise GIS data as a foundation on which to build more layers of data using their own specialized information.”

Government Technology, January 6, 2010

City Council contender aims for citywide GIS

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Arnie Fielkow seeks second term on New Orleans City Council: “I also believe a single, citywide GIS (Geographic Information System) database, with established protocols for sharing and updating of information — and completely accessible both within and outside government — needs to be established. The city and the Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office should find a way to unify behind this need. This is an extraordinary tool for making sure that everything from transportation routes to new developments to health clinics are placed where they are most needed and can be used by the most people.  GIS will help us deal with blight, fight crime, and protect ourselves better from flooding. It will also keep the citizenry plugged in and informed on city land issues.”
-Bayou Buzz

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GIS for economics in Lebanon

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Geographic Information System will help modernize Lebanon’s economy

By Mohammed Zaatari, The Daily Star, Lebanon

Add street sense to GIS crime reporting

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

For law enforcement, a lot of “GIS” begins on the street as police officers generally possess an innate knowledge of what areas on their beats are trouble spots. Those who are back at the office and doing crime analysis don’t have that field knowledge, however, they can identify hot spots with the help of:

Here’s an idea: What if the GIS could include the so called “ground truth” gathered by police officers, as a specific sort of user-generated data?

GIS and why government can’t be more like business

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Herhold: Government failures flourish in dark by Scott Herhold, October 19, 2009 – San Jose Mercury News

American Samoan GIS resources

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Here is a collection of resources for GIS data on American Samoa, the area hit by tsunami last week. GISCorps’ Shoreh Elhami said that as of yet, they have not received any requests for volunteers.

Fagatelle Bay National Marine Sanctuary

GIS / Vector Data of Samoa from EastView Cartographics:

Pacific Disaster Center:

NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management for American Samoa:

American Samoa Historic Preservation Office, Geography of American Samoa

Paper by Dawn Wright GIS Coordination at America’s Remotest National Marine Sanctuary (American Samoa)*

* portions of this chapter will be reprinted in the forthcoming ESRI Press book, Undersea With GIS, due out in the fall of 2001.

GIS system comes to Azerbaijan tourism

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

In 2010 Azerbaijan to introduce GIS system in tourism, September 30, 2009, Trend

Teledyne: - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.

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