Emergency Management

Red Cross Webinar now online.

The repeat webinar we did for Red Cross Chapters is now available online. Watch on our website or watch it on YouTube.  This showcases the capabilities of Depiction More than Mapping software.

Interesting Info Graphic about trends in Emergency Management.

Click here to go to webisite that has the info graphic.

Interesting Paper on GIS and Emergency Management by Dr John Pine of LSU

We have posted an interesting paper by DR. John Pine of LSU on the use of GIS in Emergency Management.  You can find it here.

In this paper Dr. Pine explores how a geographic information system (GIS) can be used to assist emergency managers in planning for and responding to emergencies. This includes creating situational awareness and common operating pictures.  Of course we think Depiction software is a great affordable and easy to use tool for Emergency Managers.

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.

La Quinta Emergency Preparedness Kits

The City of La Quinta CA is a long time Depiction/DepictionPrep user and has a very active Neighborhood preparedness program. Paul Hess the emergency services coordinator for the city recently sent me info on some new kits they have available.

The City of La Quinta has now announced the release of the New La Quinta PREP Emergency Preparedness Kits:

The City of La Quinta is making it easier than ever to get prepared for an earthquake or other community emergency! Now, the new

La Quinta PREP Emergency Preparedness Kits are available to the public from our City web site:



We have worked hard with the great staff at More Prepared to create this family, vehicle, and Workplace

Emergency Preparedness starter kit that follows our PREP Neighborhood Preparedness guidelines including:

  1. Emergency Water Supplies (To be added by the purchaser according to PREP handout instructions)
  2. Bandaging Supplies for more than a dozen people
  3. Tools including Flashlight, Lantern, & AM/FM radio, pry bar, and hand tools
  4. La Quinta PREP booklets and handouts

We are very excited to have this La Quinta PREP Emergency Preparedness Kit available to the public commercially. You can add anything else you want to customize the La Quinta PREP Kit for your family, neighborhood, HOA, vehicle or work location. We believe it is reasonably priced and is a great convenience to all of our responders, volunteers, and residents. Just add water, and you are ready for any emergency! Remember to have a starter kit at home, in your vehicles, and at your work or day location. For more information on the La Quinta PREP Program and Kit please contact Paul Hess, our Emergency Services Coordinator at 760-777-7061 or at phess@la-quinta.org.

(Note: the City of La Quinta does not profit from the sale of these kits. They are provided as a public service to increase family and neighborhood preparedness)

February 22, 2012 Webinar

Russell Deffner(Depiction Preferred Consultant and Depiction University Instructor) will be presenting the next Depiction 101 Webinar on February 22nd and 9:00am PST/Noon EST. Below is Russell’s description of what he is going to be covering.

A Tabletop Exercise (TTX) is an excellent way to go through the motions of an event that is not part of your typical routine or just difficult or expensive to replicate.  I have personally participated in many TTX.  Some very good, some not so much; in my opinion the relative success of a TTX is how absorbed I get in the scenario.  If I can picture myself in the moment, making those decisions, then afterward I feel better prepared for the real thing.  However, in many of the TTX I’ve participated in, I find myself just reading verbatim or regurgitating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the organization.  This, in turn, leaves me feeling like in the heat of the moment I’ll be in pretty bad shape if I don’t have time to open up the manual, leaving me discouraged or thinking how unrealistic that exercise was.

There are lots of factors to why a TTX is successful or not, or how much the participants will take away from the exercise.  In my experience one common thing that is lacking in the not so successful exercises is a good visual component.  As humans, we can gather and process more information from a picture than the same scene described in text.  During this webinar I will demonstrate some of the things Depiction can do to add a good visual component (and more) to your next Tabletop Exercise.

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!

National Preparedness Month: LANL uses Depiction

National Preparedness Month is observed each September in the US. It’s a time when Americans take simple steps to prepare for the unknown. Depiction is partaking in this year’s event by featuring Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and how they use Depiction to prepare for such events as wild fire, potential security threats and scenarios on chemical leaks.

This webinar is free to attend! Alan Woodward, EOC Planning Sections Chief at LANL, will highlight several tabletop exercises, scenario simulations and take questions from attendees. This webinar is great for individuals, organizations and companies interested in preparedness planning and consequence assessment. Alan comments that LANL uses Depiction for its “ease of use, flat learning curve, professionalism and fast in-field collaboration capability”.

Attendees will learn how Depiction can be used to create simulations and facilitate ‘in the moment’ cooperation whether for a national laboratory, your neighborhood, fire department, police department, local government organizations or emergency field teams.

Alan Woodward joins us as our guest presenter September 22nd at 10:30am PST. He has worked in the Emergency Operations Division for 10 years as an analyst, emergency planner, and Section chief with over thirteen years experience developing geographic information systems (GIS) and GIS products. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University (in Physics) and a Master of Science degree from Oklahoma State University (in Plant and Soil Sciences). Currently, he is focused on developing GIS applications for emergency responders that can be used in an EOC or at the site of an emergency.

Also joining in to field questions and provide additional information are Rachel Hixson, Dave McClard and Bill Purtymun.

Rachel Hixson is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist with a Master of Arts degree in Geography from Arizona State University.  She is helping to develop the GIS capabilities of LANL’s Emergency Operations Center.  She has also been working on reverse plume modeling for a national bio-surveillance program at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for three years.

Dave McClard works in the EO-EM Group as an Emergency Manager. Current responsibilities: Focus on response management, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) operability, planning and preparedness activities, communication operations, aviation operations, and wildland fire operations. Dave began emergency management work in 1986 as a search and rescue (SAR) pilot and search and rescue trainer. His last five years were spent as the State Emergency Services Director and squadron commander for an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

Bill Purtymun originally became involved in emergency management as a Firefighter III/ EMT Paramedic.   He graduated from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology with a BS in Geology. He has been employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory since 1989, initially as a Site Safety Officer for a non-reactor nuclear facility.  In the mid 1990’s he became a LANL Emergency Manager and Incident Commander for the Emergency Operations Division.  For the past several years he has worked in Hazard and Consequence Assessment at the LANL Emergency Operations Center.  In his spare time he volunteers with the local ski and mountain bike patrol and is a Nationally Registered Paramedic.   He is currently working on his masters in Emergency Management through Arizona State University.

Join us on September 22nd at 10:30am PST to learn more about how your organization can be better prepared, cross collaborate more efficiently and benefit from the Depiction software platform.

Depiction University Updated for 1.3

While we designed Depiction to be user-friendly, intuitive and easy to use, it soon became apparent that users wanted more help in learning all the tools available in the software. So we introduced Depiction University in the Fall of 2010. With the release of Depiction 1.3 in May, lots of updating was in order for the DU program, and we are happy to announce that this process is complete. The program includes eight self-paced modules, which a “student” has one year to complete. There is also a special forum on depiction.com where students can share ideas, provide feedback on the software and DU program, and interact with instructors. And we have designed a special preview module so you can try it out.  Find out more today!

Depiction University Logo

Amateur Radio Webinar Series

Last month, we started a new webinar series for Amateur Radio users of Depiction. You can view the inaugural session recording or sign up for the second session (TONIGHT). The series is hosted by Tim O’Shea, KY7Y, a Depiction Preferred Consultant, Assistant Emergency Coordinator and PIO for the Washoe County, NV ARES/RACES and the ARRL Nevada State Government Liaison. We are excited to have Tim present topical and important information for Depictions users involved in Emergency Communications. This week will focus on APRS with Depiction, and the APRS Live Add-on in particular. See you there!