News & Notes

Community Lifeline Symbols and Symbol Library Tool Updates

Community Lifeline Symbols

NAPSG Foundation’s Symbol Library provides the public safety community with a consistent incident symbology framework, guideline, and symbol set for use at the incident level on maps and in geographic information system (GIS) applications.

Some of the newest additions to the Symbol Library Tool are FEMA’s Community Lifelines and accompanying Components of Lifelines.

community lifeline symbols


In October 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the fourth edition of the National Response Framework (NRF), which sets the strategy and doctrine for how the whole community builds, sustains, and delivers the response core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal.

This fourth edition of the NRF introduced the community lifelines concept and terminology. Community Lifelines are those services that enable the continuous operation of critical government and business functions and are essential to human health and safety or economic security.

To accompany FEMA’s release of the “Community Lifelines Implementation Toolkit 2.0,” NAPSG Foundation worked with our state and local partners to develop symbols that reflect Community Lifelines and Components of Lifelines in the Symbology Library Tool.

These symbols are free for use by the whole community.

Section of Community Lifelines on a webpage
Select image above to navigate to the Lifelines category in the Symbol Library Tool


NAPSG Foundation’s Symbol Library can be accessed within the Resources area of the website. The library provides access to guideline documents, technical resources, and symbols organized by category. All resources within the Symbol Library are free for use by the whole community.

Latest Enhancements

In addition to the new Community Lifeline Symbols, a recent update to the Symbol Library Tool provides enhancements to aid you in navigating and using the symbols provided.

  1. A symbol with a drop down field below it titled "Select File Type." The cursor is hovering over the PNG 64 option. Download and Copy Link buttons are also provided.Choose File and Icon Types: Symbol size, status, and format options are available for each symbol, as appropriate. A new feature in the tool will allow you to more readily review and select the file and icon types applicable to your needs.
  2. Easily Copy a Symbol’s URL: As part of the updated feature set, individual symbol URLs can now more easily be copied to your system’s clipboard to allow you to paste directly into your mapping applications and other products, mitigating the need to download and host the symbol file elsewhere. These URLs are unique based on the file type and other settings that you choose.

Watch the brief video tutorial below to learn more about this update and how to interact with the new features.

Law Enforcement COVID-19 Situational Awareness Tools Now Available

March 25, 2020

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on law enforcement and other first responders, the National Police Foundation, in collaboration with the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS and Esri, has developed a real-time situational awareness tool for law enforcement agencies. The tool, featuring a real-time dashboard, provides critical insights for executives, commanders, and others to better assess and monitor the impact of COVID-19, including officer exposures, diagnoses, workforce impacts, and PPE needs and projections.

The interactive tool, developed with technical support from the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation and Esri, allows agencies to provide confidential, real-time updates that are instantly incorporated into the national dashboard and map.

Additionally, this effort was mentioned by Vacaville Police Department Chief John Carli on March 25, 2020 on Fox News National.

Click Here to View the News Clip.


Now Available: Expanded Access to HIFLD Licensed Data for COVID-19

March 20, 2020

As Homeland Security and Homeland Defense (HLS/HD) Mission Partners respond to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, all applicable licensed datasets have been released to Local, Tribal, and Territorial users with COVID-19 operational needs.

Per the current HIFLD Data Use Agreement (DUA), NGA may provide this access “during the time of a presidentially-declared national emergency or crisis…to non-Federal governmental disaster/emergency response security agencies and personnel (referred to as “State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Mission Partners”) who are supporting HLS/HD missions.
Please note this expanded access will expire once the current declaration of a national emergency terminates.

This expanded access covers these additional data products:

  • Licensed Parcel Data
  • 2020 Roads and Routing Dataset
  • Dun & Bradstreet Business Points Data

For Current Users:

For Mission Partners with a signed Data Use Agreement (DUA) in place, your access has been automatically adjusted, and no further action is needed. Please visit the Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII) at to interact with this data. If you experience technical issues with the GII, please contact the GII Support Team at

For First-Time Users:

Please visit and click on “Request Licensed Data” to fill out a Data Use Agreement (DUA) using the code “COVID-19” for the reference number. Once approved by NGA, you will be provided access within 24 hours. Please note that in order to complete a DUA and access this data, users must have valid Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) credentials. If you need to request HSIN credentials, please visit: or

The HIFLD Data Catalog for COVID-19 identifies all layers that are available under the current Presidential Emergency Declaration. Please reach out with any questions at

For additional COVID-19 resources, visit:

Call for Action! How Does your Agency Manage Resources?

March 6, 2020

Resource management is the cornerstone to preparing for and responding to incidents requiring mutual aid among agencies and jurisdictions. Currently, the adoption and use of standardized resource management policies, practices, and technology varies 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 on 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!

Click Here to Complete the Questionnaire

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:

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

A Note from the Chairman: Building Capacity Through Engagement

February 4, 2020


My name is Chris Diller, and I recently became Chairman of the NAPSG Foundation Board of Directors.  I took over this role from Rand Napoli who served for the past six years in the same role.  I want to take a moment to thank Rand for his past and future service to NAPSG and for his leadership in helping grow this organization.  In our 15th anniversary, it is very safe to say that we would not be the organization we are today without your leadership.  So “Thank you”.

I’ve been thinking about our efforts at NAPSG and all the things we do to fulfill our mission promise as an organization. For those not familiar with us, our mission is as follows:

“To equip emergency management and public safety with the knowledge, skills, and resources to apply decision-support technology and data in enhancing preparedness and building a more resilient nation.”

Let me share a personal story as to why I am involved with NAPSG and why you should consider getting involved too.

In August 2007, Wisconsin activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in response to major flooding.  I was hired by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) a few years earlier, in part, to help the state figure out how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) could be integrated into the state’s emergency management operations.  But when the SEOC was activated, GIS was not on the list of resources needed.  I supported the Wisconsin National Guard deployment to Hurricane Katrina and helped make a few maps in support of a major tornado event in Wisconsin.  However, I spent most of the time learning how the national guard and civilian government responded during those two events.

I knew maps would be needed, so I decided to do something that forever changed how the state uses GIS in support of emergency management activities.  I grabbed a cart, loaded my computer, a monitor, a printer, and rolled down the hallway into the SEOC.  I set up shop in the back and started making maps.  I just listened and made maps of areas in distress.  Flooded towns and locations of dams came to mind.  I added the US National Grid as an overlay to help anyone who might need it for reference and land navigation.  What happened next exceeded my expectations.

Someone stopped by, looked at one of the maps I created, and asked for a copy.  I hit the print button, and they were off and running.  A few others stopped by and made similar requests. Pretty soon I started getting requests for multiple copies and, eventually, I was making custom maps.  After a week, one of the SEOC managers told me that those maps were second only to communications in terms of importance, and the rest was history.  GIS is now an essential part of the Wisconsin emergency management activities.

There are two reasons I share this story.  The first is that because of NAPSG you won’t have to figure it out on your own as I did.  The second reason is my challenge to you.

I wish NAPSG resources had been available to me then like they are available to you today.  NAPSG has a deep collection of relevant resources to help make you successful, ranging from the latest in best practices and practical guidelines & templates to education and training forums such as our PrepTech Talks and Disaster Innovation Talks.  All of these resources and more are accessible at no cost to you on the NAPSG website.  Some of the most recent initiatives NAPSG has undertaken resulted in guidelines for information-sharing to support mutual aid, a standardized toolkit for First Responder Field Data for Situational Awareness, and a library of symbols – just to name a few of our resources.  The NAPSG Standardized Symbol Library and Tool was an enormous (and ongoing) undertaking and was developed through a community-driven process.  NAPSG invests time listening to and supporting community needs through ongoing dialog and action.

NAPSG supports local and regional training events, conducts regular online PrepTech Talks, and hosts an annual summit known as the Innovation Summit for Preparedness & Resilience (InSPIRE).  NAPSG is an amazing organization that provides resources to you at no cost!

We can do all these great things at NAPSG because:

  1. we have a world-class staff doing lots of hard work every day to help GIS and public safety professionals advance their understanding of innovative technology and policy in support of emergency management;
  2. we have a strong group of financial supporters who believe in what we do (without those supporters we can’t do all these great things);
  3. because the Board of Directors is comprised of experienced technologists and public safety professionals who believe in the NAPSG mission; and
  4. most important, because our broader NAPSG community of professionals and volunteers are willing to donate their time to improve the content, improve the process, and engage in discussion.

Without your involvement, NAPSG doesn’t exist.  This leads to my second point.

I challenge each of you to get more involved and find a way to help your agency blend together: technology, GIS, and the public safety mission.  The beauty of NAPSG is that you don’t have to do it alone.  NAPSG’s greatest resource is connecting people.  We need to understand your needs/challenges.  And the community needs to learn from your successes (and your missteps!).

NAPSG’s future is bright.  We continue to explore more areas where geospatial and other innovative technology can integrate with emergency management and public safety.  In the last couple of years, the next generation 9-1-1 has become a hot topic, along with artificial intelligence, community lifelines, dashboards, and cybersecurity.  Since all these innovations are technology-enabled, concerns of cybercriminals stealing data and corrupting daily operations can threaten our ability to protect property and save lives.  Have another topical area we are not covering?  Contact us and let us know.

Think about the progress we have collectively made in the last 15 years.  Now think about the next ten years.  Get engaged and help build the nations’ public safety and emergency management to implement and use advanced technology.


Warm regards,

Chris Diller
Chairman, NAPSG Foundation

Call to Participate! Technology Roles & Functions in NIMS

January 22, 2020

As the emergency response landscape is changing, incidents now demand new technology roles and functions in of support emergency operations. Evidence-based research is needed to establish a baseline understanding of the current state of technology-related roles and functions in incident management and emergency management command and coordination structures.

NAPSG Foundation is responding to the need for research by launching a study to define the current baseline on how information technology, cyber security, geospatial, and communication functions fit within current EOC and ICS organizational structures across the nation. This is a critical effort that will enable us to better understand how these roles and functions work today in local and state agencies/organizations nationwide – and inform more accurate guidance as part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Now is YOUR chance to participate!

Click Here to Complete the Questionnaire

We need as many agencies to participate as possible to ensure a national perspective. Instructions are provided below:

  • Complete the questionnaire one time for each role or agency you serve in.
    For example, if you serve in your EOC and on a team that is a deployable resource (i.e. US&R or IMT), complete the questionnaire twice, once for each of the agencies/organizational units you serve in.
  • Questionnaire takes about 15-20 minutes to complete
  • Only one questionnaire is needed per agency/organizational unit
  • All results are anonymous
  • Response Period closes March 3, 2020
  • Link to Questionnaire:

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

Nomination Period Open for 2019 Awards for Excellence in Public Safety GIS

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to announce that nominations are open for the 2019 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS.  Please click on the link below to nominate a member of the public safety community who should be recognized for leadership and achievements that significantly advance the use of GIS for the public safety and homeland security community.

Awards will be presented at the 2019 Innovation Summit for Preparedness & Resilience in Galveston, TX.

Participate in Challenge to Automate Damage Assessment

When disaster strikes, speed is critical. The time it takes to properly assess damage in the wake of a major event can be the difference between life and death. The Defense Innovation Unit’s xView2 Challenge seeks to automate post-disaster damage assessment and speed up emergency response, inviting machine learning experts to develop computer vision algorithms for an opportunity to win part of a $150,000 prize.

Participants’ algorithms should be designed to analyze satellite and aerial imagery in order to localize and categorize various types of building damage caused by natural disasters. Their solutions will be tested against a new dataset, xBD. Created by experts from academia and industry, xBD is currently the largest and most diverse annotated building damage dataset, allowing machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI) practitioners to generate and test models for automating building damage assessments. The xView 2 Challenge partners represent a first-of-its-kind coalition between the artificial intelligence and disaster response communities.

Learn more about how to be part of this group to solve humanitarian assistance and disaster relief challenges using AI/ML at

2019 Hurricane GIS & Situational Awareness Resources

August 29, 2019
Last Updated: 1:49PM EDT

Florida Hurricane GIS Resources

Florida Division of Emergency Management makes several key resources available to support disaster readiness and response efforts.

Hurricane Forecasts and Advisories

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center – For the most authoritative source for Hurricane Advisories visit the NHC website at


Hurricane Situational Awareness

FEMA’s Hurricane Incident Journal – Provides relevant spacial decision-making support and is available to the general public at

NAPSG has a light-weight and publicly accessible situational awareness viewer for the community to access basic information on incidents and forecasts. Visit:

2019 Hurricane Crowdsourced Photo App

Use this app and map to get a picture of 2018 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 2018 hurricanes and have a location identified (street address, neighborhood, town, etc.) and add them to the map.

SAR and First Responder Geospatial Toolkit

Use this Story Map template to implement a common geospatial framework and suite of templates for disaster response search and rescue (SAR) and emergency response missions. Interoperability between SAR and first responder teams is critical to response and recovery.

Preliminary Damage Assessment Templates

FEMA has released two standardized template forms that match the information required by FEMA to evaluate requests for the Public Assistance (PA) and Individual Assistance (IA) FEMA Recovery Programs.

For more information on the FEMA PDA Templates and technical guidance to support implementation, visit:

Open Data for Disasters

Access the latest incident data available from FEMA and other partners to support situational awareness and decision making in support of hurricanes. Visit:


Identify Local and State Data Sources and Contacts

This web map provides you with links to active state geospatial open data portals and key points of contact to aid in the search and discovery of local and state GIS data.

Cal OES Job Opening: Geographic Information System Division Chief

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has a full-time job opening for a GIS Division Chief (Research Data Supervisor II) in Sacramento County. The final filing date for this position is 7/19/2019.

Application Methods:
  • Electronic (Using your CalCareer Account)
  • By Mail
  • Drop-off
Job Description & Duties:

Under direction of the Response Systems Integration Branch Chief, the GIS Division Chief (Research Data Supervisor II) is responsible for planning, organizing, supervising, controlling and coordinating activities for GIS staff. The GIS Division is responsible for data analysis, data visualization development, map development, testing and documentation requested by various Cal OES program areas for spatial data, with particular emphasis on operational requirements utilized for emergency planning, response and recovery. The GIS Division is responsible for developing, implementing, and continued research and improvement of Cal OES location information and situational awareness tools.

For more details about this position, please click the link below:

Job Posting: Geographic Information System Division Chief