GEMA/HS Dispatch March 2018 Edition - Page 18

Continued from Pg. 16 “It wasn’t until I saw that map that I realized my house would be flooded by storm surge,” said Radcliffe. “In that moment I realized I didn’t have flood insurance, so I went home and called my agent. Without seeing those maps, I might not ever have known.” Beyond the public accessing data, they can also be an important source of data for emergency planners and response personnel. By self-reporting storm damage with the GEMA/HS Engaged Citizen’s Damage Assessment Geoform on the GEMA/HS Maps/Apps and Information portal, people can make sure officials know about the impact to their area. Someone reporting damage can add photos to the form, which also assists state officials in expediting the federal disaster declaration process. “During Hurricane Irma, we were able to take local storm reports from the National Weather Service, damage reports from individual people uploading photos to the internet and put together a real-time picture of impacts of the storm,” said Bagby. “That type of information was invaluable to local emergency managers because it allowed them to see the big picture and direct resources more efficiently. It was also crucial because it enabled us to create a feed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and allowed them to see the descriptions and photos of the damages being reported.” During Irma GEMA/HS received more than 1,700 damage reports via the geoform. They were able to send those damage reports to local emergency management agencies who were then able to use them as impromptu damage assessment tools, which helped streamline the process. Using GIS may sound like a complex process, but the mapping software utilized by GEMA/HS actually makes it very simple. “If you can use Google maps, you can navigate our GIS information,” said Radcliffe. GIS has shown its value during a disaster, but there are many uses for it in everyday life as well. Crowd- sourced mapping applications use GIS technology, and GEMA/HS is a WAZE Connected Citizen Partner and has access to their data feed. “Whatever you see on a WAZE map you will see in our system too,” said Bagby. “When the I-85 collapse occurred in 2017, WAZE users were reporting information which was then updated on our site.” GIS is a growing field, with many municipal agencies utilizing the technology. GIS can be used as a basis for decisions about where to locate attractions such as museums and monuments. Using traffic circulation data, it could allow city planners to better plan bus routes and help increase exposure for local points of interest. The Georgia Department of Agriculture is even using it to evaluate their inspector staffing levels. “We’re using it to reallocate existing inspectors and reevaluate the need for any additional inspectors around the state,” said Emory Scott Bates, Georgia Department of Agriculture GIS Specialist. “Plugging in the data and being able to visualize it makes it easier to see exactly where the need is, and address it.” There are a variety of computer programs used in GIS which are taught as part of the course of study at several of Georgia’s universities. Some are even going beyond traditional mapping products and merging GIS with other disciplines to create innovative products used in city planning. “At Savannah College of Art and Design they are using geodesign to show how architecture fits into the landscape of the city,” said David Anderson, GIS Specialist with Chatham County Department of Engineering and Chairman of the Georgia GIS Committee. “Th 2FW2&F&6FV7GW&RBt2@vfW2W'2VVRW'7V7FfRvVFV6FpvBF'VB( ФFG&W76rVVG2rBf7VƗrPt2'FBFVWr6VFW0VvvVB&FGW&rFFFW&F2@F67FW'2vFFRFV6wBW"fvW'F06'GRr2t22'BbW WfW'FƗfW2BvfW2tT2VFvRশVWrvV&v26fR'VGV6FrBf&֖pFV66W72FFRtT222@f&F'F6&RfVBBGGvV622&6v26RFWFW'&6R&7V66W727F'GW&rWf7VFW&F2RbFR7@6Vvr&V2FG&626VFW&rvPFR&VB7&72G&62ff66VFW'2琧FW2$vB6&F"6VFW'2B&fFP'W6W76W2"W6W2bv'6&R&FW"FG&6F&VvWBW'&6R&tT2@7FFRB6'FW'2&VvWFFpFW6R6VFW'26VFW"fWvW"FPtT222Bf&F'FFRf&Fv2WFFr&VFRvrVW&vV7vW'2@v&W'2FR7FFRW&F26VFW"FF&V7BVR6VVr6VFW"FFR66W7@6FvWFW"Bv2&VB7&72"v@6&F6VFW"D5D4