January 24, 2005
Responding to Florida's 2004 Hurricane Season
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Welcome to GISWeekly! What was GIS used for during Florida's heavy hurricane season in 2004? According to Jon Hansen of Autodesk, GIS was employed for the preparation or pre-impact damage assessment, during impact and post-impact for search and rescue, damage assessment and throughout the ordeal, and getting critical information to the public during the four hurricanes. Read about it in this week's Industry News.
Also this week, many GIS companies are getting involved in the tsunami disaster relief and response effort. Find out what's new on the emergency response and relief front.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Responding to Florida's 2004 Hurricane Season
By Susan Smith
What was GIS used for during Florida's heavy hurricane season in 2004? Jon Hansen of Autodesk, and former Assistant Rescue Fire Chief for Oklahoma City, best known for being the “voice” of Oklahoma City during the Murrah Building bombing, is well versed in dealing with emergency response in critical situations. According to Hansen, during the hurricanes, GIS was employed for the preparation or pre-impact damage assessment, during impact and post-impact for search and rescue, damage assessment and throughout the ordeal, and getting critical information to the public during the four hurricanes.
was a category 2,3, 4, etc., they could load that in the system and get a pretty good idea what buildings would be damaged, so they could plan before the hurricane hit how they were going to restore some of that critical infrastructure once the hurricane had past,” said Hansen.
A MapGuide based
website in the Florida Emergency Operation Center (EOC) allowed Florida citizens statewide to log on and get the latest information on the status of the storm, what precautions to take, some evacuation routes, and shelter identification. Autodesk Applications Engineer Curtis Egli was able to identify problems and make improvements in the couple of days preceding the hurricane, as well critique afterwards to see what could be done better if it should happen again. According to Egli, the EOC already had a good system in place, so he simply worked with their technical staff at the EOC making changes and adjustments.
happening, during the incident happening, and to help try to recover from the incident as well.”
“After Hurricane Charley hit, we went down to Florida to see what some of the needs were and to look at what some of the emergency responders were using,” Hansen said. “We found that some emergency responders were just using paper maps--some they'd drawn prior to the event to do some grid searches in terms of searching buildings right after the storm had passed.” Of course, the type of emergency response systems used by responders varied from county to county.
Egli said that the Autodesk products such as MapGuide and Crisis Command formed a solution that worked as an information hub for longtime Autodesk customer, Florida EOC. Autodesk Crisis Command is designed for first responders and emergency response officials and provides functionality for incident reporting and notification, administration, work orders and time reports, critical asset tracking, resource information, pre-planning, dynamic 3D visualization and command and control, besides fire-specific capabilities. In concert with MapGuide, the EOC was able to create, update and disseminate maps and geospatial data about the hurricanes to all involved parties who had an internet browser.
As the EOC knew there would be more hurricanes coming (that geographical area is known as “the Bowling Alley”), they asked Autodesk to look at their existing system and see if they could make it more effective during the 2004 hurricane season. Primary objectives included:
without having to query the few
people who would be running desktop applications that are not Autodesk solutions.”
the Department of Health
people would be involved in mass care, and evacuation of nursing homes and other facilities to empty facilities such as schools and auditoriums. They would also take stock of what was needed in the temporary facility such as blankets, ice, etc.
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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.
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