Enhancing Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response with Location-Based Intel

Quick Summary

The Dewberry Hurricane Preparedness Team, a subgroup of the Hazard Engineering Services group, assists federal, state and county authorities by conducting various types of hurricane and natural disaster impact studies, including vulnerability analyses, evacuation planning, post-storm assessments and many more hazard preparedness analyses. Dewberry studies serve as an important baseline for decision making during the disaster preparedness, response and recovery processes.

The Challenge

Dewberry customers include emergency managers who are interested in accurate, timely data for understanding the possible impacts of varying levels of natural disaster threats, as well as emergency responders who rely on Dewberry maps when disaster strikes and are often in a disconnected environment. Both of these client groups require maps that are easy to access, update and share with their peers and headquarters. The Hurricane Preparedness Team at Dewberry needed a way to deliver location-based data in an electronic map format that could be easily accessed, updated and shared by its clients.

The Solution

The Dewberry team selected the TerraGo® platform to deliver maps showing a comprehensive picture of their study findings to their clients. Using TerraGo, Dewberry now has the ability to produce customized GeoPDF® maps and imagery using its existing Esri ArcGIS® assets and deliver those maps to non-GIS field users, who are often working in offline environments. GeoPDF maps provide Dewberry clients with easy end-user access because they are contained within a PDF format. Since GeoPDF map layers can easily be turned on and off, Dewberry’s maps can include multiple detailed layers that can be tailored to the needs of the end user and reduce file size, while remaining easy to read and understand. In addition, emergency managers using the GeoPDF maps can add information to the maps in the form of photo and video attachments, hyperlinks, icons and markups.

The Results

Using TerraGo software has enabled Dewberry to alter the way data is presented to clients, as most of the users are not GIS professionals, providing the ability to not only access the data, but to also interact with it to make critical decisions. The Dewberry team now uses GeoPDF maps and imagery to present study findings to clients in the disaster planning phase or to provide location-based intelligence to emergency managers responding to a crisis event.

The GeoPDF maps can include storm surge inundation, evacuation zones, critical facilities and community infrastructure, roadway networks, satellite imagery and much more. Map features are not only displayed on the map for visualization purposes, but they can also be queried to obtain information about the object or feature, providing critical information that assists emergency managers in the decision making process.