Interagency team studies geospatial preparedness

Interagency team studies geospatial preparedness

An interagency team is developing a comprehensive national strategy for delivering geospatial data to emergency responders.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency formed the team in February because geospatial technology is critical to response and recovery efforts in natural and manmade disasters, said Susan Kalweit, who heads the Interagency Geospatial Preparedness Team.

“Regardless of what causes the incident, the kinds of response and recovery are basically the same,” Kalweit said. Geospatial technology addresses the universally important questions of where the disaster happened and how responders can get to it.

The team will assess the needs and existing capabilities of federal, state and local agencies, Kalweit said. Its capabilities assessment will leverage work being done for the Geospatial One-Stop Portal program, one of the 25 e-government initiatives, and the National Imaging and Mapping Agency’s 133 Cities project, she said.

The assessments will take eight or nine months, but those may not be contiguous months, Kalweit said. Hurricane, wildfire and flooding seasons have started or will begin soon, and workshops the interagency team plans to hold in each of the 10 FEMA regions may have to wait until the threats of natural disasters have abated.

The team is reaching out to state and local governments through the National States Geographic Information Council.

Kalweit, who was deputy chief of NIMA’s North America and Homeland Security Division, is working at FEMA on detail until February.

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