Sunday, June 18, 2017

Natural Disaster Response using ArcGIS - Hurricane Sandy, Ocober 2012

In October 2012 Hurricane Sandy tore through the Caribbean, North Atlantic, and North Eastern United States. As it moved North the Hurricane brought destruction through high wind speeds and extreme storm surge. The storm broke ground on the border of Delaware and New Jersey. After the storm it was necessary to asses the damage in order to properly serve those who were affected by the natural disaster. This was done by FEMA through the use of aerial photography and ArcGIS. The first map above demonstrates the wind storms path as it grew and moved through the Caribbean and towards the United States. In addition, labels show the wind speed and barometric pressure which shows how the storm gained momentum before it made landfall.

The next map allows the reader to compare before and after aerial images of a street in Ocean City, New Jersey where the hurricane struck land. Point Symbols are used to show the severity of damage to each parcel of property. This required me to create a new feature class and add attributes using the editor toolbar. After attributes were added to the points fields were given a coded Domain Type. This allowed for parcel damage to be coded on a 0-4 scale which allowed for quick classification and reduces user error.

Fast response and damage asessment can save lives and help progression towards rebuilding. This lab demonstrated an interesting way to organize relief efforts and quickly view damage. With the help of GIS, FEMA and other organizations can do a lot more and it is good to experience what a project might be like for someone who has a career in Natural Disaster Response.

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