Late on March 2 into the early morning of March 3, a series of devastating tornadoes touched down across Tennessee. On March 3, federal emergency managers contacted the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (NAPSG) and GISCorps to request that volunteers quickly mine social media and news outlets for images of on-the-ground conditions in the affected area and upload them to an interactive web map. As with previous activations with NAPSG and CEDR, the map provided valuable situational awareness to federal, regional and local emergency managers within hours of the event.
The GISCorps Disaster Response team is constantly working to improve the interface for both volunteers and consumers. This was the first deployment of the comprehensive Volunteer Dashboard that includes several tabs all in one location for ease of use. It was also our first use of the apps for a tornado response. The current configuration employs a Volunteer Dashboard that tracks progress, a Google Sheet photo queue that allows vols to easily select pictures to upload, a customized Survey123 upload form, an Attachment Viewer photo gallery to quickly check for duplicate posts, and a vetting application for the administrative team who assigns lifelines and damage estimates. NAPSG also hosts a Hub site to present all of the products in a single repository. We hope to refine the upload form prior to the 2020 Hurricane season based on what we have learned to date.
Due to the short notice of this volunteer request and because of the new workflows that were being tested, GISCorps limited the recruitment to volunteers who had participated in similar missions and also recruited volunteers from Tennessee with ArcGIS Online skills. Nine volunteers participated and uploaded 157 photos in 3 days. Thank you to the following volunteers: Keith Johnson, Czarinna Clay, Holly Torpey, John Haddad, Erin Arkison, Emilie Pratt, Paul Doherty, Joshua Johnson, and German Whitley.
Explore the dashboard geared to emergency managers and responders embedded below or at this link: