On April 12-13, a series of devastating tornadoes touched down across the Southeastern United States. Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina were particularly hard hit. On April 13, the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (NAPSG) asked 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 Digital, the map provided valuable situational awareness to federal, regional and local emergency managers within hours of the event. Specifically, the map was shared widely among FEMA National and Regional Offices, as well Louisiana, Alabama, and South Carolina State search and rescue/ emergency managers.
The GISCorps Disaster Response team is constantly working to improve the interface for both volunteers and consumers. This was the second deployment of the comprehensive Volunteer Dashboard that includes several tabs all in one location for ease of use. It was also our second 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.
For the activation, we recruited from GISCorps volunteers across the Southeast. Several new volunteers joined the project and provided valuable feedback on weaknesses in the workflow. Seventeen volunteers participated and uploaded 128 photos in 2 days. Thank you to Paul Doherty at NAPSG for his ongoing support. Thank you to the following volunteers: Keith Johnson, Emilie Pratt, Joshua Johnson, Lisa Shealy, Scott Stevens, Thomas Quintero, Rachel Passer, Eric Kencel, Jeremy Conner, Nico Kroes, Micah Lott, Ingrid Jourgensen, Alicia Tyson, and Kathyrn Ellis; and the administrative data reviewers: John Haddad, Christina Brunsvold, and Dacey Zelman-Fahm. This project was managed by Core Committee members Erin Arkison and German Whitley.
Explore the dashboard geared to emergency managers and responders embedded below or at this link: