NSGIC is forming a “Geospatial Resiliency Task Force” to help discover, document and inform our members and our communities in the role that geospatial data and technology can play in this important undertaking.
This blog post is a first step in this effort….
First off, a definition of resilience: “Resilience” as the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.
At all levels of government across our nation communities already have, or are now beginning to recognize the need to become more resilient. Earlier this summer, the Whitehouse and HUD announced a $1 Billion Competition for Disaster Recovery Ideas (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/14/fact-sheet-national-disaster-resilience-competition). The premise behind this initiative is simple: “…as extreme weather events—including heat waves, drought, tropical storms, high winds, storm surges, and heavy downpours—are becoming more severe. In many places these risks are projected to increase substantially due to rising sea levels and evolving development patterns, affecting the safety, health, and economy of entire communities. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy have made it clear that we remain vulnerable to such events in spite of advances in disaster preparedness. American communities cannot effectively reduce their risks and vulnerabilities without including future extreme events and other impacts of climate change in their planning both before and after a disaster, and in everyday decision-making.”
As you can see, resilience is also an important component of sustainability, so here is a simple definition of sustainable communities: “Wikipedia defines this as communities planned, built, or modified to promote sustainable living. Sustainable communities tend to focus on environmental and economic sustainability, urban infrastructure, social equity, and municipal government. …The term is sometimes used synonymously with “green cities,” “eco-communities,” “livable cities” and “sustainable cities”.”
Both resiliency and sustainability and often measured at the community level. From a geographic perspective the impacted community may be local, regional, statewide, national, international or worldwide. The size of the impacted community dictates the scope and scale of the response needed, as well as the geospatial data needed to support a response. Geospatial data and technology already play a critical role in managing and improving our infrastructure, government services, natural resources, environment, and public safety, so an expanded focus on Geospatial Resilience is logical.
Task Force Mission:
Promote public awareness and the effective coordination and use of geospatial capabilities across all levels of government to support decision making on resiliency issues and promote awareness of how States can foster this support.
Task Force Objectives:
1. Identify existing and new partner organizations for NSGIC and States to collaborate with to:
• Leverage our existing geospatial data and technology and developing new geospatial data to help build more resilient communities.
• Educate organizations involved in resiliency about NSGIC and State GIS supporting roles in the issue.
2. Identify and document resiliency challenges that can be better informed through a geospatial lens, for example:
• Disasters, both Natural and Human-exacerbated
• Environmental, such as a Result of Over-development
• Education, Economy and Workforce
• Community and Personal Wealth
• Community and Personal Health
• Infrastructure Lifecycle
• Population Change
3. Establish a list of key data sets for state GIS coordination offices that lend themselves to support resiliency activities.
4. Create a NSGIC issue brief for resiliency.
What’s Next: We will begin posting some resource links and examples showcasing best practices of geospatial resilience, so please contribute your own comments (thoughts, questions, resources, best practices, and ideas) directly through this blog. We also plan to start holding regular web meeting through NSGIC to advance this conversation.
Please Contribute to this Conversation: You do not need to be a member of NSGIC to participate, and any level of participation is welcome. The initial NSGIC leaders for this new task force are Jon Gottsegen, State of Colorado GIS Coordinator; and Phil Worrall, Executive Director of the Indiana Geographic Information Council.