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Mapping workshop helps improve safety

January 23, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

A two-day Mapping the Common Operational Picture workshop was conducted on Jan. 11 and 12 at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke.

The Monongahela National Forest Service conducted this emergency management class in conjunction with Future Generations. The workshop was attended by 22 first responders, public safety workers and volunteers. Local attendees of the class were Randall Ware and Frank Heffernan.

This workshop created a COP of different features, resources, infrastructure and events. The information was integrated into a geospatial toolkit and applied to computer mapping programs such as Google Earth and ArcGIS Explorer.

ArcGIS Explorer is a free geographic information system software program that gives the user the ability to explore, visualize and share mapping data. Google Earth is a popular virtual globe and GIS program that shows satellite imagery of the entire planet and has been downloaded over a billion times since 2005.

The workshop transitioned from participants learning the software to applying them in an emergency-response situation; however, the emphasis remained on hands-on mapping and Web GIS, which is similar to web-mapping, with an emphasis on analysis and project-specific data.

The class studied public safety case studies, incidents using COP, a National Incident Management System, outline tools, online mapping and mobile technologies and local COP and emergency situation mapping.

Sam Lammie, GISP Monongahela National Forest instructor, led the 16-hour course with assistance from GIS technicians William Schauman and Tim Brake. Ginger Wimer, program officer, and Nicole Marsh, administrative assistant of Future Generations West Virginia Broadband Opportunities Program, coordinated the class.



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