Update on current work with Red Cross

New updates are available on our current deployment http://maps-group.org/pages/qld-nsw-floods-2012

Update on current work with Red Cross

New updates are available on our current deployment http://maps-group.org/pages/qld-nsw-floods-2012

New deployment to Queensland

MAPS has been deployed to support Red Cross at their Brisbane EOC. This is in relation to the current flooding in Queensland and New South Wales. The first crew have arrived and will start work in the morning (Monday 6 February 2012).

It is expected that the majority of work performed will be similar to what was carried out during the floods and cyclones last year, but only time will tell.

One thing that is a little different is that Red Cross have two planning cells. One looking at strategic issues and the other more focused on the tactical, so we expect that we may need to develop a few new products.

New deployment to Queensland

MAPS has been deployed to support Red Cross at their Brisbane EOC. This is in relation to the current flooding in Queensland and New South Wales. The first crew have arrived and will start work in the morning (Monday 6 February 2012).

It is expected that the majority of work performed will be similar to what was carried out during the floods and cyclones last year, but only time will tell.

One thing that is a little different is that Red Cross have two planning cells. One looking at strategic issues and the other more focused on the tactical, so we expect that we may need to develop a few new products.

Queensland Floods & Tropical Cyclone Yasi 2010-2011

December 2010 - February 2011

Background

During 2010 the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) predicted that the coming wet season for Qld was likely to have more cyclones and rain. In prepearation for this, certain members of the Australian Red Cross in Qld (RCQ) started looking at ways to better involve mapping into their operations during emergencies.

RCQ created a project that involved volunteers from GISCorps and MAPS. This project produced a number of documents which outlined possible scenarios, hardware and software requirements, etc. The GISCorp volunteers also focused on mapping the capacity of RCQ Emergency Services in the pre emergency period.

During December 2010 the rain really started falling and on the 29th MAPS recieved a call for assistance.

Deployment

By the evening of 29 December we had our first crew on their way to Queensland. They set up in the RCQ’s State Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Brisbane. Some initial work of software loading and early map production had been carried out by a GISCorps volunteer (Daniel) and our crew relieved him for some well earned rest. The bulk of the work for the 1st deployment focused on the obtaining of data and map production. In conjunction with this we needed to set up a network, NAS, etc.

The 2nd deployment took over on 2 January and consolidated the data and products and started looking at processes to automate some of the work.

The 3rd deployment (6-10 January) produced many maps including twice daily river gauge (water depth) plots and detailed plots over many of the towns affected. This included road closures and even ‘how to get there’ maps for RCQ volunteers on the move.

The 4th deployment (10-14 January) were really in the thick of it having to relocate. The EOC needed to move as it was in a suburb of Brisbane that was going to be without power and probably access. So it was a case of pack everything and relocate. They did this with minimal fuss and were operational again in a very short time.

Our 5th deployment relocated the EOC back Red Cross HQ where they are were working on generator power, but full power has since been restored.

Deployment 6 went up on Tuesday 18 January and have been maps of operational sites, river heights, navigation (road closure) maps and more.

The Red Cross Headquarters Executive Director Greg Goebel dropped in on the 19th and was extremely grateful for the plans MAPS have been producing. He mentioned that he and the Deputy Premier had been up in a helicopter using our maps and found them far better than any others they had.

Deployment 7 departed on Saturday 22 January and due to modified flight schedules they only had a limited time for handover from the crew returning home to Canberra.

Deployment 8 took over on Wednesday 26 January (what a way to celebrate Australia Day!) and are starting to look at winding up our involvement up there.

Deployment 9 took over on Sunday 30 January. It was to be our last deployment, then along came Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi. So while we went up there with a view to pack up, this quickly changed to map preparation in readiness for the possible Red Cross deployments once Yasi hit.

Deployment 10 took over today (Thursday 3 February) and will be busy preparing maps over areas affected by Yasi as reports come in.

Our next crew (deployment 11) took over today (Monday 7 Feb) and at this stage our work will continue until about the end of next week.

The total numbers deployed at 7 February is 33 over six weeks.

Sample products

We have produced many maps during these events and here is an example of some of them. Please note that the Red Cross refer to the flooding event as Ex. Tropical Cyclone Tasha as that is when they were first activated for their work. They have now moved on to TC Yasi. I hope to have some Yasi maps up soon.

Planning maps have been used by the Incident Manaagement Team (IMT) to help plan where Evacuation Centres should go, access routes and more.

imageimage

NRIS is the National Registration and Inquiry System which is run by the Red Cross. It is one of just many services undertaken by them during an emergency. Information from the system is plotted to help the teams in the field.

image

Queensland Floods & Tropical Cyclone Yasi 2010-2011

December 2010 - February 2011

Background

During 2010 the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) predicted that the coming wet season for Qld was likely to have more cyclones and rain. In prepearation for this, certain members of the Australian Red Cross in Qld (RCQ) started looking at ways to better involve mapping into their operations during emergencies.

RCQ created a project that involved volunteers from GISCorps and MAPS. This project produced a number of documents which outlined possible scenarios, hardware and software requirements, etc. The GISCorp volunteers also focused on mapping the capacity of RCQ Emergency Services in the pre emergency period.

During December 2010 the rain really started falling and on the 29th MAPS recieved a call for assistance.

Deployment

By the evening of 29 December we had our first crew on their way to Queensland. They set up in the RCQ’s State Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Brisbane. Some initial work of software loading and early map production had been carried out by a GISCorps volunteer (Daniel) and our crew relieved him for some well earned rest. The bulk of the work for the 1st deployment focused on the obtaining of data and map production. In conjunction with this we needed to set up a network, NAS, etc.

The 2nd deployment took over on 2 January and consolidated the data and products and started looking at processes to automate some of the work.

The 3rd deployment (6-10 January) produced many maps including twice daily river gauge (water depth) plots and detailed plots over many of the towns affected. This included road closures and even ‘how to get there’ maps for RCQ volunteers on the move.

The 4th deployment (10-14 January) were really in the thick of it having to relocate. The EOC needed to move as it was in a suburb of Brisbane that was going to be without power and probably access. So it was a case of pack everything and relocate. They did this with minimal fuss and were operational again in a very short time.

Our 5th deployment relocated the EOC back Red Cross HQ where they are were working on generator power, but full power has since been restored.

Deployment 6 went up on Tuesday 18 January and have been maps of operational sites, river heights, navigation (road closure) maps and more.

The Red Cross Headquarters Executive Director Greg Goebel dropped in on the 19th and was extremely grateful for the plans MAPS have been producing. He mentioned that he and the Deputy Premier had been up in a helicopter using our maps and found them far better than any others they had.

Deployment 7 departed on Saturday 22 January and due to modified flight schedules they only had a limited time for handover from the crew returning home to Canberra.

Deployment 8 took over on Wednesday 26 January (what a way to celebrate Australia Day!) and are starting to look at winding up our involvement up there.

Deployment 9 took over on Sunday 30 January. It was to be our last deployment, then along came Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi. So while we went up there with a view to pack up, this quickly changed to map preparation in readiness for the possible Red Cross deployments once Yasi hit.

Deployment 10 took over today (Thursday 3 February) and will be busy preparing maps over areas affected by Yasi as reports come in.

Our next crew (deployment 11) took over today (Monday 7 Feb) and at this stage our work will continue until about the end of next week.

The total numbers deployed at 7 February is 33 over six weeks.

Sample products

We have produced many maps during these events and here is an example of some of them. Please note that the Red Cross refer to the flooding event as Ex. Tropical Cyclone Tasha as that is when they were first activated for their work. They have now moved on to TC Yasi. I hope to have some Yasi maps up soon.

Planning maps have been used by the Incident Manaagement Team (IMT) to help plan where Evacuation Centres should go, access routes and more.

NRIS is the National Registration and Inquiry System which is run by the Red Cross. It is one of just many services undertaken by them during an emergency. Information from the system is plotted to help the teams in the field.

Mapping to protect life and property

Why do we exist?

The Mapping and Planning Support (MAPS) group was established in response to the 2003 Canberra fires. The 2003 fires were the worst ever experienced in the Canberra region and resulted in the loss of 500 homes and four lives.  During the fires the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) was equipped with a sophisticated GIS for situation mapping but after almost three weeks of continuous operations ESA simply ran out of people to work the GIS. Meanwhile Canberra, as the national capital, is home to the largest concentration per capita of GIS professionals in Australia.  But ESA had no way of knowing who these people are or how to call upon them. MAPS was formed to provide the link between the emergency managers and volunteer GIS professionals.

MAPS began in 2005 with six volunteers who joined the local volunteer bush fire service (RFS - Rural Fire Service) in both Canberra and across the territory border in nearby Queanbeyan. They began training with the RFS as rural fire fighters and at the same time developed protocols and training for mapping volunteers.  
The MAPS model of volunteering has since evolved into a group of six coordinators and currently 74 volunteers with financial, administrative and leadership support from ESA.

How do we operate?
MAPS is made up of six coordinators and an unlimited register of volunteers. They have the following roles and responsibilities: 

Our Volunteers: Volunteers are almost all GIS professionals, either retired or working in private or public sectors

In 2010 a “call me when needed” register of over 70 volunteers exists
They undertake specialist training twice a year in:
  • Incident management systems – where mapping fits, who is in charge, etc
  • RFS software
  • Software used by other emergency management agencies
Our Coordinators:
  • Lead deployments
  • Manage the register
  • Organise training, documentation, protocols
  • Undertake additional training in bush fire fighting, RFS systems, command and control, etc
Many, but not all, volunteers and coordinators are members of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI). However the SSSI network played a key role when it
became necessary to rapidly expand the number of volunteers to assist with the Victorian fires.

Our Partnerships: MAPS works by developing partnerships and relationships with emergency management agencies and organisations. During deployment volunteers embed themselves within the operations section of the partnering organisation. They then seamlessly provide GIS and map production support during the emergency.
MAPS Largest Deployment

During the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, Australia’s worst natural disaster, MAPS was deployed with Victoria Police for over 6 weeks. The MAPS deployment, initially to rural Victoria, then to Water Police headquarters in Melbourne was the longest sustained deployment ever undertaken by ESA. The MAPS volunteers worked 12 to 14 hour days, sometimes in crowded improvised work spaces, sometimes dealing with sensitive and confronting information but always professional and cheerful. Ordinary GIS Professionals doing extraordinary things. To give you a better understanding of the size of the deployment some of the stats and numbers around the emergency were:
The Victorian Fires 7 February to 14 March 2009
  • 173 people confirmed dead
  • More than 2,000 homes affected 
  • 421,670 hectares of public and private land burnt
Victoria Police and Australian Defence Forces searched every affected property for human remains. They needed:
  • Overview and planning maps
  • Detailed maps of fire affected areas
  • Tactical maps showing which properties had been searched and which were yet to be completed
The Victorian Coroner also requested very detailed post fire imagery maps for the site of each fatality.
The Water Police and Search and Rescue Squad were charged with managing the search.  They had ready access to official state government spatial information, some hardware, some software and a couple of experienced GIS users. 
The spatial information and IT industries provided:
  • Additional hardware, servers and networks
  • Unlimited software licences
  • Software support
  • Pre and post fire imagery
MAPS provided:
  • 9 groups of 4 to 8 people for 5 to 6 days at a time over a 6 week period
  • 44 people in total,  36 deployed once, 7 deployed twice and 1 deployed 3 times
  • 306 person days or approximately 3600 hours of unpaid work 
Frank Blanchfield & Ian Batly (MAPS Founders)

Mapping to protect life and property

Why do we exist?

image

The Mapping and Planning Support (MAPS) group was established in response to the 2003 Canberra fires. The 2003 fires were the worst ever experienced in the Canberra region and resulted in the loss of 500 homes and four lives.  During the fires the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) was equipped with a sophisticated GIS for situation mapping but after almost three weeks of continuous operations ESA simply ran out of people to work the GIS. Meanwhile Canberra, as the national capital, is home to the largest concentration per capita of GIS professionals in Australia.  But ESA had no way of knowing who these people are or how to call upon them. MAPS was formed to provide the link between the emergency managers and volunteer GIS professionals.

MAPS began in 2005 with six volunteers who joined the local volunteer bush fire service (RFS - Rural Fire Service) in both Canberra and across the territory border in nearby Queanbeyan. They began training with the RFS as rural fire fighters and at the same time developed protocols and training for mapping volunteers.  
The MAPS model of volunteering has since evolved into a group of six coordinators and currently 74 volunteers with financial, administrative and leadership support from ESA.
How do we operate?
image
MAPS is made up of six coordinators and an unlimited register of volunteers. They have the following roles and responsibilities: 

Our Volunteers: Volunteers are almost all GIS professionals, either retired or working in private or public sectors
In 2010 a “call me when needed” register of over 70 volunteers exists
They undertake specialist training twice a year in:
  • Incident management systems – where mapping fits, who is in charge, etc
  • RFS software
  • Software used by other emergency management agencies
Our Coordinators:
  • Lead deployments
  • Manage the register
  • Organise training, documentation, protocols
  • Undertake additional training in bush fire fighting, RFS systems, command and control, etc
Many, but not all, volunteers and coordinators are members of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI). However the SSSI network played a key role when it
became necessary to rapidly expand the number of volunteers to assist with the Victorian fires.

Our Partnerships: MAPS works by developing partnerships and relationships with emergency management agencies and organisations. During deployment volunteers embed themselves within the operations section of the partnering organisation. They then seamlessly provide GIS and map production support during the emergency.
image
MAPS Largest Deployment
During the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, Australia’s worst natural disaster, MAPS was deployed with Victoria Police for over 6 weeks. The MAPS deployment, initially to rural Victoria, then to Water Police headquarters in Melbourne was the longest sustained deployment ever undertaken by ESA. The MAPS volunteers worked 12 to 14 hour days, sometimes in crowded improvised work spaces, sometimes dealing with sensitive and confronting information but always professional and cheerful. Ordinary GIS Professionals doing extraordinary things. To give you a better understanding of the size of the deployment some of the stats and numbers around the emergency were:
The Victorian Fires 7 February to 14 March 2009
  • 173 people confirmed dead
  • More than 2,000 homes affected 
  • 421,670 hectares of public and private land burnt
Victoria Police and Australian Defence Forces searched every affected property for human remains. They needed:
  • Overview and planning maps
  • Detailed maps of fire affected areas
  • Tactical maps showing which properties had been searched and which were yet to be completed
The Victorian Coroner also requested very detailed post fire imagery maps for the site of each fatality.
The Water Police and Search and Rescue Squad were charged with managing the search.  They had ready access to official state government spatial information, some hardware, some software and a couple of experienced GIS users. 
The spatial information and IT industries provided:
  • Additional hardware, servers and networks
  • Unlimited software licences
  • Software support
  • Pre and post fire imagery
MAPS provided:
  • 9 groups of 4 to 8 people for 5 to 6 days at a time over a 6 week period
  • 44 people in total,  36 deployed once, 7 deployed twice and 1 deployed 3 times
  • 306 person days or approximately 3600 hours of unpaid work 
Frank Blanchfield & Ian Batly (MAPS Founders)