depictionprep has been merged with

When we launched DepictionPrep a couple of years ago we created a separate webpage for it but all that really did was create more work for us. So in order to stream line things we have discontinued the site and brought everything to the website.  If you purchased Prep from the Prep web site and need information about your order please contact us at

Depiction Donates $15,000 worth of software to the Red Cross – Press Release

Depiction Inc., an Everett-based software firm, has donated 500 software licenses valued at $15,000 for its Depiction Prep software in support of the American Red Cross’s “Safe In The Sound” program.  The software will in turn be donated to interested non-profit organizations who participate in Red Cross’s preparedness outreach program “Safe in the Sound”. Eligible organization include:  non-profit organizations dealing with vulnerable populations, organizations that serve senior citizens, churches, schools, and other similar organizations who participate in Red Cross community disaster education programs.

Depiction software allows anyone to plan, prepare, and respond to disasters and other events that might otherwise impact employees and the company’s ability to stay in business. It allows businesses, schools and non-profits to develop their own disaster plans—a critical need in the face of almost any crisis situation.

“We’re extremely pleased to partner with Depiction,” said Red Cross Regional Executive Chuck Morrison. “Having these licenses will allow us to help local groups prepare to handle flooding, earthquakes, fires, and other major disasters – almost any emergency likely to strike this region.”

The software will help organizations:

  • Put together an emergency kit
  • Track the kit digitally; stock it with detailed area preparedness maps, food and water.
  • Make a plan
  • Determine where to meet if you can’t get home;
  • Determine the best route between home, school and work if the major roads are blocked
  • Stay informed
  • See the potential hazards in your area, and play ‘what if?’ with possible disasters and scenarios.
  • Become involved
  • Put together a map your neighborhood preparedness training.

Snohomish County organizations interested in discussing their need for a license to use this software should send an email to Chuck Morrison (

DepictionPrep Tutorial Video Now Available

A new tutoral video on how to use DepictionPrep to prepare a personal preparedness plan is now available on our YouTube channel.  This video discusses the need for every family to have a personal preparedness plan and how one fictional family might prepare one. Please take a look.

YouTube Preview Image

Simulations in Depiction and DepictionPrep

Depiction & DepictionPrep both make use of Depiction’s simulation technology, letting you do rapid, basic simulations of various scenarios. The two programs do have some differences–DepictionPrep only includes disaster simulation elements, and the variables for many of those elements have been simplified. Both of them, though, provide the ability to quickly consider “what if” scenarios in your own neighborhood–or pretty much anywhere else.

Let’s go through the elements available. Several of these elements make use of elevation data, whether brought in directly from Depiction’s Quickstart sources, or loaded from other sources. The higher resolution the elevation data is, the more precise these simulations will be.

Flood: The ‘classic’ Depiction simulation element, the flood very simply calculates what the water level would look like if it were set to a certain height above the ground level at a particular point. This works basically the same way in both Depiction and DepictionPrep.

Runoff: This does a basic ‘path of least resistance’ simulation of water flowing downhill, and works best in sloped areas–if you’re simulating a flood in an area like this, the runoff tool is likely to provide better results than the flood simulation itself. The full version of Depiction provides several variables that can be tweaked to customize the simulation result. The flood also disables people, buildings and elements that it comes into contact with.

Tillamook, Oregon Search & RescueAntenna and Line of Sight: Both of these elements, only included in the full version of Depiction, use a line-of-sight simulation behavior, determining what areas can be seen from a certain point, based on the elevation data present. The elements use the same behavior, but have different default variables–height, field of view, direction, ‘horizontal sampling’ (which determines the precision of the simulation) and maximum distance–set to approximate different things. The antenna element also has additional fields that, while they don’t affect the simulation, are of interest to anyone dealing with antennas, such as frequency, power, etc.

Other simulation elements make use of the road network data obtained from OpenStreetMap.

Route – road network (called simply Route in DepictionPrep): This is a basic, ’shortest distance’ route to which you can add waypoints, which also provides turn-by-turn directions if the street names are listed in OpenStreetMap. Additional route types are available in the new Logistics Add-on. Where the road network simulations really shine, though, is in the way they work if the roads do not.

Road barrier and Water over roadway: These elements both disable any road network they touch, causing routes to recalculate and find the next shortest path between waypoints. You can change both the shape and size of these elements to set any region you want as off-limits. This is an enormously useful tool for determining evacuation routes, or just general routing that avoids a certain area.

Explosion: This element does the same basic thing–set a blast radius, and the explosion disables the road network in the area–but in addition, the explosion also disables various other elements unfortunate to be caught in it.

Fire perimeter: This freeform polygon basically enables you to create your own shape that disables elements within it. In DepictionPrep, it also disables road networks as explosions and road barriers do–in the full version, this ability is easily added from the interactions menu.

Plume: Finally, this element does a very basic simulation of a chemical plume, using variables like amount, wind speed, wind direction and amount of time. This generic plume element isn’t nearly so accurate as something like ALOHA modelling, but for the purpose of quick simulation or scenario building for family preparedness, the plume element is a great option.

For more on simulation elements watch this Depiction 101 video.

DepictionPrep available for pre-order

In September, we were very excited to announce the newest addition to our software line: DepictionPrep. It is our easiest to use, most streamlined and least expensive mapping program yet. DepictionPrep is preparedness mapping software, built to help individuals, families and neighborhoods build preparedness plans. It will be available for $29.95, however pre-orders are just $24.95 right now. The full launch of DepictionPrep is just around the corner, so take advantage of the discount now!

Questions about DepictionPrep?

I have Depiction. Can I share my depictions with people who have DepictionPrep, and can they share theirs with me?

Absolutely! Depiction’s DPN files (.dpn) are completely compatible with Depiction, DepictionPrep, and the Free Reader. In fact, if you are using the Reader to share depictions with a group, DepictionPrep would be an inexpensive way to give them the ability to actually work with the files you provide, and not just view them.

What about preparedness groups like CERT and Map Your Neighborhood?

If you’re already involved with disaster preparedness in your community, you’ll get even more utility out of DepictionPrep. Create and distribute preparedness maps at the neighborhood and community level, build disaster scenarios and test your plans against them!

I already own Depiction. Should I get DepictionPrep, too?

Because DepictionPrep has been streamlined and scaled back to just those features essential for preparedness, there’s less of a learning curve than there is with Depiction—which, in turn, has much less of a learning curve than other mapping programs. If you want a simpler version of the software to do a few basic tasks, or to introduce less tech-savvy folks to Depiction, DepictionPrep is what you want.

I was considering getting Depiction. Should I get DepictionPrep instead?

Check out this comparison chart to see if DepictionPrep has all the capabilities you are looking for.

I live outside the USA. Can I use DepictionPrep?

You can—the main capabilities of DepictionPrep, building plans and creating scenarios, are available anywhere in the world, as are the primary basemaps. Though some of the data used by DepictionPrep is US-only data, the bulk of its functionality is the same no matter where you are.

How do I get DepictionPrep?

Visit and pre-order today! You’ll reserve a copy of the software for just $24.95, plus get access to an advanced beta version. This offer only lasts until we actually release the final version, so act quickly, that’s just around the corner!

Learn more at

Revealers in the Reader, DepictionPrep & Depiction

Revealers are among the most unique and powerful tools in the Depiction platform. Most mapping programs use the concept of “layers,” hearkening back to 19th century technology that was used to develop separate parts of the map on different photographic plates, and then combine them together. Because a depiction is both a map and an interactive simulation environment, elements in Depiction are not divided into separate layers like this. Everything is together in the same scenario.

However, Revealers give Depiction the same capabilities that traditional mapping programs have with layers, plus a great deal more. A Revealer is a movable, Resizable window that shows you specific elements–any and all elements that you choose. A Revealer could show you Quickstart data, like aerial imagery or a street map, or data you have added yourself, like a scanned paper map, GIS data, or elements you imported from a spreadsheet or added with the mouse. Any combination of elements can be added to a Revealer, then viewed–or hidden–in any way you like.

With the Free Reader you can move, hide, resize, and even change the shape and transparency of any Revealer in a depiction you are viewing. Each of the sample depictions on our downloads page uses Revealers to provide information in different ways.

In both DepictionPrep and the full version of Depiction, you have complete control over creating, removing and editing the content of Revealers. In DepictionPrep, for example, you might plot out your home’s floorplan and the distribution of emergency supplies, putting each floor into a different Revealer, letting you view and work with each floor separately. In Depiction, you might build two different logistics or response plans, putting each one in a different Revealer, to more easily compare and present them.

To learn more about Revealers, watch this Depiction 101: Revealers session, or, if you own a copy of Depiction, take a look at the “Using Revealers” sample depiction.

Revealers example

In this example, NAIP imagery is in one revealer, while building elements are in another.

Blogging through the Depiction comparison chart

Last week I posted the comparison chart that gives a quick overview of the differences between the Depiction Reader, DepictionPrep and the full version of Depiction. This week, I’m going to go through the chart and look at the different capabilities in more detail.

Today, we’ll start with the five lines–the primary purpose of each program, their cost, and what they can do with depiction (or DPN) files.

Depiction Reader is fairly basic–it enables anyone to freely view maps and scenarios created with Depiction or DepictionPrep, much like the Adobe PDF reader does the same for PDF files. It’s available for free, and in addition to being a great introduction to Depiction and letting you play with our various sample files, has enabled various organizations across the country to make great use of Depiction even when not everyone involved owns the full product.

DepictionPrep builds on that capability. As a streamlined version of Depiction built specifically for personal and neighborhood preparedness, DepictionPrep can, like the Reader, open any file created in the full version of Depiction. But in addition to that, there is also the capability of editing those depictions, and, of course, the primary purpose creating your own preparedness maps and scenarios. The one limitation on creating depictions is that they must be kept down to a local level–under 100 square miles. And all this for just $29.95.

Depiction itself lets you do all of this, naturally, and with all of the software’s powerful tools at your disposal, and can create depictions of nearly unlimited size. There are a couple limitations–first, the planet is only so big, so that’s a fairly hard limit. Second, while your depictions can be of any size, there are limits to the amount of data you can load into a single depiction. Trying to load 30-meter elevation or road network data for the entire state of Colorado, for example, would probably not end well. But aside from that sort of thing, the sky (or rather, the earth) is the limit! The full version of Depiction costs $199, which, while more than DepictionPrep, is still a pretty incredible bargain when compared to tools with similar capabilities.

Which version of Depiction is right for you?

With the new version of Depiction coming out, DepictionPrep preparedness mapping software, you might be curious about which version of Depiction–the full version, DepictionPrep, or even the Depiction Free Reader.

This new Depiction comparison chart may help you navigate your options.

There are a few other differences that someone familiar with both products will recognize, but that’s a good summary. DepictionPrep has been scaled back and streamlined to make it a powerful tool for a couple tasks. The full version of Depiction, meanwhile, is a very powerful, flexible platform that can provide a wide range of solutions to folks who need situational awareness, asset management, event planning, table-top exercises or any number of other tools, particularly in (though not limited to) emergency management.

DepictionPrep is also a great place to start if you’re new to mapping and don’t find it easy to learn new software. The basic tools and tutorials will give you a great grounding that will serve you well if you decide to upgrade to the full version later.

Of course, if you want something right now, the full version is your only option–but DepictionPrep is on its way soon!