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The Use of Decision Support Tools and Technology into the NIMS »

Incorporating Decision Support & GIS

I agree full with incorporating GIS even more into the planning and decision making process, as well as into other operations activities.

GIS is not just maps, it's a whole system to manage/analyze data for anything that can have, or be connected in some way to something with a geographic reference.

There are a lot of people out there with an interest in GIS, but there isn't much training available for them (especially in emergency management).

If you find a good GIS operator, it is amazing what kind of information they can generate. Don't just look at them as techs that you can stick in the corner; they need to be included so they can advise on what capabilities there are.

Submitted by cedwards 11 months ago

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(latest 20 votes)

Comments (5)

  1. GIS is a powerful tool! Incorporating the technology should be incouraged when personnel and budgets allow.

    11 months ago
  2. GIS has served emergency management well. GIS can provide the information needed to support decisionmaking before a disaster. During the early response period, emergency managers use GIS as a key intelligence source for the information they need to make decisions. And as the response moves toward recovery, GIS can identify those in greatest need to manage priorities. GIS is widely used for emergency management purposes. FEMA’s Mapping and Analysis Center (MAC) uses GIS to disseminate geographic information to Emergency Support Function (ESF) 5, Information and Planning, during disaster operations. FEMA is expanding its use of GIS to provide a full range of GIS services to all FEMA program offices. Planning encompasses those actions by which team members conduct a risk analysis, develop the EOP, and take actions to develop and maintain a state of readiness. GIS can support detailed operations-level planning, training, and exercising by: Developing and conducting training and exercise programs for GIS Unit staff., Developing lists of detailed GIS data and resource requirements to support emergency management needs., Developing secure and redundant GIS layers of local, city, or county critical infrastructure data, including a DVD set of critical data with integrated data viewing and printing application.

    11 months ago
  3. I agree completely, but don't reinvent the wheel or duplicate effort. Find GIS resources in your organization or mutual aid organizations and start a conversation. It's about building a strong relationship between the GIS and EM/ER communities. The GIS community is very large, diverse, and dispersed. You may find a GIS expert in isolated departments or in a dedicated GIS service unit. Regardless of where they are located, their skills can easily be applied to EM/ER support when needed. They need to learn NIMS/ICS, though, so they understand their role and appropriate protocol.

    9 months ago
    1. Well said and I'd like to stress 'They (GIS) need to learn NIMS/ICS...' Us GIS folks need to have some understanding of EM to better support our EM folks. A lot of us my understand GIS very well but may not know how to apply it to situations we're unfamiliar with.

      9 months ago
  4. Also note the related idea on the U.S. National Grid (USNG):


    Adopting and integrating this national standard is a great conversation to bridge the GIS and EM/ER communities. Both sides need to work together to make it happen. Then it opens doors to build upon it to create better GIS integration overall.

    9 months ago