Archive for March, 2013

Elevation data currently unavailable in Quick Start

If you attended our recent Webinar on creating Rapid Situation Maps, we were a bit embarrassed when we found that elevation data wasn’t loading.  At that moment we blamed it on a new Beta build that we were running but as it turns out the service where we get the data changed their API and so the elevation quick start source wasn’t working for any build.  We are in the process of fixing this problem and will be putting out a new build as soon as we can.  If you have downloaded elevation previously for your area then it will probably still be in your cache but if you are a new user or are doing a Depiction in a new area then you will run into this problem.  You can still get elevation data directly from the USGS web site.  Watch this webinar recording to find out how.

An interview with James Larsen – Emergency Services Officer for USAF Aux Civil Air Patrol

James is currently the Emergency Services Officer (ESO) for the United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol: Shelby North Carolina Composite Squadron MER050

He is responsible for all Emergency Services Operations, Training and Instruction to all personnel. Qualified Trainer/Evaluator in Communications, Ground Team Operations, Urban Search and Rescue, Advanced Land Navigation, Survival Training and NIMS operations. Coordinate large scale Operational Readiness Inspections (ORIs) utilizing the National Incident Management system, Multi-Agency and Multi-Jurisdictional exercise coordination for disaster response.

How long have you been using Depiction?

I have been using depiction for over 3 years for  Emergency Services and Business applications.

How did you first hear about it?

I was searching for mapping software for use in simulated exercises for the business I was working for at the time. The drills were required due to the fact that I was the Facility Security Officer at a classified facility in Cary, North Carolina.

Had you tried other mapping programs before choosing Depiction and if so why didn’t they work out for you?

I hadn’t tried other mapping software, but I was using Microsoft PowerPoint, using images from mapquest, then having to manual place static content on the document.

Are you using Depiction for personal use or for your work or both?

I am the Emergency Services Officer at Shelby Composite Squadron MERNC-050 (USAF Auxiliary-Civil Air Patrol) in Shelby North Carolina. I am responsible for coordinating drills and working with other agencies on developing emergency plans for the Squadron. I apply the tools in depiction both at work and at CAP.

What uses are you using Depiction for?

At Civil Air Patrol I run depiction for drills associated with natural disasters, aircraft crashes, coordinated search and rescue efforts (APRS Module) and mapping emergency service resources in the area (Fire Dept’s, Police Dept’s and Hospitals)

What features do you find most useful?

The integration of data to find resources, the ability to integrate weather patterns within the depiction and revealers to control content.

Could you relate a specific situation where you used Depiction in a real life situation and how it helped you?

Civil Air Patrol had an exercise on the weekend of January 18th to conduct a search and rescue training on my 50 acre property which required 4 teams of varying skill levels (referred to as Ground Team Members [GTM] and Ground Team Leaders [GTL]). We used depiction on an overhead projector in the mobile incident command post and as reports came in over the radio we updated the depiction to reflect the search. The exercise was for the recovery of a downed aircraft with unkown injuries. The depiction software allowed the IC team to keep track of GTM/GTL movements, incident responses and resource allocations. At the end of the exercise we used the collected data to conduct the NIMS debrief to all the teams.

If you were to recommend Depiction to someone else how would you explain why you think they should buy it?

I would tell them about all of the features and the flexibility of the software, and I would go the distance and show them actual exercises I have set up and used. I strongly believe that no exercise or live incident would be complete without Depiction, the software streamlines management of the NIMS process, provides real time updates and provides the Incident Commander with an edge not available from drawn maps. The weather integration, APRS add-on and the ability to take real time updates via email keeps everyone in constant communication.  It is my responsibility at the Squadron to ensure accurate reporting of the incident, maintain the safety of the ground and air personnel and coordinate with other agencies to respond to life threatening events. I would not trust any other software but Depiction to ensure I can execute all of the aforementioned.

Some Quickstart Sources not working at the moment

Our geo-server that serves out some of the quick start data was infiltrated by some geo-worms and had to be put down for awhile.  We hope to have a new server up shortly.   The main one that many people use is the Elevation (Depiction)  there is however an alternate elevation source which is the one you should choose for the moment. The following are the QuickStart data sources that are affected.

  • Elevation(NED 30m – Depiction
  • Historical Hurricane Tracks
  • State and Province Boundaries
  • Tornado Tracks
  • US Congressional Districts
  • US County Boundaries
  • Water Bodies

We will let you know when this has been resolved.