GIS Emergency Management Workgroup: A TEMAC Advisory Group
Geospatial information systems (GIS) map technology is utilized in Texas to support all aspects of emergency management. TDEM, several of the State Emergency Management Council agencies, and many local jurisdictions are using GIS to identify and map the location of people, critical infrastructure and property at risk from disasters to better support all aspects of emergency management efforts.
The Texas Emergency Management Advisory Committee (TEMAC) added the GIS Emergency Management Workgroup as an advisory group in late 2015 to provide a forum for State and Federal agencies and local jurisdictions to recommend development priorities, best practices and standards for the use of GIS technology for emergency management and to collaborate and share GIS data and services.
Information Systems (CIS) noted that "during Hurricane Harvey, there was a continuous need for GIS mapping technology to depict hurricane wind and flood impacts to Texas citizens and to map the location and status of support services, such as evacuation buses, shelters, warehouses and points of distribution. Our next step is to connect the TDEM GIS system to our crisis management system to provide the most accurate and up to date information as feasible."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and TDEM Chief Nim Kidd flying over the Canton Tornado incident on April 30, 2017, with GIS map in hand.
Michael Ouimet, Manager for the TDEM Critical Information Systems, Headquarters Group, commented that "the long-term goal is to ensure that the State and its local, regional and federal partners are working from the same GIS map data and common operating picture and that data are distributed in near real time to everyone that requires it for their respective emergency management missions. The GIS Emergency Management Workgroup will be an invaluable venue for the emergency management community to discuss how to make this vision a reality. The target audience for the workgroup is geospatial professionals who directly support emergency management activities in Texas or support groups that are developing related data and services."
The next GIS Emergency Management Workgroup meeting will be held in conjunction with the TEMAC meeting at the 2018 Emergency Management Association of Texas (EMAT) Symposium in San Marcos on March 6th from 9:45 – 11 am at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center. For more information or to be added to the workgroup email distribution list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with GIS Emergency Management Workgroup in the subject line and your full contact information.