Before disaster strikes, FEMA looks to predict severity of calamity

Will the bloated Mississippi River inundate scores of bridges and other infrastructure in the South as the flood crest snakes its way toward the delta region? The Federal Emergency Management Agency has summoned the expertise of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to help predict the potential for disaster, writes Nextgov’s Bob Brewin.

NGA is providing IT data and analysts to determine the effects of the swelling river on bridges, roads, railways, power plants, schools and other elements of the infrastructure, Brewin writes.

Using NGA’s imagery, FEMA can view details at a resolution as fine-grained as one foot, Brewin writes. NGA’s systems can show the effects of a disaster, such as last month’s tornado outbreak in Alabama, on a region in addition to predicting potential impending calamities. The data comes from the agency’s Homeland Security Infrastructure Program, which NGA created in 2001 to speed response times to U.S. disasters.

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