June 21st, 2008 09:42 EST
Geospatial Intelligence Aid in Midwest Flood Response
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support flood response efforts in the Midwest.
NGA is providing analysis, unclassified commercial imagery of flooded areas and geospatial intelligence products to FEMA and emergency responders in the affected areas to aid in rescue and recovery efforts. The products include graphics of major infrastructure, such as the location of airports, hospitals, police and fire stations, emergency operations centers, hazardous material locations, highways and schools.
FEMA, state and local responders use the products to aid in damage assessments, estimate housing needs, position supplies and other resources and coordinate relief efforts. The graphics also provide a common operating picture that helps enable local, state and federal officials work together more effectively and efficiently.
Through the NGA`s crisis response portal, the public has access to some of the images, allowing property owners to broadly assess property damage without having to physically visit the area. NGA established its Earth site in 2005 after realizing victims of Hurricane Katrina could use commercial geospatial imagery to check damage to their property along the Gulf Coast.
The NGA Earth site uses the Internet to provide emergency responders and the public a single, easy-to-use entry point for locating timely, relevant, unclassified geospatial information in the event of a disaster or crisis. The NGA Earth site (http://www.nga-earth.org/) is updated as new images are made available. In addition to the images hosted at this location, the site provides links to other federal agency sites and is an access point to leverage other NGA geospatial expertise and products.
NGA`s mission is to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of the nation. The term "geospatial intelligence" means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth.
FEMA coordinates the federal government`s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.