Saturday, October 06, 2007

GIS: Examining the Little Details for Limitless Potential

A neighbor's home catches fire and a concerned citizen dials the local 911 operator. The operator immediately dispatches the call, but instead of arriving in 10 minutes, the crew runs into traffic at the Popps Ferry/Cedar Lake intersection and is delayed 15 minutes. The neighborhood watches in horror as the family's belongings continue to burn. What if a few technological updates could have allowed the fire crew to reach their call faster? Gulf Coast communities consider implications like these as they rebuild infrastructure for families returning home after Hurricane Katrina and for families looking to make new homes in new counties.

"Communities are changing, people are relocating," said Bob Haywood, long term community recovery ( LTCR ) specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ). "The secondary impacts for other counties are just as critical as the lower three counties addressing direct impacts from the storm."

The LTCR program is about helping communities identify projects they deem critical to long term recovery and quality rebuilding, while re-establishing and even enhancing the quality of life for coastal Mississippi residents.

"LTCR, Geographic Information Systems ( GIS ), FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency ( MEMA ), and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality - we're working together to create a net, a system to help communities rebuild," said Haywood. "The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is required to work with the local governments. They in turn, give information to the state. The state comes to us and we bring everyone together to devise the best solutions tailored to the needs of the specific community."

GIS offers communities a method to identify trends, collect data and evaluate the potential impact of future projects. "GIS is an important tool for managing growth, a phenomenon most areas in South Mississippi are facing," said Anita Mitchell, FEMA GIS specialist. [...continue article]

No comments: