Responding to Florida's 2004 Hurricane Season

Working with disparate data and people using different file formats was a challenge but one that the EOC and Autodesk had anticipated. “The county boundaries were in ArcView SHP format and were being fed up directly (without translation) into the MapGuide site. But the level of detail (number of vertices along a polygon boundary) was way more detail than was necessary for the zoom level. We imported the SHP file into Autodesk Map 3D 2005, did a 'generalize' and 'simplify' on the polygon boundaries to create a new boundary that was fewer kilobytes, appropriate to web traffic/bandwidths. The resulting boundaries show up much faster in the home owners' browser where they might only have a 28.8 modem connection. Then we used the original, higher level detail boundary within MapGuide for *close* zoom levels. The resulting Autodesk Map map was exported back out to SHP for posting on the MapGuide site.”

The Advent of Data Sharing

These critical emergency situations invariably point to the need for data sharing, which is a hard concept for many federal, state, county and city agencies to swallow.

Solutions such as Oracle or SQL Server that allow interoperability between disparate systems promise much in the way of cost savings and an ability to streamline the flow of data and disseminate it to many different people. According to Curtis Egli, before pre-impact when Hurricane Ivan shifted and came into Mississippi over the Florida border, it was evident that there would be damage across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. Florida immediately began to shift over their people and equipment to be able to help other states. The county has granular level information that the state doesn't have, such as where a water pipe is, and so its ability to share that with other agencies is already vital.

As many experts realize, the main challenge to interoperability and data sharing is changing the way organizations fundamentally operate. Being under siege of hurricanes and other disasters may be just the impetus that government and other agencies need to ensure the safety of our future.

More on the Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Efforts

Many GIS companies are getting involved in the tsunami disaster relief and response effort. Intergraph Corporation is one of those that has assembled a team of resources and technology dedicated to establishing a geospatial command centre in the areas affected by the disaster.

The company is also offering the use of its software to aid in the organization, management, and delivery of disaster relief. It has established a geospatial support program to provide technical assistance to users. To request assistance, please submit your request to Email Contact.

In addition, ESRI (Thailand) Co. Ltd. volunteers traveled to the Phangnga province in Thailand to help search teams and analyze the damage using those tools at their disposal-GPS, GIS and remote sensing technology. A command center was established at the Takua Pa district office, in the heart of the most damaged part of Thailand, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MONRE). The most critical priority after the tsunami hit was to search for survivors and locate the dead. GIS data was not available but maps were generated of one-square kilometer sections of the area and printed up. Orthophotos were included in the maps along with vector data containing local landmarks and data layers from ArcData Thairoad.

At the UK MapAction website, maps are freely available for disaster relief and development agencies along with any other bona fide user.

According to Applied Analysis Inc. of Billerica, Massachusetts, contaminated sediment has impacted a large number of inland water bodies in a tsunami-affected area of Porto Nova, India, near Sri Lanka, and is evident more than two kilometers offshore in the Indian Ocean. Revealed in an analysis of recent satellite imagery from IKONOS processed by Applied Analysis, was the devastating impact to local water quality. The technology measures clarity of water, and can process images to determine potentially clean water sites by showing suspended mineral and chlorophyll content.

As additional satellite imagery becomes available, this technology will be helpful in the near term by identifying potential clean water sites, as well as those areas with the highest concentrations of likely contaminants. In the weeks and months ahead, the same process can be used to determine the overall impact on aquaculture zones and, in offshore waters, the extent of sediment and debris that will most certainly affect the reefs and other living organisms so prevalent in the area.

In a National Geographic article, Tsunami Redraws Indian Ocean Maps , author Brian Handwerk described the impact of the tsunami on the geographic features of the Indian Ocean - both above and beneath the water's surface.


Telenor Satellite Services and Global Relief Technologies LLC(GRT) of Portsmouth, NH, are working with International Medical Corps (IMC) to provide an integrated support system for immediate collection and dissemination of in-the-field data and information.

Tele Atlas, a provider of digital map data and location content, and Clear Channel Radio, announced that they will provide Clear Channel-Tele Atlas dynamic traffic content to Audiovox navigation solutions through the use of RDS/TMC - the standard radio broadcast technology for the distribution of traffic and travel information to motorists. The solutions will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 6-9, 2005 in Booth #11006.

ACD Systems International Inc., makers of ACDSee(TM) photo management software and Canvas(TM) technical illustration software, announced its affiliation with the ESRI(TM) Business Partner Program.


IKONOS has taken thousands of images this year, and Space Imaging is asking the public to help pick the 10 most spectacular images of 2004. This is the fifth year Space Imaging has named the Top 10 Images, but it's the first time the public has been asked to help select the Top 10 Images through voting.

Online voting for the Top 10 Images can be easily done here. To make the job a little easier, Space Imaging pre-selected 23 images to choose from. The final Top 10 Images of 2004 will be announced in late January.

Cadcorp has announced that during the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) annual dinner and awards ceremony, held on 25 November, 2004 in London, its business partner ISL won the AGI Innovation and Best Practice in the Private Sector Award 2004, sponsored by Oracle.

IONIC has been awarded a GSA IT schedule contract to make IONIC's Open Geospatial (OGC) compliant “RedSpider” products available to US federal and other agencies that use the GSA schedule. The GSA Schedules are the premiere buying tool for the U.S. Government, the largest customer in the world. This contract will simplify and speed acquisition and payment processes as well as decrease red-tape bureaucracy for buyers looking to implement OGC standards-based solutions.

Advantica has been awarded a contract by Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison) for the design and implementation of a pipeline integrity information management system (PIIMS). The four-phase project involves the establishment of a geospatially-enabled system based on Advantica's family of Uptime™ integrity management products that will encompass all of Con Edison's transmission mains.


SANZ Inc. Geospatial Solutions Group, provider of spatial data provisioning solutions, announced the completion of the implementation of its EarthWhere(TM) Spatial Data Provisioning software for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Albuquerque District, Albuquerque, N.M. By enabling access to vital imagery datasets, this implementation will facilitate inter-agency collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Rocky Mountain Mapping Center, as well as a number of other partners (including federal, state, county, city, university, and tribal agencies).

The new live training seminar from ESRI Virtual Campus, “Geoprocessing CAD Data with ArcGIS,” is designed for users who are familiar with ArcGIS Desktop software and want to know more about integrating computer-aided design (CAD) data into their geographic information system (GIS) as well as experienced CAD users who are new to ArcGIS. The free seminar will take place on February 17, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.

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