Developing an Emergency Response Operations Center Layout
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Developing an Emergency Response Operations Center Layout

Welcome to GISWeekly! The use of MapInfo Professional for an Emergency Response Operations Center (EOC) layout of the Town of Wethersfield provides employees with a visual view of critical information, according to Bill Holler, GIS Administrator for the Town of Wethersfield. During an emergency, EOC administrators can assess the disaster scene using the EOC layout to determine what roads lead in and out of it, what the population density is and what homes and businesses may need to be evacuated. Read about it in this week’s Industry News.

This coming week I'll be at GITA 2007 in San Antonio, and hope to see many of you there.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News
Developing an Emergency Response Operations Center Layout

by Susan Smith

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
The icons at the right bring up Emergency Center supplies inventory, Town of Rock Hill’s Doctor’s list, and the Town vehicle inventory. The individual layers are altitude stamped, when zoomed into a view could look like this:
The use of MapInfo Professional for an Emergency Response Operations Center (EOC) layout of the Town of Wethersfield provides employees with a visual view of critical information, according to Bill Holler, GIS Administrator for the Town of Wethersfield. During an emergency, EOC administrators can assess the disaster scene using the EOC layout to determine what roads lead in and out of it, what the population density is and what homes and businesses may need to be evacuated.

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
Note the hot linked green-circled stores along Silas Deane Highway as well as the blue dashed waterlines and the larger purple circle to the left that when clicked on would show information about the High School there. Hot linking to the green circle will bring up a picture of the storefront. Certain links will bring up the choice of Powerpoint or video coverage as well as photography.
Holler’s job is 60% GIS, 40% IT, plus videography, and has taken him far and wide in terms of providing desktop views for various departments. Before doing the EOC layout, Holler had created a hydrant map for the fire department, photography and video for the police department, and presentations for Parks & Recreation, among other things.

When asked by the EOC director, if he could do something with “tabletop exercises” that are like red flag exercises executed on a regional level, Holler realized they had all the information, just in different formats. They took the information and put it into a MapInfo layout with a series of hot links and information links. This was used in the next tabletop exercise which was of an ice storm that paralyzed the entire state, and caused interstates to be closed down. The layout provided an overview as well as buffer information.

The Town of Wethersfield is part of the Metropolitan District Council (MDC) in Hartford which has aerial photography. Hartford had recently supplied Wethersfield with 2003 1:960 scale photography of the entire town, which serves as the base map for the main views on the director’s desk as well as for the EOC layout. Special town-generated layers such as parcel base, Historic District, recreation, selected videos, and Health Region are incorporated into the map. PowerPoint presentations of key town areas and Excel listings of doctors offices in town and neighboring areas are also included.

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
Note the Parcel addresses, water and sewer lines, Zoning, Utility Poles, and Veroni polygons around the fire hydrants. When on screen the user can info link the individual parcels to bring up Assessor’s information. This information system is not made available to the public.
“When you look at the map you see a grid with town boundaries on it and lettering, etc., but as you zoom in, [with the altitude base capabilities in MapInfo, as you get closer and closer, more and more information will present itself. At some point you’re looking at the aerial photography and you would see blue lines which represent water lines, brown lines represent sewer lines, utility poles, fireplugs, fire dept connections, lot lines, zoning for each individual house, address of each house, the address ranges for each intersection,” explained Holler. “If you have the information tool available, you click on it, and all the information from the Assessor’s office will pop up for an individual parcel. There is quite a bit of information available just from doing hotlinks.”

In the ice storm exercise, the ice storm paralyzed the entire state, closing all interstates, and then a propane tanker turned over at exit 25 right at the eastern side of town. “I was able to use the buffering capabilities to give some kind of idea of the traveling of the plume,” noted Holler. “The engineer, chief of police, fire chief, town manager, the health director and myself all have the EOC layout on their machines so it can be used as a planning tool as well as an EO tool,” said Holler.

The layout is designed so that a GIS specialist could run the program to respond to questions from the administrators involved. If a GIS specialist was unavailable for some reason, the layout could also be run from the MapInfo ProViewer mode, which would not be quite as effective. “ProViewer users can get information but they can’t do the manipulations, and wouldn’t be able to do a buffer analysis as I am able to,” Holler pointed out.

ProViewer is free from MapInfo, and allows you to put mapping information in a non- edited format onto people’s desks. “We have ProViewers with customized views on most of the different department directors’ desks. They can print the screen off, they can do statistical analysis, they can use the information tool to get the assessor’s information off, but it’s not a real time GIS.” ProViewer is easy to use, but Holler said that if people don’t use it enough they tend to forget how to use it.

Wethersfield has had MapInfo intelligence solutions in place for about two years, and has had the MDC coverage since 2004. It is a very developed town with not much open space left, only a couple of farms, according to Holler. Currently Wethersfield is using MapInfo 7.1 and will hopefully be updating to 8.5 this fiscal year.

Top News of the Week

ESRI is pleased to announce the availability of ArcReader 9.2. ArcReader is a free, easy-to-use desktop mapping application that allows users to view, navigate, and print maps and globes created with the ArcGIS Publisher extension.


Orion Technology Inc. announced that it is forming a partnership with Dominion in Madrid, Spain. Dominion will distribute Orion’s out-of-the-box web-GIS software solution OnPoint™ to a wide range of business markets in Spain. These markets include Insurance & Banking, Transportation and Distribution, Energy and Telecommunication, and Government & Public Administration.

NAVTEQ, a global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation, location-based solutions and business applications, and Maptel Networks, a Telefonica subsidiary offering digital maps and geographic information solutions, have announced the signing of an agreement which will allow the latter to consolidate its range of high-added-value mapping products. The agreement involves the joint marketing and development of high-quality mapping solutions and services for the Spanish market.


The inaugural Advanced Positioning Educational Exposition (APEX) educational conference on GPS, GIS, surveying and mapping solutions, will be held April 2-5, 2007 in Albuquerque. Due to federal budget delays, early registration for the conference has been extended to March 16.

This first conference is dedicated for federal users and is co-sponsored by Topcon Positioning Systems of Livermore, California, and Holman's, Inc., a GSA contract holder.

Headquarters for the conference will be at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North. There is a registration fee of $275 for early registration. After that date the fee will be $350.

MapInfo Corporation released demographic insights into potential consumer behavior to find the nation's biggest spenders. MapInfo used its PSYTE(R) U.S. Advantage neighborhood segmentation system, which profiles lifestyle and consumer habits in 72 "cluster" groups, to gain insight into who the big shoppers are and where they live. Based on MapInfo's research, here are descriptions of Americans in several key counties:

MapInfo found that folks in Marin County, California were most likely to open their wallets wide, leading the nation with the highest average household expenditure. Big shoppers in the Bay Area are well represented with San Mateo ranking fourth and Santa Clara ranking ninth. New Jersey, home to more malls per square mile than any other state, also topped the list with Morris and Somerset Counties ranking fifth and sixth. Below is the full list of the top 10 spending counties.

Contract Awards

OSI Geospatial Inc. announced that its mapping operations has been awarded new business valued at approximately US$2.8 million since September 28, 2006. This total does not include the previously announced prime contract with the U.K. Hydrographic Office valued at approximately $1.2 million.


Avineon, Inc. announced the addition of Steve Evans as a business development executive within the company's Geospatial and Engineering Services division. Evans holds more than 20 years of technical and sales experience and has a strong record of consistently growing company revenues by multi-million dollar figures.

Avineon, Inc. announced that Akhlesh Kaushiva has joined Avineon as vice president of the company's Commercial IT Services division. With more than 30 years of engineering and IT systems experience, Kaushiva will lead Avineon's business intelligence and business process management efforts among other IT systems for the company's growing commercial sector. Avineon recently formed the Commercial IT Services division to further focus on meeting the needs of its strong base of commercial clients including large electric, gas, water and telecom utilities.

New Products

Mapping for Congress: Supporting Public Policy with GIS, a new book from ESRI, illustrates how GIS is used to provide policymakers and citizens with information about public policy issues in the form of a map. The book profiles the work of the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division's Congressional Cartography Program, detailing how Library of Congress GIS professionals are able to help members of Congress and congressional staff understand public policy issues in a geographic context. Also included in the book are more than thirty maps highlighting national trends and providing insight into how these patterns might influence current and future public policy. ESRI Press, 2007, 94 pp. ISBN: 1589481453

NAC Geographic Products Inc. announced the release of the NAC Smart Tag DLL for Microsoft Office - an integration of the Natural Area Coding System with Microsoft Smart Tag technology.

Smart tags enable real-time, dynamic recognition of content and offer relevant options to people as they work to allow them to quickly access and analyze information. Microsoft has already included the smart tags for Financial Symbol, Address, Place, Date, Telephone Number, Time and Personal Name in its Office suite including Outlook email software.

Vision Media, owner of, announced the completion and availability of the entire island of Manhattan as a 3d model.

The entire 3d model was constructed by a team of Vision Media 3d architects and designers. Despite all the complexities, the Manhattan model uses only 500,000 polygons. Vision Media is widely known for its high-detail and minimum use of polygons.

The projection of the new 3d Manhattan model is UTM NAD83 ZONE18. Depending on what software and/or 3d engine an end-user requires, the model can be delivered in any 3d format.

DMTI Spatial, a provider of location intelligence solutions, has been selected by McSweeney & Associates, to power the Ontario East Economic Development Commission’s (OEEDC) new web portal. The application of neighborhood level postal geography and detailed demographic data is advancing the tools available to site selection consultants and streamlining economic development processes.

GeoSpatial Experts is pleased to announce the availability of the Ricoh 500SE GPS-digital camera in a new photo-mapping product bundle. Available through GeoSpatial Experts and its distributors, this bundle includes the GPS-Photo Link photo-mapping software, the Ricoh 500SE camera with attached GPS module, a 1 gigabyte memory card and a camera bag.

MetaCarta®, Inc., the provider of geographic intelligence solutions, announced support for KML (Keyhole Markup Language) for MetaCarta Geographic Text Search (GTS) and MetaCarta geOdrive. For the first time, companies and governments can now search unstructured text documents for geographic locations and visualize these references on a map using Google Earth, ESRI ArcGIS Explorer or NASA World Wind interfaces.

Intergraph Corporation announced an agreement with ACE Enterprise Slovakia Ltd. to provide its SAP-certified integration software, Geospatial Enterprise Integrator, to Intergraph customers.

Officially introduced at Intergraph 2006, Geospatial Enterprise Integrator allows organizations to seamlessly integrate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like SAP with geospatial solutions from Intergraph. The ACE solution simplifies the creation and maintenance of interfaces between enterprise systems, and it offers an easy-to-use drag and drop interface. As a result, users become self-sufficient in exploiting and reusing all of the data resources available across a company's heterogeneous data environment.

Applied Imagery has upgraded its QT Modeler software and changed the product name to Quick Terrain Modeler. Applied Imagery’s diverse user base provides valuable suggestions and has shaped the current release.

Quick Terrain Modeler Version 6 adds the following functionality:

Upcoming Events

ESRI Petroleum User Group Conference
Date: February 23 - March 2, 2007
Place: Houston, TX USA
2007 North Carolina GIS Convention
Date: March 1 - 2, 2007
Place: Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC USA
The North Carolina GIS Conference is celebrating 20 Years of Spatial Vision, 1987-2007. Sponsored by the North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NC CGIA) and the Carolina Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (Carolina URISA) the 10th Anniversary program promises to be our best.
InterGeo East 2007
Date: March 1 - 2, 2007
Place: Inter Expo Center Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria
After three successful events in Belgrade (2004, 2006) and Zagreb (2005) we warmly invite you to INTERGEO EAST 2007. In 2007, we will open another (new) market place for you in South-Eastern Europe. Sofia, Bulgaria will host INTERGEO EAST for the first time. The most important forum for product and knowledge transfer in the land management, geoinformation, building industry and environmental sectors will open from 1 – 2 March 2007 at the Inter Expo Center Sofia. The Conference starts on 28 February. With its proximity to the borders with Greece and Turkey, Sofia is the ideal location for INTERGEO EAST 2007.
GITA’s Annual Conference 30
Date: March 4 - 7, 2007
Place: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX USA
GITA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition is the most highly regarded educational event for geospatial professionals. Annual Conference 30 will provide you with better ways to plan, design, manage, and maintain your geospatial systems and operations.
Integrating GIS & CAMA 2007 Conference
Date: March 5 - 8, 2007
Place: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
11th Annual CARIS User Group Conference and Educational Sessions
Oracle Spatial Users Conference
Date: March 8, 2007
Place: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX USA
GITA invites you to attend the Oracle Spatial Users Conference. If you are currently a user, solutions provider, or systems integrator who depends upon Oracle’s spatial technologies, or if you want to learn why thousands of organizations use Oracle’s spatial database and application server capabilities, this is one event you won’t want to miss.
ACSM Annual Conference 2007
Date: March 9 - 12, 2007
Place: Millennium Hotel St. Louis
200 South 4th Street, St. Louis, MO 63102 USA
The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), together with the Illinois Professional Land Surveyor Association (IPLSA) and the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) invite YOU to attend their 2007 Annual Conference and Technology Exhibition.
2007 Indiana GIS Conference
Date: March 13 - 14, 2007
Place: Crown Plaza Hotel and Conference Center
301 S. Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN USA
ESRI Business Partner Conference
Date: March 17 - 19, 2007
Place: Palm Springs, CA USA
ESRI's community of business partners is on the forefront of the GIS solutions and enterprise revolution. These innovative companies are helping drive the future of the GIS industry. Join ESRI and your colleagues in this exclusive opportunity to network and share ideas.
ESRI Developer Summit
Date: March 19 - 22, 2007
Place: Wyndham Hotel and Convention Center
Palm Springs, CA USA
OGC/GITA Emerging Technology Summit
Date: March 21 - 23, 2007
Place: Washington, DC US
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is pleased to announce that the association is partnering with the Open Geospatial Consortium, Wayland, MA, to organize the next in a series of Emerging Technology Summits (ETS IV) .
GIS-T 2007
Date: March 26 - 28, 2007
Place: Nashville Airport Marriott, Nashville , TN USA
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, along with URISA, USDOT, and HEEP, sponsor the annual GIS for Transportation Symposium. It is a chance for persons in government and private industry who are interested in the use of GIS for transportation purposes to get together and share experiences, see state-of-art software, and learn more about this field. It annually attracts about 400 registrants and additional exhibitors.
GIS Evolutions 2007 
Date: March 27 - 28, 2007
Place: Swissotel Sydney, 68 Market Street, Sydney , Australia
From environmental impact assessment and emergency response, to Australia’s biggest road construction project and the introduction of Google Earth, ‘GIS Evolutions’ 2007 reflects the gradual expansion of GIS use from fringe to enterprise-wide applications, and promises to be as fascinating and invaluable as ever.
9th Crime Mapping Research Conference
Date: March 28 - 31, 2007
Place: Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA USA
The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial data analysis techniques have become prominent tools for analyzing criminal behavior and the impacts of the criminal justice system on society. Classical and spatial statistics have been merged to form more comprehensive approaches in understanding social problems from research and practical standpoints.