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Sponsor Spotlight: makepath

Equip Your GIS Analysts with Easily Scalable Tools

In this post, makepath will spotlight two tools that are great because they scale well, especially as the scope of a project grows. Scalability is gold in the GIS world.

Xarray-Spatial

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Partner Spotlight: GeoComm

Accurate GIS data is important throughout 9-1-1 emergency response and has a critical role in NG9-1-1 by determining which Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to route a 9-1-1 call to. This process of geospatial call routing enables better accuracy than traditional 9-1-1 systems and can reduce the number of 9-1-1 calls transferred due to misrouted 9-1-1 calls.

For the last 25 years, GeoComm has been working to help GIS and 9-1-1 teams across the country understand the role GIS plays in 9-1-1 and NG9-1-1, empowering them to achieve public safety grade GIS. Our assess, improve, and maintain proven process tackles the common obstacles agencies face when working to implement an NG9-1-1 system. Because the NG9-1-1 services utilized in this approach are simple and straightforward, they are easily adaptable for jurisdictions of all sizes including local, regional, and statewide.

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Partner Spotlight: Fugro

Shining a Light on Change with Recurring Lidar Programs

Our landscape is in a state of constant change. Cities and towns are expanding at a rapid pace, while natural disasters are rearranging rivers, eroding shorelines, and crumbling infrastructure. To effectively manage change, we need geospatial data that is both fit-for-purpose and recurrent, as well as visualization tools to communicate this information to a wide range of stakeholders.

The Value of Recurrent Lidar Data

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Partner Spotlight: Hexagon

The Importance of Geospatial Data Intelligence in Times of a Global Pandemic

As the COVID-19 global pandemic keeps the world on edge and uncertainty has sparked historical volatility in the global markets, there has been ample opportunity to reflect on how location intelligence data can aid reaction, response, and recovery in this unprecedented scenario.

Government customers of Hexagon’s Geospatial division have used its M.App Enterprise platform to develop and implement dynamic monitoring systems to close the gap between location information and critical operations. These maps and dashboards are empowering officials and citizens to make informed decisions about procuring essential items, tracking local infection rates, proposing countermeasures, and communicating the most effective ways to stay safe.

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Partner Spotlight: Dewberry

Power of Partnerships: Standardizing and Streamlining Preliminary Damage Assessments

In 2019, there were 100 major presidentially declared disasters in the U.S. providing recovery assistance to 39 affected states and territories. In order to obtain a presidential declaration, a governor or tribal chief must submit a request to their Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regional office for assistance. This request includes preliminary damage assessment (PDA) information to document the extent of the disaster and its impact on individuals and public facilities. PDA information is used to show that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that supplemental federal assistance is necessary for response and recovery efforts. For severe or catastrophic events, a governor or tribal chief may submit a declaration request prior to performing a PDA.

At Dewberry, we understand that dealing with the aftermath of a disaster is a stressful and trying time. Documenting damages can take time and resources that are better spent focusing on response and recovery efforts. Disasters are increasing in frequency and severity, therefore a streamlined approach to documenting damages makes the process of submitting declaration requests faster—facilitating an expedited recovery process. In partnership with ArdentMC, Dewberry supports FEMA, states, territories, and local agencies to help better quantify and quickly assess damage in an effort to expedite needed aid to impacted communities. We are now helping to facilitate and simplify the PDA process in an effort to decrease assistance timelines. Under this contract work with FEMA, the team is providing subject matter and technical expertise to help standardize collection of incident reported damage assessments in impacted areas using newly designed Esri Survey123 templates. These templates use GIS technology to electronically collect, submit, and validate damage assessment in a standardized and sharable way. The platform being used to manage the data collection is hosted in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) GovCloud region and is accredited by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Utilizing ArdentMC’s AWS competency in public safety and disaster response, coupled with Dewberry’s gold partnership with Esri, the PDA team has created a highly scalable collection platform for FEMA’s damage assessment mission.

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Partner Spotlight: Safe Software

Data-Driven Decisions in a Real-Time World

Top Data Integration Trends in 2020

Working with location-based information and analytics in 2020 involves a more complex set of challenges than ever: we have to manage huge data volumes, real-time information streams, and a rising number of systems that produce and consume data. Governments and other organizations need to harmonize information to ensure all datasets are up to date, comply with standards, and deliver high-quality data wherever it’s needed. This is why data integration workflows have become a crucial part of operations for companies around the world.

Here at Safe Software, we designed FME 2020 to help you tackle these challenges and more. Let’s look at the top industry trends in 2020 and how you can take your organization to the next level using data integration workflows.

Connect Real-Time, High Volume Datasets

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Partner Spotlight: AppGeo

NSGIC Annual Conference: Five Things on Our Minds

It’s been 55 years since Bob Dylan penned the times they are a-changin’, but that sentiment is truer than ever today in the world of GIS. Although we could make a lengthy list of things a-changin’, we’ve picked these top five, which we feel are particularly relevant to state GIS leaders. We look forward to conversations with you in Snowbird!

  1. Strategic planning 2.0 -- Many states haven’t done a full-on strategic plan since the FGDC Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) grants from a decade ago. There’s been a whole lot of change since then, with new players, new paradigms for data access, new technology options, new political realities, and more. In our view, we need a change, a v2.0 approach to strategic thinking about the roles and goals of geospatial and its societal impact. A strategic plan sets the course for both vision and activities in a state GIS office, so this piece is very, very important.
  1. Geospatial Data Act -- It’s finally federal law, which means that it’s finally time for the US (and us!) to get serious about building and supporting a shared set of national geospatial capabilities. States will have a key role as the middle layer between national and local level participants in this endeavor. There are also opportunities to connect some national geospatial data silos, such as Next-Generation 9-1-1 and the National Address Database, which we need to move from idea to reality. This ties in nicely with v2.0 strategic planning, which is a formal responsibility of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) under the new law. Ideally, the FGDC would again step up and provide support for the level of multilateral, nested strategic planning needed to engage the broad and diverse geospatial stakeholder community.
  1. New urgency on environmental problems -- We’re facing ever more urgent problems with more potent hurricanes and storms, greater wildfire threats, increased flooding potential, accelerating human consumption of natural resources, and many other issues. All of these need geospatial analytics to understand, and even predict the risks we now face and to develop solutions. If you are a parent (and even if you are not), these environmental issues should concern you and spur you to engage as truth-tellers with GIS.
  1. The shifting sands of geospatial data sources -- It wasn’t that long ago that government was the primary source of most GIS data, but that is becoming less and less true. We are seeing huge geospatial data investments from global internet companies, the auto industry, new imagery providers, and an explosion of data coming from sensors and “things” everywhere. This shift requires a rethinking and repositioning of the role of state GIS offices as the [providers/aggregators/curators/distributors] of geospatial data. See also, strategic planning, v2.0, above.
  1. Addresses, addresses, addresses -- It has become increasingly clear that address data containing accurate lat/long coordinates attached to every street address record is so fundamental to so many important uses, that we need to redouble our effort to get this done right, and done in a way that leverages the support resources and capabilities of many separate constituencies who will otherwise continue to work on address data separately. Oddly enough, this ties in with v2 strategic planning.

You might have a different list of top five issues, and we’d love to hear them. We look forward to having some great conversations with you at the NSGIC conference. For us, it’s the best event of the year to talk with the top geospatial thinkers and movers. We can share our observations with you that come from the rich variety of projects we’re involved in across the country. And we love to hear your perspective on what you see a-changin’ from the driver's seat as state GIS leaders.

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Partner Spotlight: GeoComm

Accurate GIS data is important throughout 9-1-1 emergency response and has a critical role in NG9-1-1 by determining which Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to route a 9-1-1 call to. This process of geospatial call routing enables better accuracy than traditional 9-1-1 systems and can reduce the number of 9-1-1 calls transferred due to misrouted 9-1-1 calls.

For the last 25 years, GeoComm has been working to help GIS and 9-1-1 teams across the country understand the role GIS plays in 9-1-1 and NG9-1-1, empowering them to achieve public safety grade GIS. Our assess, improve, and maintain proven process tackles the common obstacles agencies face when working to implement an NG9-1-1 system. Because the NG9-1-1 services utilized in this approach are simple and straightforward, they are easily adaptable for jurisdictions of all sizes including local, regional, and statewide.

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South Central TX LiDAR Project

Enhanced Hydrology in Texas LiDAR by Merrick-Surdex JV Critical to Risk Mapping

In 2017 the USGS selected the Merrick-Surdex Joint Venture to collect and process LiDAR data of approximately 17,950 square miles in Southwest Texas. One of the funding partners to the project, FEMA, required new elevation data in order to reclassify older hydrographic features to improve flood map accuracy. The data will be used to assist in risk management of potential flooding areas, due to significant shifts in precipitation over the past decade.

The State of Texas has experienced a nearly decade-long drought; in February 2018, nearly 90% of the state was under a drought warning. Within one year, these conditions shifted dramatically – in 2018, rains had been so persistent and heavy that by October less than 5% of the state was under a drought warning. This sudden increase in such a large volume of water has created a scenario with a notable risk of overflowing and flooding of once-dry riverbeds. The state consequently switched from a drought status to a situation of potential widespread flooding, with all the subsequent possibility of damage. FEMA and Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) anticipating the effects of such a situation, initiated a project with the USGS to obtain data to manage this new condition.

The Joint Venture’s effort towards the collection of hydrographic features was designed to exceed the USGS project specifications and to ensure map accuracy so that hydrological events could be monitored with confidence. Production staff invested a higher than normal amount of time and effort to identify stream banks that have been undefined by water for years due to drought. According to version 1.3 of the USGS LiDAR Base Specification, the minimum width for the collection of inland streams and rivers is 100 feet however due to the low water levels there are multiple instances where these features were as narrow as 10-15 feet and ordinarily would not have been collected. In several cases, widths varied considerably along the same stream, and had the only the portions of rivers/streams greater than 100 feet been collected, it would have resulted in disconnected networks of drainage. Additionally, several lakes/ponds would have been omitted for not meeting the minimum two-acre size criteria. These conflicts of elevation in the hydro-flattened Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) would have limited the data usefulness to all agencies. The process chosen will ensure map accuracy and hydrological events could be monitored with confidence.

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Carpe Geo: Becoming a Great GIS Leader

How can you grow into the GIS leader you aspire to be? How can you work better with others? How can you get the most satisfaction out of your GIS career? These are questions that AppGeo believes can be answered through thoughtful application of Carpe Geo principles. Carpe Geo is about seizing the opportunities to do great things with GIS.

Those of you who attended the 2017 NSGIC Annual Conference in Providence, RI may remember hearing Bill Johnson’s Carpe Geo & Parvum Momentum presentation, where he first introduced us to these ideas. Since then, Bill has joined the AppGeo team and at this year’s NSGIC Annual he followed up with Carpe Geo, Part Deux, which explored how the principles of Carpe Geo can help you become a better GIS leader.

Becoming a great GIS leader doesn’t happen overnight. To better understand how one grows and metamorphosizes into that role, consider three lenses or models that can help you understand the growth path.

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CREAT Climate Scenarios Projection Map

Contributed by: Nathalie Smith, Esri

EPA's Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) Climate Scenarios Projection Map. This map provides easy-to-access scenario-based climate change projections drawn from CREAT. The impacts from a changing climate, including extreme heat and more intense storms, present challenges to water, wastewater and stormwater utilities and the communities they serve. Understanding how climate change may affect a utility's ability to maintain and deliver adequate, reliable and sustainable water supplies and clean water services is the first step in climate-related planning.

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