Posts tagged Emergency Management

Depiction and the National Grid

During our webinar today one of the participants asked if Depiction was compatible with the USNG.  At the time I wasn’t sure what he was referring to.  He was kind enough to have an expert in its use drop me a line and point me to some resources. So here is what I have found out so far.  USNG stands for US National Grid system.  You can find a very complete description here.

The USNG is a based on the UTM coordinate system.  Depiction does have the ability to display locations in the UTM format.

Tools-Settings MenuIf you go to the Tools menu and choose settings and then click on the Coordinate format.  The UTM format is the 5th one down.

There is a website called the US National Grid Information center where you can find shape files for download.  However what I discovered was that these downloads have lots of data in them and you can’t have a depiction boundary too large and load one of these shape files because it can bring Depiction to its knees.  A couple of them I checked out had around 65,000 shapes. When I tried to load one of these for a large area it brought Depiction to its knees.  However, for smaller areas you are able to import the file.

Depiction displaying the National Grid

This Depiction area is 65 x 39 miles and has about 6600 shape elements.  Depiction was able to read it and display it but I noticed the program was a little sluggish. Especially when it had to display all 6600 shapes.  If you turn off the display of the shapes and display the shapes in a smaller revealer you will get much better performance. It is having to redraw those 6600 shapes everytime that you do something that causes the program to slow down.

So in order to use this go to the US National Grid Info Center web site.

US National grid web site

Choose the region you are interested in.

Choose the zone that covers your area of interest. Click on it and will start a download. Choose a location were you want the file to be downloaded. Once it is downloaded open the zip file and do an “extract all” and place the results in  a folder of your choosing.  Then start a depiction, keeping the size to around 2500 square miles or less. Then go to the add menu and choose the file option and browse to your folder.  Choose the file with the .SHP extension and auto detect for element type and click add and it will bring the file in.  When the shapes come in they are assigned random colors but if you want no color then you can go to the manage menu.  Select all of the shapes and choose edit. That will bring up this screen.

Depiction Manage - Edit Properties menu

scroll down to the ZOI Fill field and click on it which will bring up the color palate.  In the bottom right there is an option for no color. Choose that say apply and the colors will disappear.

Hope that will help those of you interested in the national grid.

Video of Depiction Webinar by Michael Craig of Pemstar now available.

This webinar was about how Michael Craig used Depiction more than mapping software during the planning for and as a common operating picture and situational awareness tool to support the New Jersey MACC for the SuperBowl 48. You can watch it here.

April 22nd Webinar – Michael Craig and the Big Game

Please join us on Tuesday April 22nd, 2014 at Noon PST/3pm EST for another informative Depiction 101 webinar.

The webinar will be how Michael Craig, Owner of PEMSTAR was asked to be the GIS Technical Specialist for the MACC (multi-agency coordination system) for SuperbOwl 48. The MACC is the fusion center for all emergency medical and health service. It was assigned to monitor, support and coordinate all incidents within New Jersey and New York. Michael Craig used Depiction as his primary GIS mapping software. Michael used almost all the assets that Depiction has to offer, publish to web, live reports, customizable elements creation and more. The Department of Health and Human Services, FDNY, New Jersey EMS task force, FEMA and the New Jersey Department of Health were just some of the event participants. During the week of the SuperbOwl, Michael Craig not only had to coordinate the SuperbOwl events but a quarantined cruise ship, and a large number of white powder incidents.

If there is time available we will also be available to answer general questions.

You can register here.

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.

New Webinar Video Now On-Line

David Hancock gave a very informative demonstration of his ICSolution Emergency Management Software on today’s 101 Webinar.  You can watch it here.

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.

Ric Skinner, GISP: Depiction Preferred Consultant Profile

Depiction Preferred Consultants (DPC) are a great asset to Depiction and we’re happy to have them as part of the Depiction family. These folks offer services like training, project assistance and even full Depiction implementation to organizations interested in or already using Depiction. We’re writing a series of blogs to highlight the strengths of each of our DPCs to expand on the resources that support Depiction. This week we’re featuring Ric Skinner.

Ric Skinner of The Stoneybrook Group, LLC is a Certified GIS Professional with over 30 years of professional experience in hospital & healthcare preparedness, health geographics and environmental management. While The Stoneybrook Group is based in Massachusetts it is available to provides services and grant collaboration regionally and nationally. Ric is the book editor and a chapter author of GIS in Hospital and Healthcare Emergency Management. He is an active member of the International Assn. of Emergency Managers (IAEM), Urban & Regional Information Systems Assn. (URISA), and other professional organizations and their listservs. Following the old adage “if I give you a fish you will eat for one meal; if I teach you to fish you will never go hungry,” Ric’s consulting objective is to teach others how to use GIS to meet their needs for assuring that the right people, have the right information, at the right time and in the right format. While he has used ESRI GIS software since the late 1980s, he recognizes that many small organizations and budget-strapped municipalities cannot afford the investment of money and people for a GIS that has many features and functions they really don’t need. That’s why he now focuses on the “leaner and less costly” GIS capabilities that Depiction provides.

I have had the pleasure of working with Ric both virtually and in person. I appreciate his knowledge of GIS, healthcare and policy affecting both, and his desire to foster collaboration and effective use of Depiction. Ric is very enthusiastic about GIS (he has been called a “GIS evangelist”) and about Depiction, both in its current functionality and its potential. We have featured him in two Depiction Perspectives interviews (June 2010 and June 2011), and several blog posts.

For the past year or so, Ric has been working with Chris Floyd of Disaster Resistant Communities Group, to put on the Formidable Footprint online tabletop exercise series. He uses Depiction to produce interactive and static maps that illustrate the location and effects of the disaster for each innovative, free monthly event.

Please contact Ric Skinner via email with any questions and visit The Stoneybrook Group, LLC to learn more about his company.