GIS maps in Mississippi and other areas ravaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita have aided in planning and recovery efforts. Source: ESRI
GIS maps in Mississippi and other areas ravaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita have aided in planning and recovery efforts. Source: ESRI

GIS aids in hurricane relief

The American Red Cross is turning to GIS technology to aid in relief efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Computer mapping, spatial analysis, and GIS Web services have helped the agency manage and distribute food, clothing, and housing. In addition, workers have used the technology to set up shelters, manage staff housing, and provide meals.

“The types of work we do using GIS would have been very slow-moving without the technology,” said Greg Tune, lead program manager for disaster management and GIS with the Red Cross.

ESRI provided onsite staff and resources to build upon an existing GIS system. Workers employed GIS maps for preplanning and response; personnel, equipment, and supplies were strategically placed and planned prior to landfall. Before and after the event, staff generated thousands of maps, used throughout the organization.

One product involved in the effort is ArcGIS, an integrated collection of GIS software products. The framework enables users to deploy GIS data in desktops, servers, the Web, or mobile devices to store geospatial information, and manage assets and facilities. When coupled with the system's basic geodatabase, operators can assemble intelligent GIS systems and customize them for their specific needs. ESRI.

Updated database models

The Cityworks asset maintenance management product now includes geodatabase models for facilities, parks, and trees; water, wastewater, and stormwater; streets, signs, and traffic; and treatment plants. The models are used to define an agency's assets and store spatial information relating to the assets. The program also supports data models from ESRI, Miner & Miner, Multi-Speak, and other providers. The program can be deployed to manage a wide range of assets, including transportation, oil/gas, utilities, and telecommunications. Azteca Systems Inc.

Customizable system

GEODATAengine and GEODATAdesktop enable customization of ArcGIS-based systems. GEODATAengine gives users multiple geodatabase connections, and it delivers viewing and editing functionality for geodatabase fields, with no redundant data entry. Other features include the ability to automatically create new fields in from the geodatabase, geocoding, maps in reports, and maps in the citizen request module, CALLdirector. GEODATAdesktop provides flexible forms inside the GIS system; it also gives users the ability to manage pavement, sewer, and water utilities. Cartê-Graph Systems Inc.

Zoning planning tool

Zoning Analyst is designed to assist planning departments in daily land use and zoning decisions. It gives users with limited GIS experience the ability to manage zoning and land-use cases and improve the department's efficiency. It includes a feature that tracks the status of each case, automated summary reports, enhanced search tools, full case management and organization functionality, identification of protesting property owners, and automated generation of council agendas. In addition, it provides a link to word processing software to assist in creation of letters, envelopes, and mailing labels for public notification. Geographic Information Services Inc.

Data collection for GIS

The MobileMapper CE handheld GPS mobile mapping device has an open-platform design with embedded Microsoft Windows CE .NET. It supports Windows CE software for GIS and other mobile mapping applications. Features include sub-meter GPS positioning, integrated Bluetooth wireless technology, touchscreen, field-replaceable battery, and built-in alphanumeric keypad. The rugged, economical unit also has a fully integrated, 14-channel GPS receiver that lets it offer real-time, sub-meter positioning accuracy through WAAS/EGNOS or external differential corrections. In addition, it provides multipath mitigation optimized to handle rough terrain and dense foliage. Thales Navigation Inc.

Image processing software

Two tools designed for use with ArcGIS v9.1 provide image processing and stereo feature collection capabilities: Image Analysis helps users prepare and create GIS-ready imagery from airborne sensors, extract information from imagery, and analyze imagery for derivation of spatial and non-spatial information. It permits GIS professionals to extract up-to-date information from imagery directly into a multi-user geospatial database. Stereo Analyst is a stereo 3-D feature collection tool that enables users to create and maintain accurate GIS data and information, with the ability to create, update, and store data directly into a geospatial database. Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging.

Handheld data collection

The GeoXH receiver delivers sub-foot accuracy for GIS data collection and mapping. It incorporates an accurate GPS receiver inside a rugged handheld computer and is suitable for use by water and wastewater personnel, land reform projects, electric/gas utilities, and in other applications where positioning is crucial. The embedded H-Star technology incorporates advanced GPS receiver design and improvements in its field and office software for optimal accuracy. With the addition of an external Zephyr antenna, the product can achieve 8-inch postprocessed accuracy. Trimble Navigation Ltd.