DHS Earth used for infrastructure protection

The Homeland Security Department has developed DHS Earth, a geospatial mapping and visualization application, to share data related infrastructure protection and improve situational awareness, officials said.

Officials said DHS Earth was built using a Google Earth application. The program is part of DHS’ suite of geospatial visualization and analysis tools named the Integrated Common Analytical Viewer (iCAV). The iCAV is managed by DHS’ Office of Infrastructure Protection.

Michael Clements, the branch chief of the Office of Infrastructure Protection’s Infrastructure Information Collection Division, said recently the application can be used for operational planning and situational awareness to support state and local intelligence fusion centers. He said some examples of the tool’s uses so far include plume modeling for a volcano near Anchorage, Alaska, and mapping President Barack Obama’s pre-inaugural train ride to Washington.

Clements discussed the application at a recent event at Google headquarters in Washington.    

DHS officials say the application allows the department's partners to access infrastructure data and have better situational awareness by creating real-time visualizations. They also say the application allows the fusion of infrastructure and spatial information so authorities can visualize the homeland security environment in a real-world context.

A DHS spokeswoman said the program was not connected to the National Applications Office. That program, which has been controversial, would create a clearinghouse run by DHS through which civilian agencies could request intelligence satellite imagery for domestic purposes.

The spokeswoman added that DHS does not intend to make DHS Earth a clearinghouse for satellite imagery. The department's current plans are to use the unclassified and classified versions of DHS Earth exclusively for infrastructure protection activities and operations.

DHS says DHS Earth:

  • Allows geospatial data to be exchanged in real time.
  • Gives homeland security data a geospatial context. 
  • Gives capabilities for the integration of rapid standards-based integration.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Tue, Feb 24, 2009 Editor

Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any pubically available links to DHS Earth.

Tue, Feb 24, 2009 Nikolay Todorov California

HAZUS-MH and DHS Earth integration -- interesting idea! Any links to see what DHS Earth is like or how it differs from Google Earth?

Fri, Feb 20, 2009 Daniel Dubno New York

This is a terrific opportunity for DHS managers and for those in the emergency management field. The great thing about Google Earth is that it serves as a base for overlaying a near-infinite number of geospatial resources... and the ability to share critical data with disaster managers and the public is critical. One thing disaster managers shouldn't forget is that the mainstream media is a critical player in the transmission of information in all aspects during a disaster. They must be allowed to be part of the process... and good disaster managers understand how important a role conventional media plays in informing everybody. Keep them in the loop!

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