GIS has long been used to get a handle on complex emergency situations as maps provide a means for a common understanding across diverse disaster response teams. Esri has been working to aid and support local teams through as well as the general public through online tools that map and integrate with social media. Sensors & Systems (S&S) special correspondent Matteo Luccio spoke with Russ Johnson, the director of Public Safety and Homeland/National Security at Esri about their technology for rapid mapping of incidents as well as the ways that they supported first responders and incident commanders in response to the widespread impacts of Hurricane Sandy.
S&S: What are the steps that Esri has taken to offer support for emergency response?
Johnson: Prior to coming to Esri, I was one of the interagency national team incident commanders. I was part of a national incident command system team and we would respond to complex emergencies and provide that level of management for the affected area when we were authorized through the federal government to do that. So, I have a pretty deep understanding of how government first responders and incident management teams organize, what their work flows are, etc. So, here at Esri I have tried to organize our capability in the same general framework that the people who deal with these emergencies use. So, we have a team of people that we stand up when an emergency occurs that mirrors the organizational structure of the incident command system.