Using Digital Maps to Study Digital Preparedness and History – WNYC


New Tech City: Using Digital Maps To Study Disaster Preparedness and History – WNYC.

Genius!!  Pure genius!  This is a major challenge with disaster preparedness today, and learning lessons from history and previous disasters are essential to minimizing impacts from future disasters.  Case and point NYC… With Hurricane Sandy, the storm surge was referenced as being a record surge.. even higher than the hurricane that occurred in 1821.  This still begs the question – “what if the hurricane of 1821 happened again today… what would the impact be?”  Additionally, as stated in http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/1821-hurricane-struck-new-york-at-low-tide/, the 1821 storm actually struck at LOW tide.. meaning the Category 3 storm then could have produced a tide level even higher than Sandy had it struck 12 hours earlier or later.  Again.. this means for preparedness… “THIS COULD HAPPEN…”   Again, great advances in technology, now we just have to put it together to answer the core questions… what if it happened again today, and how could we be more prepared…

Advertisements

Mapping Severe Weather Probabilities


Have you ever wondered if there are patterns to where and when severe weather occurs in the United States?  There are days where we see tornado watches, severe thunderstorm warnings, reports of high wind, hail and even tornadoes.  But, what if you could see these patterns visually – say for example on a map of the country.  Well, University of Oklahoma Ph.D. candidate Patrick Marsh has just created an incredible set of animations hosted on Youtube depicting daily severe weather probabilities over a 30 year period.

You can read more on Patrick’s most recent posts at the links below:

Surviving the Coming 50% Budget Cuts – Part II


Marc Faber (Link to Business Insider Story)

As reported by the Drudge Report and Business Insider this afternoon, Marc Faber, investor and economist known for his spot-on assessment of the world economy and author of the Gloom, Boom and Doom report told CNBC in an interview on Monday, “The debt burden in the U.S. and other Western countries will continue to increase leading to a “colossal mess” within the next five to 10 years.  Additionally, bureaucracies in the U.S., as well as Europe, are far too big, and are a burden on the economy.”

So, what does he propose as the solution to the problem?  “My medicine for the U.S. is: Reduce government by minimum 50 percent.  The impact would be immediately an improvement in the economy.”

50%  Really???  That’s out of touch.. that’s extreme.. that’s… that’s.. that’s… just the right answer??? Continue reading

Lessons from History… If “You Didn’t Build That” Then Who Did?


“Now, we can look abroad and see large cities, handsome villages, fine fields, and rich gardens. We see good, smooth roads, strong bridges, and well finished houses.”

One of the greatest challenges with humanity is the personal and corporate failure to learn from history.  When we experience a natural disaster, or calamity we often say, “wow, this is the worst event since…” or “I’ve never seen anything like this…”  However when we say such things, we join in on the failure to know and remember history, and to look at the good and the bad. Continue reading

“Worst Drought Since 1956” – A look at what comes next…


This week it’s hard to miss the hundreds of articles and thoughts on the severity of the current drought, and how it is the worst drought in aerial coverage since 1956″

Huffington Post – “The percentage of affected land is the largest since December 1956, when 58 percent of the country was covered by drought, and it rivals even some years in the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s”

LA Times – “The drought gripping the Midwest and about 80% of the country is the most widespread since 1956, stoking massive wildfires and decimating the nation’s breadbasket crops”

UK Telegraph – “The United States is experiencing its widest-spread drought in 56 years, according to a release by the nation’s meteorological agency.”

Continue reading

Radar-Based Maps of the Henryville, IN Storm Tracks


NWS Louisville Statement on the Challenges in Damage Assessment for the Henryville, IN Tornado.

UPDATE: MARCH 6 – The National Weather Service in Louisville has published their initial findings including descriptions of the areas impacted.  That information is available at: NWS Louisville Damage Surveys – March 2, 2012.

Also, I have put together an initial version of an interactive web-map at ArcGIS.com that combines information from the second map below with the damage path information from the NWS in the link above.  The map is accessible at: Web Map of the Henrysville damage path and radar based-storm tracks at ArcGIS.com

ORIGINAL POST: March 4, 2012 – 630pm ET:

The past two days have been full of media reports, tweets and information being shared on the tornado outbreak that occurred on March 2nd, 2012 affecting towns like Henryville, IN.  As you can see from the statement below from the NWS Louisville Forecast Office, there were two supercell storms that impacted the area, with the first one producing the tornado that most people are talking about.  There was in fact a second storm behind the first one that also produced tornadoes and tornadic damage.  To make things more complicated for damage assessment teams, the paths essentially paralleled one another, and even crossed in places, making it difficult to attribute the damage to one storm versus the other.

I’ve put together the following the following map based on the NWS Radar information from the March 2nd tornado outbreak.  The map shows the paths of the two storms and paint the clear challenge that the NWS professionals have in identifying and differentiating between the two damage paths. Continue reading

Storytelling with Weather



I love how maps can be used to tell a story.  This fact just became easier with a recent addition to ESRI’s ArcGIS Online tools.  When you create a web map in ArcGIS Online, you can make it into a web application using a number of templates.  One of the most recent additions is the Tabbed Storytelling template.  There are still a few bugs that need to be worked out (like customizing the “Add Title Here” area), but all in all, it’s a great addition to the templates used by ArcGIS Online.  It took me 45 minutes to an hour to put together the map at the following link.

http://www.arcgis.com/apps/Compare/storytelling_tabbed/index.html?appid=86756c43ae9147ca8baf3581764d0c8f

What’s even more amazing about this is that you can create separate maps that can paint different parts of the puzzle, but it allows you as a user or your customers to view the comparison between the maps.  This is great because it allows individuals to make the logical connections between the maps which ends up in having more people ask additional questions.  These questions drive curiosity but they also tend to stick in people’s minds. Continue reading

Mapping the Zombie Apocalypse


What would you do???

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.

Enter the Zombie Apocalypse… Continue reading

Operational Context – Earthquakes


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.

However, I just recently discovered an incredible post by the US Geological Service (USGS) on the Oklahoma Earthquake.  In this post at http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/oklahoma-struck-by-series-of-quakes/, the following image paints a very clear picture: Continue reading

Maps in the Classroom – Free Resources & Training


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?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to take a look at this free webinar from ESRI called “Teaching with GIS: Introduction to Using GIS in the Classroom“.  You may be thinking, “I’m not a geographer” or even “maps don’t really relate to my subject area”.  Here are some ideas for maps and how they can be used: Continue reading