New Book Underscores the Vital Role of Geospatial Technology in Homeland Security

Redlands, California - November 5, 2007GIS for Homeland Security, a new book from ESRI Press, chronicles the value of geographic information system (GIS) technology in a growing arsenal of technologies used to protect the nation from natural disasters, diseases, and terrorist threats.

The book by Mike Kataoka, an ESRI Press editor and former journalist, describes in nontechnical language how GIS works as a core technology for gathering and analyzing intelligence; protecting critical infrastructure; responding to forest fires, hurricanes, and other catastrophes; and planning for bioterrorism or disease outbreaks.

“Homeland security intelligence is more about bits and bytes than cloaks and daggers these days,” Kataoka writes. “In a homeland security context, geographic information systems answer the key questions, starting with who and what are at risk.”

GIS for Homeland Security presents 15 case studies that demonstrate how public agencies and private entities are putting GIS to work on the front lines. One informative case study shows how the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, the state’s analysis hub for crime- and terrorism-related intelligence, uses a data fusion system powered by ESRI’s ArcGIS software and MetaCarta’s Geographic Text Search (GTS). Intelligence analysts can use geography as a filter when searching through documents including news articles, e-mails, and Web pages.

The book also profiles four GIS professionals who have put the technology “to the test under difficult, even dangerous circumstances.” Among them is Ron Langhelm of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who has used his GIS expertise to support recovery operations after earthquakes; hurricanes; and the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Despite a growing commitment by government officials to use GIS for homeland security operations, the book points out significant challenges, such as some agencies’ reluctance to share data for fear of compromising their individual security. The last chapter looks ahead at initiatives meant to encourage data sharing throughout government and improve GIS programs for homeland security.

The book was written for decision makers in government who deal with planning, response, and recovery in a wide range of homeland security situations, whether terrorist attacks or forces of nature. The book is also for first responders, such as police officers, firefighters, and medical personnel dispatched to emergency scenes, who would benefit from the heightened situational awareness a GIS can provide.

Kataoka concludes with a helpful list of acronyms and abbreviations for agencies, programs, software, and initiatives as well as a glossary of homeland security terms.

GIS for Homeland Security (ISBN: 9781589481558, 120 pages, $24.95) is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, contact your local ESRI distributor. Visit for a current distributor list. Interested retailers can contact ESRI Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

For pricing information or to order a copy of this book, visit Amazon Book Store.

About ESRI Press

ESRI Press publishes books on GIS, cartography, and the application of spatial analysis to many areas of public and private endeavor including land-use planning, health care, education, business, government, and science. The complete selection of GIS titles from ESRI Press can be found on the Web at

About ESRI

Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at

Press Information:

Carla Wheeler
Tel.: 909-793-2853, ext. 2448
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