News & Notes

Participate in the HIFLD & GeoPlatform Workshop

Please join us for this year’s combined — Annual HIFLD Feedback Session & GeoPlatform Workshop!

The 2-day meeting will be a collaborative event focused on “Driving Progress through Partnerships.” The interactive meeting will also provide opportunities for the community to share feedback and build partnerships through collaboration and networking.

  • When:  Thursday, November 1st & Friday, November 2nd
  • Where:  USGS National Center: 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston VA, 20192

Portions of the event will be provided by webinar, but we encourage you to join us in person if possible. Please see the Announcement and draft Agenda for further details.

For more event details and registration, click here.

Open GIS Position at FEMA

The Emergency Management Specialist (Geospatial) position is now available in Washington, DC. The position will remain open October 11th through October 18th.

Job Summary:

When disaster strikes, America looks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Join our team and use your talent to support Americans in their times of greatest need. FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages Federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. We foster innovation, reward performance and creativity, and provide challenges on a routine basis with a well-skilled, knowledgeable, high performance workforce. Please visit

Typical Assignments include:

  • Performs activities in operational areas such as analysis and production; modeling; data management; innovation, tools development, coordination and dissemination; advocacy; remote sensing; and technology awareness.
  • Provides key project assistance in the development of program standards, doctrine, training, exercises, FEMA Qualification System (FQS) requirements, and program awareness throughout the agency.
  • Compiles analytical summaries and recommendations. Formulates reports and correspondence. Briefs customers on geospatial capabilities and activities.
  • Assignments frequently require detailed coordination efforts with a variety of other FEMA HQ, Regional, and field organizations.
  • Determines and manages customer expectations for products. Coordinates with appropriate geospatial stakeholders to prevent duplication of effort and to promote information sharing. Briefs customers on geospatial capabilities and activities.

Please click the links below for more details: DE MP

Announcement: Nominations Open for 2018 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to announce that nominations are open for the 2018 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 in significantly advancing the use of GIS for the public safety and homeland security community.

Awards will be presented at the 2018 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit, in Boulder, CO.

Nomination Application

2018 Hurricane GIS & Situational Awareness Resources

October 10, 2018
Last Updated: 11:50 EST

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:

2018 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.

Search & Rescue Decision Support and Analysis Tools

  • What Is It? NAPSG Foundation is partnered with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) to make a standardized mobile application and tool set available for first responders to rapidly collection location-based information during a disaster.
  • Who Is It For? First Responders, Incident Command Staff, and EOC Staff – Local and State search and rescue teams that are staging and responding to any type of event can deploy the mobile application. Field data collected through the tool can be visualized in dashboards, viewers, and reports to support increased situational awareness and improved decision making in the ICP and EOC.
  • Get Started Now – To enroll, contact the IAFC using the points of contact below:
    Jeff Dulin Tel. 704-619-2714 Email.
    TJ Lyon Tel. 407-832-3375 Email.
  • Learn More – Check out an overview of the tool at

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:

Esri Disaster Response Program Resources for Florence

This page contains curated maps and apps that support response and recovery for Hurricane Florence.

Open Data on National Infrastructure

Access nearly 400 geospatial data layers for our nation’s key infrastructure through the HIFLD Open website hosted by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in collaboration with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Publicly accessible infrastructure data can be used to support basic planning and situational awareness for mutual aid resources for all types of disasters, including hurricanes. Visit HIFLD Open to begin exploring open infrastructure data for the nation:

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.


Core Information Needs ArcGIS Online Group

This is a public ArcGIS Online Group for finding layers, maps, and apps to support your geospatial platform. It catalogs all-hazards core information needs such as base data and live feeds. If you are a GIS Specialist starting your first emergency management web map or have an existing one but are looking for additional layers, join this group so it is easier to search for layers from ‘My Groups’. Access the group:

American Red Cross Tropical Cyclone Maps, Apps, and Graphics

The American Red Cross provides a compilation of various maps, apps, and graphics relevant to tropical cyclones and hurricanes through their platform called RCView.



Local Newspaper Features NAPSG Foundation Resource for Delta Fire

On September 5th, a human-caused fire started near Interstate 5 at Vollmers/Delta exit, north of Lakehead, California (approx. USNG 10T EL 48432 32226). It grew rapidly to the northwest, and California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 assumed command. If you’d like additional official and up-to-date incident details, please see InciWeb.

Shortly after the Delta fire spread to more than 15,000 acres, the Siskiyou Daily News reached out to NAPSG Foundation to find out if there are any resources available that would provide some public situational awareness. We provided links to InciWeb, as well as a web map template that we make available to agencies at no-cost. InciWeb then embedded an example web mapping application using the web map template. In the article, Dr. Cassie Hansen, a local Atmospheric Science and GIS Specialist, explains what is on the map and how it should be used. Please note: This is NOT an evacuation map! For evacuation information, please see InciWeb.

You can find the Siskiyou Daily News article here: 

As mentioned in our previous post, Core Information Needs for the Public, NAPSG Foundation is prepared to assist agencies with Public Information Maps in advance of human-caused and natural disasters. If you are interested in learning more and interacting with other public safety agencies that use geospatial tools, check out the Resources page and sign-up for the upcoming 2018 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit.

Screenshot from the Delta Fire, September 7th at 10:00 AM local time. See Map Link for updates.

Core Information Needs for the Public During Wildfires

Wildfires increasingly impact populated areas across the West (see InciWeb for incident details and a quick map of all current incidents). NAPSG Foundation, in conjunction with the Esri Disaster Response Program, has been supporting public safety agencies with best practices for Public Information Maps. This post is a synopsis provided to help agencies get better prepared before the next disaster strikes. The blog is focused on fire incidents, but the same principals apply to most types of disasters.

Screenshot of the Mariposa County Public Information Map on August 7th, 2018

Screenshot of the Mariposa County Public Information Map on August 7th, 2018

Core Information Needs

In our recent pilot project (Core Information Guidelines*) and through discussions with agencies in South Carolina and Colorado, stakeholders have identified some common core information needs for the public:

  • Evacuation Areas (Orders and Advisory / Pre-evacuation)
  • Open Shelters
  • Road Closures
  • Hazard Areas








These are the key pieces of information that the public needs for situational awareness during the Response phase – and they want to see this information on a map! One of the biggest challenges facing public safety agencies is their ability to share clear, concise information during early phases of disaster response. They often resort to releasing long lists of evacuation areas using colloquial place names and street names, which can be very confusing for the public. Below are some steps other agencies have taken to mitigate this universal problem.


Agencies are most likely to be successful if they prepare their maps in advance during the preparedness phase. Here are some tips that we think can help:

  1. Pre-planning: Pre-plan and design your evacuation areas wherever possible. They should have sensible boundaries that do not cut through properties or isolated roads.
  2. Practice: Use simple tools for changing the status of evacuation areas, and make sure these update in real-time on public facing maps. Practice this process in exercises.
  3. Clarity: Keep maps simple and with clear instructions for the public. Use intuitive symbology without too many colors on the map. Let the public know who created the map and how often it will update (see more tips from Google Search Liason for increasing traffic to your maps).
  4. Focus on the positive: “Where should people go for safety and resources?” Focusing on the hazard (e.g., wildfire perimeter) can be distracting, and hazard information is often out of date.
  5. Performance: Make sure your maps have capacity to scale with a high number of viewers (e.g., host services, web maps, and apps on elastic cloud infrastructure) and that it will work on mobile devices.


Here are some examples of Public Information Maps (PIMs) that are live and dynamic as of August 9th 2018:

We especially like maps that are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and are embedded in agency websites. These maps are ready to go as soon as a forecast is released or soon after a no-notice event occurs, allowing you to get the right information out to the public quickly. This can also help thwart misinformation on social media and provides news media with a consistent source of information that can help amplify your message.

City of Redding Public Information Map as of August 7th, 2018 AM.

City of Redding Public Information Map as of August 7th, 2018 AM.

Get Started

We know that this can be a challenging process involving more than just technology, and it needs support from the wider public safety team. Please let us know if NAPSG Foundation can help you be more prepared and have important conversations with your public information office and other key emergency management staff (Work With Us). If you are a GIS Specialist looking to support your agency with public information maps, see this GIS Technical Implementation Guide* (especially the Response / Outbound Engagement Section).

*This Guideline was produced with support from the US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), agreement number HSHQDC-16-C-B0016

See our GIS Technical Guidance document for more information

See our GIS Technical Guidance document for next steps 


New USNG Map Book Template Available

We are pleased to announce the release of a US National Grid (USNG) Map Book template for ArcGIS Pro. At this time, we are looking for your feedback as this is a new tool for GIS Specialists to produce paper and PDF maps. This ArcGIS Pro template is meant to be a starting point for your map book projects, and it is based on best practices and earlier tutorials by the USNG National Implementation Center (TUNIC) at Delta State University. This does not replace previous templates created in ArcMap, but is a new experimental approach to making map books. We will continue to refine this template and work with other organizations to make improvements over time. Please send us your feedback at!

Download from

ArcGIS Pro Task for creating a US National Grid Map Book.

Example Map created by Johns Hopkins University GIS for EM Student, Ayankunle Adesigbin.

NAPSG Foundation at the Esri User Conference

The 2018 Esri User Conference begins this Saturday in San Diego. Paul Doherty, Program Manager, will be representing NAPSG Foundation, and he will be available to answer questions and share resources in the following locations:

  • Saturday & Sunday: The National Security and Public Safety Summit
  • Tuesday–Thursday: NAPSG Foundation Booth — The Esri User Conference Exhibition Hall in the Public Safety Neighborhood, directly across from the Exhibit Hall B1 sign – Booth P1 at the Public Safety Kiosk. Please stop by the booth to show us what you are working on and discuss best practices.
  • Tuesday: The FEMA Special Interest Group Meeting Room: SDCC – 29B from 11:30am-12:30pm
  • Wednesday: Intelligence Led Decision Making for Flood Planning and Operations Room: Demo Theater 10 from 2:30-3:15pm
  • Various other events and presentations listed here: The Essential List for Public Safety Attendees @ 2018 Esri UC

We will be prepared to discuss NAPSG Foundation resources and events, especially the newly released Core Information Guideline. The purpose of this Guideline is to provide first responders and decision makers with a standardized framework for Core Operational Information in support of flood and other hazards.

This will be a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and network across the Public Safety GIS Community. We look forward to hearing what you have learned and put into practice in 2018. See you there!

Paul Doherty – NAPSG Foundation, Program Manager

Save the Date: SARGIS10

The NAPSG Foundation Search & Rescue (SAR) Working Group is pleased to announce our 10th Annual SAR and GIS Workshop! Join us for this annual opportunity that brings together professionals from diverse backgrounds, “so that others may live.”

  • What is SAR? Search and Rescue, with a focus on missing person search operations and wide area search post-disaster.
  • What is GIS? Geographic Information Systems – “data you can see on map”.

Target Audience
The primary audience will be SAR Personnel and GIS Specialists who are interested in Public Safety. We especially encourage National Park Service, FEMA USAR, and Mountain Rescue Association Team members to join us for this no-cost workshop!

October 25 – 27, 2018

West Valley College, Saratoga, CA (USNG – 10SEG87452481)

Registration Now Available!


See the event proceedings from SARGIS9. To find out more about SARGIS and the SAR Working Group, use this interactive Cascade Story Map website.

Firehouse Magazine: How NAPSG helps first responders in times of need

April 2, 2018

In this month’s edition, Firehouse Magazine posted an article on how NAPSG Foundation helps first responders during complex incidents and disasters by providing GIS-based field information and situational awareness tools. Chief Charles Werner, a member of NAPSG Foundation’s Board of Directors, writes about achieving actionable levels of situational awareness.

See entire article – Fire Technology: NAPSG in Action