When we think of mapping using GIS for disasters and emergencies, we think of tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and the like. When we think of education, we often think of the same old off-the-shelf material from a book that we just take and share thinking we’re teaching. However in both cases, we miss out on one of the joys of education. Applying knowledge from one discipline or area to other areas of life…
Many of my followers on Twitter (Follow @emgis on Twitter) and this blog know of the CDC’s preparedness campaign from earlier this year on Zombie Preparedness – “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse“. However most people who are familiar with the preparedness campaign are from the Social Media for Emergency Management (#SMEM hashtag on Twitter) community. Most of them are not GIS people and haven’t seen how Geographic Information Systems (#GIS hashtag on Twitter) can improve our preparedness for Zombies (and for other disasters…) Additionally, the Connected Principals Chat community (#cpchat hashtag on Twitter) could benefit from this post because it provides another way to engage students and parents on a number of levels. You may not use zombies for important information to share, but please take a look at these examples and think of how you can apply this to your discipline and the content that you find important to share with others.
Most of my posts are tied to natural disasters, mapping and bringing together people from various backgrounds to look at connected resources to solve problems facing the world. Sometimes with such serious topics, we can lose sight of the incredible resources that we have with Web 2.0 technology to collaborate and bring together people from diverse backgrounds and interests in order to celebrate even in a world that is all to often chaotic.
Today, I was introduced to the Virtual Choir by Eric Whitacre. The Virtual Choir has performed twice, and Virtual Choir 3.0 will be announced this coming week. Below are several videos from the previous two Virtual Choirs. One of the items that caught my attention was the way that singers were visually connected to one another in Virtual Choir 2.0. They were assembled by country, creating a “map” of the singers showing the countries that were participating in the choir. This type of data visualization is something that I have seen done for tweets, but I had never thought of doing this for individual videos or messages that paint a common picture – like what was done here. Absolute GENIUS! Continue reading →
Today’s post is part 3 of a series on Operational Context (View the other posts in the series here). In this third series, we will be looking at the same questions that we’ve been looking at throughout this series. Today’s post will be looking at rainfall amounts, and is tied very closely to the last post on drought. Essentially, many of the same datasets for extreme rainfall and drought can be used with one another, it’s just that the rainfall data is looking for an absence of rainfall when you’re looking at drought. This will also tie into the next post on Operational Context – Flooding which will be looking at the extreme rainfall events and their impact as the water runs off. So, let’s go ahead and look at today’s theme – extreme rainfall.
There are several ways to measure or estimate rainfall. Most people know about rain gages and using them to measure rainfall (see examples in post on Innovative Ways to Teach the 3 M’s – Math, Maps, Measurement). Rain gages are great for measuring what fell in a specific location, but there will always be gaps in coverage. Rainfall can be enhanced or reduced by terrain or other geographic features, so point data by itself isn’t enough. There are rain gages at major airports, and there are companies with portable weather stations where rainfall can be measured. Additionally, did you know that you can participate in rainfall measurement directly by participating in CoCoRaHS (stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network)? Continue reading →
Day 1 of this series on Operational Context covered earthquakes. The response to the first of this multi-part series was incredible – over 2,000 views of the post from yesterday on earthquakes. I have only been blogging for a few months, so not used to this level of traffic yet, and was completely amazed at the incredible response you’ve given to this series. I’m used to many fewer visitors each day, but then all of a sudden this “extreme event” occurred. Time will tell whether this is a pattern, but it is my hope that you have connected and will continue to connect with the topics that are discussed. Regardless, thank you for taking the time out of your day to learn and share your feedback on my posts.
I share these thoughts on yesterday’s blog activity because it really mirrors the point of this series as well as today’s topic. There are times where we go for a long period of time without major disasters, and other times where we experience event after event one after another. In my home state, we had a record setting earthquake and a major hurricane within a few days of one another. Several years ago, we had back to back major snow storms dumping feet of snow on the many parts of the state. And there are other periods where you may go several years without a major event.
History doesn’t always teaching us lessons in “neat packages” with back to back events to let us lean and immediately apply for the next disaster. This is especially true when it comes to hazards that we face which may rear their ugly head only a few times each generation. Continue reading →
When it comes to earthquakes and being aware / ready for major earthquakes, you might think of the San Andreas Fault, or places like Japan, Chile, China, Mexico or Indonesia.
However in the past year, there have been two extremely significant earthquakes in the United States that were “outliers” from previous events. Both of these were felt over large areas and measured above 5.5 on the Richter Scale.
Within emergency management, we are used to talking about the 4 phases (mitigation, preparedness, response & recovery). In smaller local emergency management agencies, these areas are often covered by the same person. At state and federal levels though, as bureaucracy (by the way the literal definition is “rule by desks”) increases, you begin to have separate people addressing single phases of emergency management. While this can be beneficial at times to address more specific nuances of each phase, this often times leads to “silos of excellence” and the requirement for interoperability because communication quality has been reduced over time.
This often leads to each phase struggling to keep up with emerging trends in the other phases that are really needed in order to accomplish their primary tasks. I will be posting articles on individual hazards (earthquakes, drought, flooding, hurricanes, winter weather, tornadoes,etc).
Key questions that will be raised with each hazard:
Where can I find historical data?
How do historical events compare to current or future expected events?
If there are parallels to history, what previous events are comparable?
If this event is an outlier, how much more significant is it expected to be compared to previous record events?
From those events, what lessons did we learn so as to not repeat the mistakes of history? Continue reading →
Are you looking for ways to share information on music, history, science, the arts, or many other disciplines in new ways? Are you looking for a way to “connect the dots” to present material to your students? Are you in a profession where information silos are prevalent and you’re looking for opportunities to explore and integrate previously disconnected resources?