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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management 3 Emergency Management Framework Intervention to address disasters has evolved through time into a complex policy subsystem, and disaster policy is implemented through a set of functions known as emergency management and response. Modern approaches to emergency management and response involve multidimensional efforts to reduce our vulnerability to hazards; to diminish the impact of disasters; and to prepare for, respond to, and recover from those that occur. These responsibilities present formidable challenges for governments because of the extraordinary demands disaster events impose on the decision-making systems and service delivery infrastructure of the communities they affect. Moreover, by definition an event constitutes a disaster if it exceeds the capacity of the government or governments in whose jurisdiction it occurs. Dealing with disaster therefore requires outside resources. In the context of a federally structured government, when the capacities of government jurisdictions at lower levels are overwhelmed, higher levels are called upon to assist, by either supporting or supplanting the activities of the subordinate jurisdictions. Likewise, assets and capabilities in the corporate and nongovernmental sectors may be brought to bear. As a result, emergency management and response are intrinsically intergovernmental, cross-sector policy implementation challenges. Also, since disasters dramatically affect our physical, social, and economic geography, geospatial requirements and capabilities are embedded throughout this complex system. This chapter describes the key characteristics of disasters and the conventional phased approach to their management, with particular attention to geospatial needs and functions.
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management 3.1 THE CONTEXT OF DISASTERS The paramount goal of disaster management activities is to reduce, as much as possible, the degree to which a community’s condition is worsened by a disaster relative to its pre-disaster condition. There are many actions undertaken by participants in disaster management that support this goal both pre-disaster (to forestall or reduce potential damage) and post-disaster (to recover from actual damage), and ideally these activities would reduce the potential effects of a disaster to the point of elimination. Yet the very nature of disasters makes this ideal unachievable. There are five major characteristics of disasters that make them hard to overcome (for a more detailed explanation, see Donahue and Joyce, 2001; Waugh, 2000): Disasters are large, rapid-onset incidents relative to the size and resources of an affected jurisdiction. That is, they harm a high percentage of the jurisdiction’s property or population, and damage occurs quickly relative to the jurisdiction’s ability to avert or avoid it. They may also directly impact the resources and personnel available to respond. As a result, response to disasters evokes a profound sense of urgency, and coping with them drains a jurisdiction’s human resources, equipment, supplies, and funds. If pre-incident data are available, geospatial analysis can provide important insight into the nature and extent of changes wrought by disasters. Disasters are uncertain with respect to both their occurrences and their outcomes. This uncertainty arises because hazards that present a threat of disaster are hard to identify, the causal relationship between hazards and disaster events is poorly understood, and risks are hard to measure—that is, it is difficult to specify what kind of damage is possible, how much damage is possible, and how likely it is that a given type and severity of damage will occur. Geospatial models can help predict the locations, footprints, times, and durations of events, and the damage they may cause, so that jurisdictions can better prepare for them. Risks and benefits are difficult to assess and compare. Disasters present emergency planners, emergency managers, and policy makers with countervailing pressures. On the one hand, it is important to minimize the exposure of populations and infrastructure to hazards; on the other, people want to build and live in scenic, but hazard-prone, areas and often oppose government regulation. Further, how should the various levels of government address the balance between providing relief to the victims of disasters and the need or desire to avoid encouraging risk-accepting behavior; also, to what extent should the costs of such behavior be shifted from those who engage in this behavior to the larger population? While
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management most agree that response assistance should be provided to those who have suffered from a disaster, questions arise as to whether insurance for those in risk-prone areas should be subsidized by the federal government and to what extent repeated damage should be compensated (for example, by paying for rebuilding the same house after a second or third flood). An important component of this issue is the accuracy of risk assessment. Geospatial data and tools are invaluable in making the necessary assessments of the geographic distribution of risk and in estimating the quality of each assessment. Disasters are dynamic events. Disasters evolve as they progress, and they change in response to human actions and natural forces. This makes it imperative that response strategies be flexible and argues for the value of analysis in helping responders understand and adapt to the changing conditions they face. Managing these phenomena can thus be a highly technical endeavor requiring specialized expertise for both policy development and policy implementation. In particular, geospatial data and tools can help incident managers to visualize the event over time, track the activities of responders, and predict the outcomes of various courses of action. Disasters are relatively rare. Most communities experience few, if any, disasters during the average time in office of a political official or the average time of residence of a citizen. Thus, many communities are unlikely to have recent experience with disasters, and governments may feel little imperative to build their disaster-management capacity, even if the hazards are real and the risks formidable (Waugh, 1988). More obvious and immediately pressing public service concerns readily displace disaster preparedness as a priority. Specialized capabilities, such as geospatial data and tools, are especially vulnerable to budget cuts and resource reallocation. These inherent qualities of disasters leave governments in a quandary about what to do to manage them. More specifically, the magnitude, scope, uncertainty, dynamism, and infrequency of disasters give rise to some important questions: How can we increase the resilience of communities to disasters— for example, by adding levees, raising the elevation of the living floor in homes, or imposing zoning regulations? How can we reduce the impact of disaster events—for example, through more effective warning systems or better evacuation plans? How can we most effectively provide assistance to those who have been affected—through development of a common operating pic-
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management ture and common situational awareness shared by all emergency responders or through better search-and-rescue procedures? Thus, we face both policy issues and practical challenges as we work to reduce the risk to which our populations are exposed and to protect people and infrastructure. Almost every emergency preparedness and response challenge has important geospatial aspects, and effective emergency management thus requires adroit use of geospatial data and tools. To address these and other issues and challenges, the emergency services professions have specified a host of activities aimed at assuaging the losses that disasters inflict. The degree to which these activities have been identified, assigned to responsible parties, and coordinated has evolved over time into a broad framework first defined in a 1979 National Governors Association report on its study of emergency preparedness (National Governors Association, 1979). This approach, known as Comprehensive Emergency Management, specifies four phases of modern disaster management: preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Each of these phases levies particular demands on emergency managers and responders, and each can be informed and improved by the application of geospatial data and tools. These phases follow one another in a continuous cycle, with a disaster event occurring between the preparedness and the response phases, as shown in Figure 3.1. For additional explanation of the emergency management process, see Waugh (2000) and Haddow and Bullock (2003). 3.1.1 Preparedness Preparedness involves activities undertaken in the short term before disaster strikes that enhance the readiness of organizations and communities to respond effectively. Preparedness actions shorten the time required for the subsequent response phase and potentially speed recovery as well. During this phase, hazards can be identified and plans developed to address response and recovery requirements. Disaster plans are often developed by individual agencies, but one challenge of disasters is that they demand action from agencies and organizations that may not work closely together from day to day. Thus, plans are much more effective when developed collectively by all agencies that will be responding so that resources and responsibilities are coordinated in advance. Also during the preparedness phase, training and exercises may be conducted to help prepare responders for real events. These vary from conceptual discussions to more formalized tabletop exercises (TTXs), during which neither people nor equipment is moved, to field exercises (FXs), which simu-
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management FIGURE 3.1 Emergency management cycle. late real events. As with planning, training and exercises may be conducted by agencies in isolation, but they are more powerful when conducted jointly so that interfaces can be resolved. Perhaps the most important result of joint planning and exercising is the relationships developed between those who will be involved in response. In the best instances, these processes develop trust among those who will be called upon to work together during an event. From the geospatial perspective, preparedness objectives include identifying data requirements, developing data sets, and sharing data across agencies. This includes activities as basic as developing framework data and foundation data on infrastructure, hazards and risks, location of assets that are of use for response and recovery (sand bags, generators, shelters, medical resources, heavy equipment, breathing apparatus, chemical spill response units, etc.), determining (if possible) common standards for data, making potentially difficult decisions about attributes, and compiling necessary metadata. Preparedness is greatly facilitated when all potential responding entities are working with the same data sets for the same features. Decisions also must be made as to whether data will be accessed from single sources or whether they will be hosted by some or all of the agencies involved in the response. Discussions about how
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management geospatial support will be provided (each agency supporting its own geospatial work or some form of sharing of human resources) should occur. Applications, such as web servers and services and databases related to specific recovery and response activities, should be developed. Decisions should be made about how data are to be reported (times, units, method, format), which agencies will be preparing reports, and where the data and information are located and how and by whom they can be accessed. If imagery is to be used during the response, this is the time to consider user requirements for each mission, imagery that will meet these requirements, whether imagery may meet multiple requirements, what steps will facilitate the acquisition of this imagery, and how and to whom the imagery will be distributed after it has been acquired. In the preparedness phase, geospatial tools can be used to display the distribution of hazards and risks as they exist now and risks as they may exist under different future development scenarios. This enables local and regional planners to work with emergency managers to plan for more sustainable futures through the avoidance or mitigation of higher-risk alternatives. For example, evacuation routes can be planned based upon demographics, capacity of existing roads, and traffic volume as a function of day and time. Models of event scenarios can be used either in the development of single- or multiagency response plans or as part of exercises designed to test agency preparedness and the adequacy of those plans. The scenarios are essential in developing the master scenario events lists (MSELs) that enable exercise designers and controllers to test critical aspects of response plans and to develop additional modifications of the course of events during an exercise. Models also can be used prior to the actual impact of an event (pre-landfall for hurricanes or prior to flood crest) to estimate potential numbers of fatalities, injuries, and damage to infrastructure, so that responding agencies can initiate activities as soon as it is safe to move into the impacted area. Wind-speed models for hurricanes can be used to estimate the extent of expected damage to buildings. Energy-infrastructure damage models can be used to estimate the likely extent of damage to the distribution grid, and water- and ice-demand models can be used to estimate initial daily demand for these commodities. 3.1.2 Response Response activities are undertaken immediately following a disaster to provide emergency assistance to victims. The response phase starts with the onset of the disaster and is devoted to reducing life-threatening conditions, providing life-sustaining aid, and stopping additional damage to property. During this phase, responders are engaged in a myriad of ac-
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management tivities. As examples, search-and-rescue efforts are made to find individuals who may be trapped in buildings, under debris, or on roofs; basic commodities such as water and ice are distributed to affected populations; temporary power and shelters are established and provided; and fires and spills or leaks of hazardous materials are controlled. Although this phase is considered to begin when disaster strikes, not all disasters occur suddenly and without warning—sometimes onset is slower or anticipated, in which case response overlaps with the preceding preparedness phase and may include proactive steps such as warning and evacuation. Likewise, this phase has been defined historically as lasting 72 hours, but a clear end point for this period is difficult to define. It transitions into the recovery phase, and in reality response and recovery may overlap, especially during large, complex incidents. Geospatial information and analysis are critical inputs to incident management and tactical decision making. Activities during this period include image acquisition, processing, analysis, distribution, and conversion to information products. Other geospatial data also must be collected, collated, summarized, and converted into maps, reports, and other information products. While sophisticated imagery and analysis are valuable to the response effort, the products most in demand are maps, including, for example, maps of the impact area and of the extent of damage; the locations of population in the impact area; the locations of assets to be used in the response, including inventories of critical supplies such as potable water and ice, temporary roofing material, medical supplies, and generators; maps of the area without power and of the timing of the return of power; and maps of road and bridge closures and downed power lines. Beyond this, products must also be useful and usable, which means that quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures and accurate metadata are essential. Attention must be given to reducing errors that arise when data are collected by different entities, or at different times, and then integrated into information products. Agreements need to be made regarding data reporting intervals and times, and data have to be time-stamped accurately. Finally, generation of data, information, and products is only part of the challenge—these must then be distributed to those who need them to do their jobs. Geospatial data are often voluminous, and this is especially true of imagery, which may amount to hundreds of megabytes or even gigabytes. Moving such volumes of data over networks that may have been partially disabled can be problematic, and Internet access to data repositories often fails. Firewalls and other security software installed on networks can also pose problems for the distribution of data and can significantly slow response. Agencies have often had to resort to physical distribution of CDs (compact discs) and other digital media during the response phase.
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management During the response phase immediately following an event, but prior to good information being available either from remote-sensing sources or from reporting on the ground, geospatial models can be used to provide damage estimates (e.g., immediately after an earthquake). Alternatively, real-time data from in situ monitoring can be used with geospatial models to determine conditions during an event, such as the use of real-time stream gauge data to issue flood warnings or the use of Doppler radar data, which results in the issuance of public warnings for severe thunderstorms and tornadic activity. While both imagery and verified reports from the impact area will eventually replace and refine the information provided by models, the latter may be the best source of information for several days after the onset of the disaster. Use of dynamic models can help guide and improve response; for example, the wildfire community makes extensive use of real-time and near-real-time geospatial modeling of wildfire behavior for logistical support. Display functions remain important at this time, showing the location of damage to specific infrastructure components (e.g., the transportation and energy infrastructure) as well as the severity of damage and other specific information (e.g., damage to roofs, temporary repairs, and energy grid restoration planned during the next 24 hours). Accomplishing all of these tasks is admittedly a substantial challenge in the earliest stages of disaster response, when demands are urgent and requests are voluminous. Poor products can have serious negative ramifications for response and recovery operations, however. For geospatial professionals to perform well in this environment, they must be able to rely on good training, relevant exercise experience, and sound standard operating procedures. 3.1.3 Recovery Recovery includes short- and long-term activities undertaken after a disaster that are designed to return the people and property in an affected community to at least their pre-disaster condition of well-being. In the immediate term, activities include the provision of temporary housing, temporary roofing, financial assistance, and initial restoration of services and infrastructure repair. Longer-term activities involve rebuilding and reconstruction of physical, economic, and social infrastructure and, ultimately, memorializing the losses from the event. Geospatial activities during recovery include the use of geospatial information and analysis to help managers direct the recovery process, including the urban search-and-rescue grid and status, tracking the progress of repairs, provision of temporary water and ice, locating populations,
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management identifying sites for temporary housing and services, and showing the operational status of hospitals and clinics. An important task is capturing and archiving data collected as part of the disaster, along with copies or descriptions of the procedures that were used to turn those data into information and to distribute the information, and documentation of lessons learned from the disaster. These data can be used to inform mitigation planning and research about disaster processes. Too often, however, archiving is given short shrift and valuable data are lost. 3.1.4 Mitigation Mitigation includes those activities undertaken in the long term after one disaster and before another strikes that are designed to prevent emergencies and to reduce the damage resulting from those that occur, including identifying and modifying hazards, assessing and reducing vulnerability to risks, and diffusing potential losses. In short, it is a set of sustained activities designed to reduce the impacts of future disasters. Mitigation involves implementing policy changes and new strategies. Some of these activities may be structural in nature, such as changing building codes (e.g., to require that residential buildings be able to resist sustained wind speeds of 150 miles per hour [mph] rather than 120 mph, to require fastening roofs to bearing walls). Mitigation measures also can be nonstructural. For example, zoning can be used to preclude development in areas that are subject to risk from a hazard. Geospatial assets can inform mitigation planning in important ways, perhaps most importantly the opportunity to visualize and measure the effects of alternative mitigation plans. Simulation models (e.g., to model the inundation area that will result from various stream elevations with and without the presence of levees or to predict the propagation of hazardous materials in the atmosphere) can help planners make redevelopment decisions. Geospatial analysis can support benefit-cost analysis by comparing the cost of changes (such as new construction requirements) to estimates of the savings that result when a hazard is mitigated. Geospatial tools are of particular benefit due to their ability to permit the evaluation of multiple alternatives relatively rapidly. 3.1.5 Additional Comments The cycle shown in Figure 3.1 is clearly simplified, since events can occur at any time and may overlap. Different organizations come into play in different phases, creating a complex web of interactions. Recovery and mitigation may not be complete before another event occurs, and the
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management necessary funds to support them may not be fully available prior to the next event. Further, as the ability to organize multiagency efforts continues to improve, some of the actions that have traditionally been thought of as recovery activities are now beginning at essentially the same time as the response. In theory, preparedness should reduce the time from the initiation of response to the end of recovery. Mitigation should reduce the cost of future disasters of the same type at the same location, and lessons learned should be incorporated into planning and mitigation in other areas, thereby reducing impacts elsewhere. A modification of this paradigm is used for acts of terrorism where awareness, detection, deterrence, and prevention are seen as the key elements in reducing or eliminating the impacts or even the occurrence of events. Specific emergency management activities may differ for those described above as they are influenced by the intelligence and security communities, but the sequence is analogous to that followed for natural disasters and has elements that parallel what is required for technological disasters. For these events, intelligence must be collected about risks posed by individuals and groups that may seek to harm people or critical infrastructure. In parallel to preparedness and mitigation, techniques are developed to deter or reduce the effectiveness of attacks so that the consequences are reduced. In ideal cases, populations and infrastructure are rendered invulnerable to attacks. Again, geospatial data and tools can be used to show conditions at particular points in time. It is possible to model the consequences of various forcing mechanisms (attacks rather than wind speed or flooding) on the existing infrastructure under a range of response and deterrence mechanisms. 3.2 RELEVANT ACTORS 3.2.1 Emergency Managers and Responders The catastrophic nature of disasters means that all levels of government and all sectors of society share responsibility for dealing with them. In general, disasters are managed through a federal structure of responsibilities and resources, where discretion and authority for management reside with the affected jurisdictions, and where requests for resource support travel upward from those jurisdictions until enough are garnered to stabilize the incident. Table 3.1 identifies the major functions of each level of government during each phase of the disaster management process. It is often said that “disasters begin and end at the local level.” The effects of disasters are felt by people living in communities, and ultimately the efforts of emergency services professionals focus on restoring the health of communities. Disasters are fundamentally local in impact; thus,
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management responsibility for the management of response resides with states and local governments. Local responders provide the first response in communities, focused on initial efforts to save lives and property. As jurisdictions are overwhelmed, neighboring jurisdictions may assist through the provision of mutual aid. Nongovernmental organizations (both private and nonprofit) also supplement response with a range of assistance from providing shelter and food to helping manage donations of money, goods, and services, to tracking and serving populations with special needs. Figure 3.2 describes the sequence of events for response. For larger incidents, impacts can extend to regional or even national levels, as was the case with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, and the Space Shuttle Columbia crash in 2003. If local jurisdictions find they cannot manage the demands of an incident, they turn to their state government for assistance. State emergency managers coordinate local communities, state agencies, assets controlled by the governor (such as the state national guard), and support from other states and the federal government. They assess damage and resource needs, and then obtain and allocate required resources. If the size and scope of the incident warrant, the governor may request a disaster declaration. In the event of a request for a disaster declaration, or if the disaster is national in significance or scope, the President may decide to bring the resources of the federal government to bear. These resources are generally coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the National Response Plan (NRP).1 The NRP “is an all-hazards plan that provides the structure and mechanisms for national level policy and operational coordination for domestic incident management.” It provides the framework for federal interaction with other levels of government and other sectors with respect to all phases of disaster management (preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation) and describes federal capabilities, resources, agency roles, and responsibilities. One critical function of emergency responders at all levels of government is incident management. Incident management refers to the collection of command-and-control activities exercised to prepare and execute plans and orders designed to respond to and recover from the effects of an emergency event. It is usually effected through a functionally oriented incident command system (ICS) that can be tailored to the type, scope, magnitude, complexity, and management needs of the incident and can operate at all levels of government. An ICS is employed to organize and unify multiple disciplines, jurisdictions, and responsibilities on-scene un- 1 http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/NRP_FullText.pdf.
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management List (TCL). The TCL identifies the capabilities required to perform the critical tasks identified in a Universal Task List (UTL), which provides a menu of tasks that may be performed in major events such as those illustrated by the National Planning Scenarios. Among these tasks, some are deemed critical. The UTL and TCL make only scant reference to geospatial data and tools, as follows: Universal Task List. Version 2.1 of the UTL was published in May 2005.22 The UTL identifies approximately 1,600 tasks, of which 300 are deemed “critical.” Critical tasks are defined as “those that must be performed during a major event to prevent occurrence, reduce loss of life or serious injuries, mitigate significant property damage, or are essential to the success of a homeland security mission.” The UTL identifies one geospatially related critical task as part of the emergency management function: “Support identification and determination of potential hazards and threats including mapping, modeling, and forecasting.” The UTL also identifies “common tasks” (i.e., tasks that cut across mission areas). One of the common tasks specified in the UTL is communications and information management, which includes “facilitate the development of geospatial information exchange standards” and “develop and maintain geographic information systems” as subtasks (neither of which is deemed critical). Target Capabilities List. Version 2.0 of this list was published in August 2006 and identified 37 target capabilities.23 The TCL briefly references geospatial capabilities as relevant for four target capabilities: emergency operations center management, animal health emergency support, environmental health and vector control, and triage and pre-hospital treatment. In discussing resources needed for the management of emergency operations centers by cities, geographic information systems and geospatial imagery are listed as required resources to support planning. With respect to investigation of animal health emergencies, the TCL mentions that equipment must be able to enter, store, and retrieve geospatial information from the field and that geographic information systems may be used by epidemiologists to track the progress of an outbreak or to predict the impact of various management strategies. Beyond the federal-level policy and doctrine described above, various other documents codify geospatial requirements. The DHS geospatial 22 Universal Task List version 2.1, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/assessments/hspd8.htm. 23 Target Capabilities List version 1.1 is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/assessments/hspd8.htm. A revised version was published in August 2006 and is available to the emergency response community, although it is not yet publicly available.
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management data model as mentioned earlier was just released in draft form during the writing of this report and therefore is not addressed in detail here. Other examples include national interagency plans and agency-specific plans, which are founded in either statutory or regulatory authorities and tend to pertain to specific contingencies. These plans provide protocols for managing incidents to be implemented by agencies that have jurisdiction, and often operate independent of DHS coordination and the NRP framework. Examples of such plans include, at the federal agency level, the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; the Mass Migration Emergency Plan; the National Search and Rescue Plan; the National Infrastructure Protection Plan; and the National Maritime Security Plan. While the focus in this section has been on DHS and policy initiatives or revisions since September 11, 2001, since these largely define the current disaster management operating environment at a national level, some other long-standing federal policies continue to impact emergency management. For example, in 2000, the Disaster Mitigation Act (DMA 2000, P.L. 106-390) amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the legislation that enables FEMA to provide disaster assistance) to levy new mitigation planning requirements. Notably, however, DMA 2000 makes no mention of geospatial capabilities. In addition, FEMA’s mitigation division manages several programs that focus on risk analysis and reduction. An important example is the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes federally guaranteed flood insurance available to citizens and businesses, promulgates floodplain management regulations to reduce damage, and identifies and maps the nation’s floodplains. Overall, direct reference to geospatial capabilities in federal policies is sparse. While there is general acknowledgement of the role that geospatial data and tools may play in incident response and management, no specific requirements are articulated in the National Response Plan or elsewhere. Further, there is no explicit reference to the role of geospatial data and tools in the pre-incident planning process. As a result, these policy documents offer little guidance or direction to governments in terms of the type or level of geospatial capability they ought to develop, or how these capabilities should be integrated into the broader emergency management architecture. They also provide little incentive for DHS to convene a robust team of geospatial experts that can be deployed rapidly to support field operations. The national disaster response could be significantly enhanced by integration and coordination of the various federal agencies’ geospatial data capabilities and assets. More importantly, certain needs articulated by the user community are unaddressed. One in particular deserves attention: the management
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management and preservation of geospatial data related to major incidents. The National Response Plan specifies that FEMA is responsible for coordinating remote-sensing and geographic information system support. The NRP does not explicitly address the development and maintenance of data archives, however, and as a result such archives are rarely generated.24 Geospatial data sets not only feed basic and applied research but are key to post-incident analysis that can inform future planning and preparedness activities. The time to develop data archives is during an incident; recreating them after the fact is well-nigh impossible. 3.4 GEOSPATIAL DATA NEEDS Mission demands and the organizations that participate in fulfilling them vary across the phases of disaster and across hazard types. As a result, geospatial requirements also vary. Geospatial resources and processes must be able to adapt and respond to follow the contour of these changing demands. During the committee’s deliberations, many individuals and agencies provided lists of the types of geospatial data most likely to be needed during the various phases of emergency response and associated tools and capabilities. Table 3.2 presents a summary of these discussions, showing some of the key user requirements and producer capabilities that were brought to the committee’s attention, across the phases of emergency response. The table is not intended to be comprehensive, definitive, or prescriptive. It illustrates needs and current capabilities, highlighting some that are available versus some that are not. Its objective is to prompt further discussion about technology development and deployment. From this table, some important general categories of user needs stand out. The most prominent requirements for geospatial data and analysis by decision makers are the following: Ability to assess risk and resilience; Pre-incident forecasts about hazard behavior, likely damage, property vulnerability, and potential victims; Decision aids to support recommendations for pre-positioning resources and evacuation; 24 The committee was told that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA agreed following the 2005 hurricane season that FEMA will keep such an archive, and that the Corps will maintain an archive of Corps-developed disaster data.
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management Timely, incident-specific locational information with respect to hazards, damage, victims, and resources, including information such as where people went, what kind of help is needed where, and the location of available resources; Ongoing monitoring of evolving hazards, response efforts, and resource status; and Insight into the interdependence and status of infrastructure components (energy, water, sanitation, road, communications, security systems, etc.) and awareness of critical infrastructure and facility vulnerability and status (refineries, chemical facilities, hazardous waste sites, bridges, tunnels, reservoirs, etc.). 3.5 CONCLUSION This chapter begins with an elaboration of the processes and practices of emergency management and defines its key terms. Key elements of federal emergency management policy have been reviewed from the perspective of geospatial preparedness. Together, Chapters 2 and 3 provide the necessary background for Chapter 4, which presents a systematic review of the major themes underlying and impacting the integration of geospatial data and tools in emergency management, and lays out the committee’s conclusions and recommendations. TABLE 3.2 FOLLOWS
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management TABLE 3.2 Examples of Geospatial Needs and Capabilities Requirements Mitigation Framework data, particularly detailed elevation data Models, information, and analysis that can be used to develop grant guidance, analyze grant proposals, and assess plans Data archive from previous incidents to support research and analysis Research studies that can improve image analysis and inform resource pre-deployment and disaster response approaches Improved understanding of changing environmental conditions post-disaster (e.g., new vegetation or flood maps) Foundation data and imagery that allow for identification and graphic relationships among critical facilities, hazards, and resources Clear understanding of infrastructure inventories, locations, relationships, and interdependencies Risk and hazard maps Ability to communicate with public about risk Effective land-use planning using current local graphic information with incorporated hazards information and GIS decision support tools Public, private, and nonprofit organization client databases Improved understanding of the distribution of target populations at risk Preparedness Critical infrastructure database (including information on high-risk occupancy facilities such as schools, medical facilities, and nursing homes) that includes attribute information Foundation data and imagery that allow for identification and graphic relationships among critical facilities, hazards, and resources Comprehensive geospatial database tied to full demographic profile for communities to yield understanding of populations at risk Detailed geospatial data on the location and characteristics of businesses and the size of their workforce Detailed geospatial data on the location and characteristics of equipment and supply assets as well as human assets Identification of alternate sites for critical facilities Pre-event imagery Pre-plans that include building interior data Database of current resource status and locations (e.g., shelters, vaccines, communications) Shared parcel-level information (linked to tax assessor’s or insurance industry data) Spatial distribution and classification of residential structures by resiliency to hazards Spatial distribution of social support need in at-risk communities Standing annual contracts for geospatial capabilities Sophisticated damage estimation models Redundant data storage in geographically disparate locations
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management Current Capabilities Gaps Digital elevation models developed from ground-based survey or processing of remote-sensing data-LIDAR, photogrammetry, or radar Intelligent query of multiple spatial databases Pre-event and post-event analysis (change detection) using remote-sensing and other geographic data Geospatial analysis of project proposals in line with state policies Visualization technologies that incorporate geographic risk data Land-cover or land-use classification, change detection, and mapping using COTS GIS spatial analytical tools Hazard models from government or commercial sources Comprehensive geospatial database with full attribute data (may not be available in all communities) Modeling capability that determines and describes multiple effects due to dependencies in infrastructure and a single or multiple failures Data to drive these models lacking in many communities Robust, easily understood procedures that identify specific features of interest to emergency response managers in image data Critical infrastructure databases (where they exist) Evacuation models and planning tools, and tools for monitoring traffic flow Government and commercially developed framework mapping and standard COTS GIS products for mapping and spatial analysis Image data from government programs such as the National Aerial Photography program, Google Earth, or commercial providers Independent modeling of hazards impact Land-cover classification for discriminating variation in residential structures using remote-sensing data supported by ground survey Tools for tracking resource movement Optimal location analysis capability in COTS GIS Projected 24/7 population database that estimates population on 1 km grid resolution (ORNL Landscan population database-does not have age attributes) National cadastral database National model or structure to share cost of database development Comprehensive, current, accurate geographic database with census data and full attribute information for all features at the parcel level A robust predictive model for estimating evacuation demographics- who will leave, where will they go, how long will they stay, who will come back-age is an important attribute Incomplete up-to-date imagery (less than 3-5 years old) and detailed elevation data Detailed geospatial data on the location and characteristics of equipment and supply assets as well as human resources
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management Requirements Response Ability to warn the public and notify responders Ability to compare damage with client databases to calculate expected demand Ability to track resource locations and status, including shelter sites Ability to track the activities of public, private, and nonprofit service providers; maps of where current assistance is being provided Rapid identification and categorization of the extent and type of damage over a widespread area, assessment of damage severity, including maps of damage areas and affected populations Common operating picture based on shared geospatial data and analysis and continuous, real-time data about incident, damage, resources Creation of an archive of social, economic, and geographic issues and responses for the incident Detailed information on refugee and stranded demographics especially age and location and maps of needy and underserved areas Robust communication system that supports data transmission from point of service to site of definitive analysis and decision making Understanding of critical infrastructure damage (e.g., road and bridge closures, power outages) Ability to provide coordinate locations for planning and executing search-and-rescue operations
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management Current Capabilities Gaps Shared geospatial databases within individual cities and counties State- or county-funded image acquisition Visualization technologies Application-specific remote-sensing data (i.e., multispectral data for environmental assessment or true-color, off-nadir high spatial resolution for structural assessments) with sophisticated image exploitation tool set Coordinated access to government- developed response database Correlation of individual-level data across data sets Hazard model input to parcel-level geographic database for prediction of at-risk population NOAA and FEMA Public Alert Warning System and reverse 911 Residential structures damage estimation (RSDE) database Robust geospatial analytical capability- COTS GIS, products for mapping and spatial analysis, and the ability to incorporate model output Sophisticated, nearly incident-specific, remote-sensing, image acquisition, and exploitation capabilities The ability to geo-code coordinates to support search-and-rescue operations Rapid dissemination of maps with hazard and victim locations to responders Capability to track the location and characteristics of equipment and supply assets as well as human assets Fleet tracking systems that provide full resource location in a dynamic context (possible but not used) SOPs for remote-sensing and GIS technologies in emergency management agencies Integrated system for real-time reception of remote-sensing data to forward deployed capability Coupled modeling capability to spatial decision support system or simple GIS RSDE system is not integrated with GIS database for real-time automated update Integrated, location-based field data acquisition system linked to central GIS for use by initial response teams and recovery teams Dynamic update of geospatial database content from any approved point in the response activity Assured communication system for geography-specific public alert and feedback from affected population on status and need Coordinated, detailed information on post-incident population movement Rapid damage assessment identifying extent and severity of damage
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management Requirements Recovery Ability to provide information to public about rebuilding and regrowth Ability to track resource locations and status, and the locations and activities of service providers Access to response geospatial database for transition of response to recovery Geospatial tools for land-use planning Identification and analysis of optimal landfill, shelter, long-term housing sites, disaster recovery centers, and recovery team staging areas Integrated monitoring system for recovery operations at the parcel level Maps of how population shifts as a result of disaster—age is an important attribute New information required to issue building permits Remote-sensing acquisitions to monitor recovery progress on a regional basis User-friendly decision support tools to systematically evaluate short-and long-term demands such as allocation of resources, capacity shortfalls, and status of restoration NOTE: COTS = commercial, off the shelf; ORNL = Oak Ridge National Laboratory; SOP = Standard Operating Procedure.
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Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management Current Capabilities Gaps Optimal location analysis using image data, geographic data, and spatial modeling COTS GIS tools for spatial analysis of optimal siting and land-use planning (e.g., landfill, shelter) Commercial or government-provided remote-sensing acquisitions to monitor recovery progress on a regional basis Land-cover or land-use classification, change detection, and mapping using COTS image analysis tools Correlation of individual-level data across data sets Multiple overlay and spatial relationships and comparison Standard COTS GIS products for mapping and spatial analysis (but data may not be available) Fleet tracking or location-based service to tag field activity with a handheld device; used by private sector (e.g., FedEx) but not by FEMA Dynamic models that incorporate real- time geographic data of response activity within a GIS for full understanding of resource use and changing need Coordinated, detailed information on post-incident population movement Simple geocoding capabilities that allows nontechnical staff to provide coordinates for search and rescue operations
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Representative terms from entire chapter: