News & Notes

News Release: Preparing First Responders with Critical Tools and Technologies

September 20, 2021

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology (DHS S&T) Directorate published the article “Preparing First Responders with Critical Tools and Technologies,” which illustrates how S&T prepares teams to be ready at a moment’s notice.

The two most recent events discussed in the article were the Champlain Towers South collapse and Hurricane Ida. These events brought to light some of the challenges faced when preparing for both no-notice and forecasted events. The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation, funded by DHS S&T, has developed tools focused on improving flood preparedness and response. These tools, however, have easily been applied to other hazards, including Chaplain Towers, Hurricane Ida, and the ongoing wildfires. The tools can be scaled to meet the needs of local, state, and federal stakeholders on a single platform.

“…the Search and Rescue Field Data Collection and Situational Awareness Platform was deployed during the Champlain Towers South collapse and Hurricane Ida, where FEMA and the NAPSG Foundation were able to utilize GIS technology to help the responding US&R teams effectively plan and track search progression, provide a mechanism to follow up on critical issues, and inform executive leadership about incident status in near real-time.”

Read the full article

2021 Hurricane GIS & Situational Awareness Resources

August 30, 2021
Last Updated: 10:46AM EDT

Hurricane Forecasts and Advisories

NHC Website
Visit NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) for the most authoritative source for Hurricane Advisories.

Hurricane Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness Viewer
NAPSG Foundation has a lightweight and publicly accessible situational awareness viewer for the community to access basic information on incidents and forecasts.

FEMA’s Geospatial Resource Center

FEMA’s Hub Site
FEMA’s Geospatial Resource Center includes data, maps, dashboards, and applications from FEMA; state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) and interagency partners; and the response community. The site includes a page of incident-specific content for Hurricane Ida including near real-time data feeds, model outputs, and imagery.

PhotoMappers Public Portal

Crowdsourced Photo Gallery
Use this app and map to get a picture of 2021 hurricane damage at the ground level.

How you can help? Sleuth the web for photos from social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that indicate flood impact in areas affected by 2021 hurricanes and have a location identified (street address, neighborhood, town, etc.) and add them to the map.

Core Information Needs

All-Hazards Core Information Needs
Base and Live Data for Hurricanes
This Gallery displays datasets curated for the All-Hazards Core Information Needs Group, an ArcGIS Online Group with layers that address core information needs related to all-hazards. The purpose of this group is to serve as a starting point for geospatial decision support tools that rely on base data and live data. It is an outcome of the First Responder Core Information Guideline project.

Crisis Communication Catalog

Crisis Communication Catalog Contribution Page
Crisis Communication Catalog Hub Site
Knowing where to access information during a disaster is crucial. The Crisis Communication Catalog is an effort to build a nationwide geo-dataset of the best sources for public safety and incident status information in communities across the nation. View the map and data currently available and/or contribute to building out the nationwide Crisis Communication Catalog!


Launch or Request Access
HURREVAC is the National Hurricane Program’s hurricane decision support tool and can be used to assist government emergency managers in planning, decision-making, and responding to tropical cyclone threats and evacuations. Access is restricted to authorized users with approved credentials.

View a Summary of All Advisories: (Courtesy of Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development)

NAPSG Foundation set to develop expanded incident symbology for ARES

June 14, 2021

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T). The goal of the CRADA is to develop an expanded set of incident symbols using the NAPSG Foundation Symbology Methodology, for use within the DHS Augmented Reality Sandtable (AReS), to be available to all public safety agencies at no cost. This CRADA is an expansion of an existing relationship between DHS S&T and NAPSG Foundation on the development of the NAPSG Foundation Symbology Methodology, which currently is available in the NAPSG Symbol Library.

NAPSG Foundation is honored to work with DHS S&T for this collaborative effort, and we know that the deliverables from this partnership will provide even greater and more effective tools for our public safety community.

Acknowledgment. “This publication is based upon work conducted under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cooperative Research and Development Agreement No. 21-TCD-002.” 

Disclaimer. “The views and/or conclusions contained in this document are those of the author(s) and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and do not constitute a DHS endorsement of the equipment tested or evaluated.” 

New Light Technologies, Dewberry, and NAPSG Foundation win FEMA contract

On November 2, 2020, New Light Technologies Inc. (NLT) announced they were awarded a new contract by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). NLT has partnered with Dewberry and the NAPSG Foundation—two of the most well-known names in emergency management—to provide modeling, analytics, systems development, and training services for the Response Geospatial Office (RGO).

“Partnering with Dewberry and NAPSG will extend our ability to seamlessly synthesize environmental and critical infrastructure data, generate highly accurate analytics for large-scale disasters, and quickly deliver this information to the public and decision-makers across all echelons of government,” says NLT’s Program Manager Rob Pitts.

Read the full article



DHS S&T Webinar Series: Securing our Future Now

September 17, 2020

The DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is convening a diverse group of public-private partners to present a series of virtual discussions aimed at “securing our future now.”

We are pleased to invite you to the kick-off event, “Clearing the Path: Responding to Disasters During a Crisis,” which will take place Thursday, September 24th, from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm Eastern.

Space is limited – be sure to register early! For more details and registration, please click here. Add to Calendar

  • Understand how new public-private partnerships are accelerating new solutions and
    business models to prepare for day-to-day emergencies and a national crisis.
  • Educate community leaders on how new science and technology applications are
    enhancing resilience and protecting life-line systems and networks.
Questions and Call to Action
  • With the increased frequency of new threats, what new tools and policies are available to
    incentivize collaboration among government, industry, and foundations?
  • Communities are investing in automated and digital technologies; why is this important,
    and how are predictive data sets changing the way we think about risk and preparedness?
  • David Maurstad, Deputy Associate Administrator, FEMA
  • Duane Caneva, Chief Medical Officer, DHS Countering WMD Office
  • Ted Smith, Ph.D., Wastewater Based Epidemiology, Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Louisville

This event will be moderated by Dr. David Alexander, Director of Resilience Research and Partnerships, at the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

Register now for this no-cost event!



NAPSG Featured by DHS S&T and Homeland Security Today

September 2, 2020

As we continue to support response efforts for Hurricane Laura and kick-off National Preparedness Month, we are pleased to share that several important NAPSG Foundation efforts were recently featured by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T).

On September 1, 2020, Homeland Security Today released an article on “National Preparedness Month 2020: The Science of Being Prepared” where NAPSG’s Innovation Summit for Preparedness & Resilience (InSPIRE) was featured as a flagship event for sharing lessons learned and building peer networks. InSPIRE was highlighted as a cornerstone opportunity for how the community can build its capacity to better leverage science and innovative technology in preparedness for disasters. This article was authored by William Bryan, Undersecretary of DHS S&T.

Earlier this week, DHS S&T also released their weekly TWIST newsletter, which focused on how the agency is supporting Hurricane Laura’s response and recovery operations. It featured a NAPSG Foundation, DHS S&T, and FEMA collaborative effort known as the 2020 Disasters Crowdsourced Photos Platform.

Below is the segment featured in the newsletter:

“Under the DHS Tech Innovation Project, S&T worked with NAPSG Foundation and FEMA over a 3-year-period to advance a capability for using crowdsourced photos to provide first available ground-level situational awareness, validate estimated damage, locate debris, and assess the damage suffered by communities impacted by hurricanes and other disasters.

While the concept is not new – it has been used during every hurricane since Harvey – it was able to evolve into a true platform as a result of prototyping through S&T’s efforts under the DHS Tech Innovation Project. In particular, regional workshops in Colorado, South Carolina, and exercises at the Innovation Summit for Preparedness & Resilience (InSPIRE) helped to prove the benefit of this methodology.

In response to Hurricane Laura, FEMA offices, including the FEMA Response Geospatial Office, are using a 2020 Disasters Crowdsourced Photos Dashboard to understand impact by lifeline and help assess structural impacts. The FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit is using a similar site to brief the NRCC and regional offices, as is FEMA’s Urban Search & Rescue and the Louisiana and Texas state governments. For Hurricane Laura, more than 380 photos in the hurricane track were crowdsourced, validated, and damage assessed by lifeline. This effort directly supports FEMA and state/local/tribal/territorial communities by providing rapid situational awareness of the impact by community lifeline, in support of quickly re-establishing services and stability of critical community resources.”

Call to Action! How Does your Agency Manage Resources?

August 11, 2020

Resource management is the cornerstone of preparing for and responding to incidents that require mutual aid among agencies and jurisdictions. Currently, the adoption and use of standardized resource management policies, practices, and technology vary greatly at the local level nationwide. In order to unify efforts and improve resource management for daily operations and larger-scale incidents, we need to first understand how agencies are managing their resources today.

NAPSG Foundation is responding to this need by launching a study to form a baseline understanding of the extent of implementation of resource typing, inventorying, and management across the nation. Findings from this effort will help inform future resource management guidance that is part of NIMS and various resource management and mutual aid systems commonly in use today.

You have the opportunity to participate – help inform national guidance!

This is a Call to Action for all public safety agencies and organizations nationwide who own and/or manage resources that are used to respond to incidents of all types and sizes. Participating is easy – and by contributing, you are helping to inform NIMS and other locally-driven national guidance and programs. Instructions are provided below:

  • The questionnaire takes about 15 minutes to complete.
  • Only one questionnaire is needed per agency.
  • All results are anonymous.
  • Response Period closes December 4, 2020.

Link to Questionnaire:

**Please note: The link works best in Edge, Firefox, and Chrome browsers.**

Questions? If you have questions about this research study, please send an email to Charlotte Abel with NAPSG Foundation at

How does your agency manage resources?

CALL FOR ACTION! Technology & GIS in COVID-19 Response

July 9, 2020

Respond to the Questionnaire!

Data-driven decision support tools and technology have been essential at all levels in our nation’s response to COVID-19. From case monitoring to personal protective equipment (PPE) management, technology and data have supported response operations in local, state, and federal agencies nationwide. However, the nationwide demand for location-based data analytics and technology has highlighted barriers in data sharing, technology and policy gaps, and other trouble spots in our pandemic preparedness and response capabilities.

As we continue to respond to COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics, capturing lessons learned and codifying improvement areas are vital in our effort to take corrective actions that increase preparedness and improve response operations. This is only possible with your participation. By completing this questionnaire, your voice and experiences are heard and accounted for as part of the COVID-19 After Action Review (AAR) process.

NAPSG Foundation, URISA, and NSGIC logos

NAPSG Foundation, the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), and the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) have collaborated to release a COVID-19 Technology & GIS AAR Questionnaire to collect feedback on the use of data-driven decision support tools and technology by the public safety community in responding to COVID-19. The information gathered will help inform how we prepare for and respond to future pandemics.

Questions? If you have questions about this research study, please email Charlotte Abel at

February 2021 Update: The COVID-19 Tech & GIS After Action Report & Improvement Plan are now live. To access the AAR, click here!

S&T Brings Partners Together to InSPIRE Disaster Preparedness and Resilience Innovation

May 19, 2020

In early March, a series of large tornadoes touched down in Tennessee, killing 25 people and injuring more than 300. Later in the month, tornadoes also struck in Arkansas and several other states. Natural disasters such as these, along with manmade and technological disasters (e.g., oil spills, chemical spills, radiation leaks), can strike any community across the nation resulting in devastation for survivors, businesses, critical infrastructure, and the environment. To help communities prepare for such disasters and rebuild in the aftermath, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) partnered with the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (Geospatial Information Services) Foundation (NAPSG) to convene experts from around the country to share best practices and identify practical solutions related to information sharing, geospatial technologies, and leadership.

For the fifth year in a row, DHS S&T has teamed up with NAPSG for the National Geospatial Preparedness Summit, which is now known as the Innovation Summit for Preparedness and Resilience (InSPIRE). The 2019 InSPIRE event was held in Galveston, Texas, in November and brought together public safety practitioners and GIS professionals to build skills in developing and implementing GIS-based decision support tools, develop peer relationships, and validate skills and capabilities through workshops and exercises.

Read the Full Article by DHS Science and Technology Directorate @

Important: Fundraising Scam Alert

May 19, 2020

Dear NAPSG Community,

Various government agencies have issued warnings about fundraising scams that have been taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic by contacting individuals by phone/email pretending to be from government or health agencies, hospitals, or insurers. Also, we were notified recently that individuals claiming to be with the “National Alliance for Public Safety” have been contacting individuals for donations.

For these reasons, we’d like to remind you that NAPSG Foundation representatives will never contact you to solicit any funds. If someone asks you for a donation and uses the NAPSG name (or something similar), then it is a scam and should be reported.

Report a Scam

If you believe that you have been a target of a scam, please file an online police report and notify the Federal Trade Commission immediately.


Peter O’Rourke, Executive Director