Maps as Lifesavers

The following post is from http://ccablog.blogspot.com/. I thought it interesting and relevant to those who read this blog.

WFAA.com (also in the Denton Record-Chronicle and a few other sites; free subscription required for each site) has a story about the work of the GIS Corps in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the role that maps and GIS have played in the locating and resuce of trapped people in need of help. For those of us who work in the field of mapping and GIS, all of this comes as no surprise. But for many others, this is new technology and for some, it is even a source of wonder.From the article: “We're using mapping for distribution sites, shelters, hospital locations, helipads, search and rescue and debris fields,” said Brian Adam, director of the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center. “There is no way we could have made it without our maps.”


My interest in Geography shows up every now and then. My town/county does have a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Department but I have not seen them do any work for any emergency agencies. It would definately be nice to see. Have any of you worked with a GIS team on making sure you have spacial data when needed?


Another great free piece of software is Google Earth. I originally used this when it was owned by a company called keyhole (before Google bought them). It's getting better with each update. I just wish they had better images of my area. Luckily, the local GIS department has their informaion on the web that I can access with 2000 aerial photos as one of the map layers.


Now I just want to get GIS maps on the trucks to give me directions to the scene from wherever I happen to be. I know some services are lucky enough to have that. Maybe someday I'll buy the software and receiver for my personal laptop and just bring it in to try out...yeah, when I have the money for that...(eyeroll)


Blogger Craving A Change said...

My husband and I have one of our laptops set up with software and a GPS; we just plug in the address and go. It's awfully convienent, although I'm afraid we don't use it for anything overly important, mostly just driving around trying to find stuff. :)

I'd think something like this would be a lifesaver for EMS providers (hah pardon the stupid pun); I know a lot of police have spiff computer systems these days.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our county dispatch, in East-Central Indiana, has GIS mapping available to them. The county has arial photography that enables dispatchers to tell responders they are going to, "the green house, second from the corner, on the east side of the street." Seems to help a lot when they have difficulty locating an address.

GIS provides some pretty cool stuff.


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