September 29, 2008
2008 National HAZUS Conference Update
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

2008 National HAZUS Conference Update

By Susan Smith

This year the 2008 National HAZUS User Conference was held concurrently with the ESRI User Conference 2008 in San Diego. Not surprisingly, with the largest GIS user conference in town, the HAZUS User Conference attracted nearly 400 registrants from government, research and academia, nonprofit organizations, the private sector and the international community.

There has been much discussion in GIS circles about how communities can manage the risk to life and limb caused by predicted natural disasters. As a response to that discussion, FEMA developed HAZUS as a planning and risk assessment tool to enable communities to estimate risk in their communities before a disaster strikes. “By being proactive and adopting HAZUS, communities become well equipped with quantifiable losses that tell them what they need to do and what they can expect to help their citizens when there is a disaster,” explained Eric Berman, HAZUS program manager. HAZUS-MH is a free tool that combines science, engineering and mathematical modeling with GIS technology
(ArcGIS 9.2 with Service Pack 5) to estimate potential losses of life and property—and displays those losses on a map. In addition, the product calculates, maps and displays the impacts to the physical, social, and economic climate of a community as a result of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricane winds and floods.

At the top of the agenda at this year’s conference was a discussion of the Comprehensive Data Management System (CDMS) which simplifies and streamlines the process of updating and managing statewide datasets. The topics of CDMS and web-based portals are a major breakthrough for HAZUS users this year, and were reflected at the conference with an educational session and hands-on workshop for attendees to learn how to bring the technology to their own states. “Because disasters transcend county lines” said Eric Berman,?? “It’s important to have local and county level data accessible to a wide range of decision makers.”

Two states, Florida and South Carolina, are currently developing a web-based portal to facilitate access to CDMS and enable the use of statewide or county data to carry out risk assessment and mitigation planning. CDMS is available on the

In order to apply for hazard mitigation grant program funds, states and local jurisdictions must develop a mitigation plan, according to federal law. Hazard mitigation planning helps communities earmark the most effective policies, tools and actions to decrease risk and the subsequent potential for losses in the community. HAZUS provides a valuable foundation for developing these mitigation plans and policies, and is ultimately invaluable to decision-making at all government levels.

When mitigation plans are developed, HAZUS beneficiaries can answer questions like “How many homes would be lost if this hurricane makes landfall as a Category 3?” according to Berman.

The aspects of loss estimation that are analyzed by HAZUS include:
  • Physical damage to residential and commercial buildings, schools, critical facilities, and infrastructure
  • Economic loss, including lost jobs, business interruptions, repair and reconstruction costs
  • Social impacts, including estimates of shelter requirements, displaced households, and population exposed to scenario floods, earthquakes and hurricanes
    Data used for the HAZUS flood risk model include the following:
  • ESRI's ArcGIS
  • Microsoft's MS SQL Server
  • SAP's Crystal Reports
  • FarPoint's Spread control
  • Dunn and Bradstreet
  • U.S. Census
  • FEMA publicizes to communities that HAZUS is a planning tool that offers users the opportunity to learn to use HAZUS and to be able to use it on an ongoing basis, as technology and local data changes. The HAZUS training program is designed to put the tool into the hands of the local decision maker so communities can have control of their own community actions.

    FEMA is in partnership with EMI for the resident training course, and FEMA is in partnership with ESRI for the Virtual courses as follows:

    HAZUS Resident Training Program: HAZUS offers 3 ½ day resident training classes at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, MD. Courses provide instruction in all steps of the loss estimation process, from inventory verification and improvement to running a loss analysis; how to use HAZUS results for mitigation, as well as for comprehensive planning, response, and recovery activities; data management; and useful GIS concepts. Emergency managers, GIS specialists, geologists, state and local planners, consultants, and all those involved in risk assessment activities benefit from HAZUS training.

    Enrollment Requirements: Course enrollment for the HAZUS-MH curriculum is at no cost for Federal, state, and local community officials. Complimentary housing considerations can be made for state and local community officials. Contact your state training officer to see if you qualify. Course participants are responsible for the cost of meals. Required meal tickets are approx. $20 per day and include breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Quote from HAZUS training course:
    Intro to ArcGIS for HAZUS-MH Users held February 25, 2008 at EMI: “Everything I learned, I learned how and WHY I need to use that skill. Probably the most informative class I have taken.” – Anonymous student

    HAZUS Web Training: HAZUS also offers Web training courses from ESRI’s Virtual Campus.

    *ESRI bundles ArcView and Spatial Analyst for state and local governments FREE for 60-day period, and then users must purchase software from ESRI.

    Top News of the Week announces that a new market research report related to the Telecommunication industry is available in its catalogue.
    World Global Positioning Systems Market This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Global Positioning Systems in Millions of US$. The major end-use applications analyzed are Land-Based Applications (In-Vehicle Navigation, Consumer Applications, Survey/Mapping Applications, & Tracking/Machine Control Applications), OEM Applications, Aviation Applications, Marine Applications, Military Applications, and Timing Applications. The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of World. Annual forecasts are provided for each region for the period of 2000 through 2015. The report profiles 137 companies including many key and niche players worldwide such as Fei-Zyfer, Inc., Furuno USA Inc., Garmin International, Inc., Hemisphere GPS, ITT Corp Space Systems Division, KVH Industries, Inc., Lowrance Electronics, Inc., Magellan Navigation, Inc., Mio Technology, NavCom Technology, Inc., Navman NZ Ltd., NovAtel, Inc., Orolia, Raytheon Systems Co., Rockwell Collins, Inc., SiRF Technology Holdings, Inc., Sokkia Co. Ltd., Symmetricom, Inc., TomTom International BV, Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc., and Trimble Navigation Limited. Market data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary research.
    Company profiles are mostly extracted from URL research and reported select online sources.


    Trimble announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of RolleiMetric from
    Rollei GmbH of Braunschweig, Germany in an all-cash transaction. RolleiMetric is a leading provider of metric camera systems for aerial imaging and terrestrial close range photogrammetry. Closing of the transaction, anticipated at the beginning of the fourth quarter, is subject to certain closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    TeleNav, Inc. announced the availability of TeleNav GPS Navigator on Telcel mobile phones in Mexico. Telcel customers in select cities now have access to turn-by-turn, GPS-enabled driving directions directly from their BlackBerry 8800 and BlackBerry Curve 8310 smartphones.

    Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd. , one of China's leading fabless semiconductor companies that provides comprehensive mixed-signal system-on-a-chip (SoC) and multimedia digital signal processing (DSP) solutions for portable consumer electronics, announced that it has entered a strategic software agreement with China's leading GPS map provider,
    Ritu Information Systems, Inc. (Ritu) .

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    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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