News & Notes

NAPSG Foundation cited on GeoCONOPS in Trajectory Magazine

November 17, 2017

The article titled “Roadmap for Nationwide Geospatial Data Sharingwas featured on Trajectory, the official magazine of USGIF. It discusses the importance of using GeoCONOPS as a reliable source to support homeland security, public safety, and emergency management.

“GeoCONOPS, overseen by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Geospatial Management Office (GMO), is a strategic roadmap for national, state, local, private sector, and academic stakeholders to coordinate geospatial information, share data and tradecraft, and communicate in support of homeland security, public safety, and emergency management”, according to the article.

Rebecca Harned, Director, National & Federal for the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation, said “if effective, [GeoCONOPS] is really being used to support preparedness activities—planning, exercises. It’s not something you want to try to access for the first time when the ‘big one’ hits.”

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Leaders in the SAR field debrief after Hurricane Irma

November 3, 2017

Hurricane Irma SAR GIS Hot Wash & Workshop

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Florida Fire Chiefs Association, Florida State Fire Marshal, and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation met on November 3rd at the Orange County Fire Rescue Division Headquarters for the Hurricane Irma SAR GIS Hot Wash & Workshop.

This workshop provided an opportunity to debrief on lessons learned from just-in-time training and the use of field information collection tools and incident commander dashboards for supporting SAR and ESF4/9 mutual aid during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Additionally, this workshop focused on gathering feedback from those who received training and access to the suite of tools provided by the IAFC and NAPSG Foundation in an effort to inform their evolution and better address the core requirements identified to support their critical missions.

NAPSG Foundation will be publicly publishing the workshop materials in late November. To learn more about the NAPSG Foundation SAR GIS Working Group, visit:

SAR Leaders Convene in Denver to Train and Exercise with GIS

November 7, 2017

Broomfield, Colorado

Photo of the 50 SAR GIS Workshop participants.

Over 50 Search & Rescue (SAR) leaders and GIS responders gathered in Broomfield, CO from November 6 through November 8 for the 9th annual SAR GIS Workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to build capacity and advance the use of location and analytics-based decision support tools across the SAR community for missing persons and disaster SAR.

The National Park Service shared lessons learned in using GIS tools in support of routine incidents such as the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS or drones) in search of missing persons in remote wide areas. A member of the federal Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) Missouri Task Force 1 provided a briefing on the use of GIS-based field data collection tools used to support disaster SAR operations in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The diversity of perspectives and experiences generated a rich dialogue around challenges and potential solutions. Paul Doherty, Chairman of the NAPSG Foundation SAR GIS Working Group, shared insight into some of the solutions that the participants identified, “Some action items are to investigate a SAR Open Data Portal, need to enhance MapSAR to support ArcGIS Online and Pro, and the use of Slack for collaborative communication.”

The second and third days of the workshop included practical hands-on training that provided the opportunity for participants to develop knowledge, skills, and abilities in the latest GIS technology capabilities for SAR. The workshop culminated with a field-based and hands-on exercise where participants stressed tested the latest technology and new skills in a wide area SAR scenario.

NAPSG Foundation will be publicly publishing the workshop materials in late November. To learn more about the NAPSG Foundation SAR GIS Working Group, visit:

Register for Annual HIFLD Community Feedback Session

As a member of the HIFLD Executive Secretariat, NAPSG Foundation encourages our member network to participate in the Annual HIFLD Community Feedback Session. The session will be held on Monday, December 11th, 2017.

It allows stakeholders to share experiences, lessons learned, and emerging best practices around data preparedness, national data assets available through HIFLD Open and HIFLD Secure, and to raise & discuss critical questions and issues that will inform future development and investment in infrastructure data.

Event Logistics

Date: Monday, December 11th, 2017

Time: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

In-Person: USGS Facilities, Reston VA


Virtual Participation:

Draft Agenda Available Now!

DHS S&T Highlights NAPSG’s 2017 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit

Originally published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate on October 12, 2017 @

Snapshot: S&T Helps Train Public Safety Practitioners in Flood Preparation

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently had the chance to address national public safety and homeland security leaders, first responders, and geographic information system (GIS) professionals on the issue of flood resiliency. The third annual National Geospatial Preparedness Summit (NGPS), held at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, provided capacity building training for the public safety community.

Police and flood survivors navigate flood watersS&T First Responders Group (FRG) provided expertise to support the development of this year’s training program, sessions, workshops, and the functional preparedness exercise based on a real-world flood scenario. The functional exercise was the pinnacle event, allowing the more than 200 participants, representing 39 states and 120 agencies, to put into practice the new skills and knowledge they gained during the first two days of the event.

“Flood is the leading cause of death by natural disasters in the U.S. This past year, as part of our role under S&T’s Flood Apex program, we focused on identifying core information requirements needed to support better decision making prior to and during flood events,” said Rebecca Harned, director of the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS  (NAPSG) Foundation. “We validated that information in the exercise we conducted, and even put it into action by decision makers.”

The exercise simulated the 2015 Memorial Day flooding event in Texas. Participants walked through the event, starting with a preparedness phase and then moving into the actual response period. The operators and decision makers worked with technical and GIS staff to communicate their needs and requirements, and to see what data, technology and analytics could be provided to help their decision making process.

Participating in the NGPS expanded S&T’s reach to constituents, providing a unique venue to gather information from public safety and homeland security leaders from across the nation, and allowing for a better understanding of  S&T’s work on emerging or recently transitioned technologies,.

School that is floodedAs part of FRG Director Dan Cotter’s remarks, he introduced S&T’s recently released Project Responder 5 Report (PR5). Prepared based on the feedback from First Responder Resource Group members, the PR5 reexamines and updates emergency response capability needs in light of current operational demands, new and emergent threats and hazards, new environmental conditions, and recent technology advancements.  FRG also highlighted the National Information Exchange Model, Emergency Data Exchange Language, Capability Maturity Model, and Internet of Things technologies.

“The NGPS provided S&T a significant opportunity to engage stakeholders from across the first responder and technology community to share new and emerging research and development from DHS S&T, introduce participants to new technologies available to support their operational needs and discussion technology gaps, and obtain feedback from the community on our R&D activities,” said David Alexander, FRG’s director of the Flood Apex program.

“S&T’s presentation during the summit was spot on. It was kind of a perfect synchronicity in terms of validation. We are all hearing similar things from different people around the country. It is important that we are tuning in and listening to what the public safety community is asking for collectively,” Harned said.

The S&T Flood Apex program team will use information gathered from the event and feedback from conversations with the participants to inform S&T’s research agenda and refine some of the current R&D projects.

S&T will be supporting a three-day flood analytics symposium November-7-9, hosted by the University of North Carolina Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence and Renaissance Computing Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This symposium will bring together leaders from many disciplines to explore innovative and disruptive approaches to flood prediction and impact analytics.

Basic Hurricane Maria Incident Map Available

September 27, 2017

The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation developed a basic overview of the most relevant available geospatial information for areas impacted by Hurricane Maria, specifically focused on Puerto Rico.

This basic story map provides information on key themes relevant to hurricane response and recovery efforts, including but not limited to:

  • Shelter with status information
  • Demographics
  • Communication infrastructure locations
  • Health facility locations
  • Crowdsourced information on other hazards and problems such as: reported power outages, bridge collapses, etc.
  • Transportation information including live traffic feeds

Check it out and share it around for those in need of basic Hurricane Maria information in Puerto Rico.

Available Now! Hurricane Maria Crowdsourcing Photo App

September 19, 2017 – The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation launched a crowdsourcing application to help collect photos and images taken by citizens on the ground during and after Hurricane Maria.

  • If you are on the ground in the impact area (and are safe!), you can contribute your photos to the app very easily using your mobile device.
  • You can also use the app if you are trying to assess the type and extent of damage in the impacted areas to:
    • Prepare for mutual aid response
    • Support situational assessment
    • Aid operational readiness for deployment to the field
    • Other response and recovery functions

Check it out, share it around, and if you are there – contribute!


Available Now! Hurricane Irma Resources & Crowdsourced Photo App

September 6, 2017

NAPSG Foundation has launched a Hurricane Irma GIS Resources group and webpage to provide critical resources for first responders and decision makers supporting Hurricane Irma response and recovery.

The Hurricane Irma GIS Resources group and webpage includes the following:

  • USNG Map Book Downloader
  • USNG 1:25K Map Books for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – Developed in partnership with Delta State University
  • Hurricane Irma Data, Web Maps, and AppsBest available for public access
  • USNG Resources for Citizen Safety During Irma

NAPSG Foundation is working closely with its partners to address the highest priority requests for GIS-based decision support tools by first responders deployed(ing) in the field for Hurricane Irma.

Additionally, NAPSG Foundation launched a crowdsourcing application to help collect photos taken from the field during and after Hurricane Irma.

  • If you are on the ground in the impacted area, you can contribute your images to the app very easily using your mobile device.
  • You can also use the app if you are trying to assess the type and extent of damage in the impacted areas to:
    • Prepare for mutual aid requests
    • Support situational assessment
    • Aid operational readiness for deployment to the field
    • Other response and recovery functions

Check it out, share it around, and if you are there – contribute!

Open Data for Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey Best Available Data

August 29, 2017 – At the request of FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Geospatial Management Office and the Department of Interior (DOI) stood-up a dedicated Open Data Site (HIFLD for Harvey) to aggregate the most relevant and best available data in a single place – to support Hurricane Harvey response and recovery across all levels of government and whole community partners. HIFLD for Harvey is publicly available at the link below:

HIFLD for Harvey is a part of the Federal Geospatial Platform infrastructure. NAPSG is honored to be a part of the HIFLD team with DHS, DOI, and ArdentMC in this critical effort.

Data Available Now

Over 60 data sets are accessible now in HIFLD for Harvey providing the best available data for Harvey-specific information requirements. More data is being added around the clock. This site is being curated to ensure it’s the most relevant and best available data for Harvey operations.

USNG Map Books for Affected Counties

HIFLD for Harvey contains 1:25K USNG Map Books for the affected counties. Map books for each county are being added to the site as produced, with 15 county map books available now. This is a critical resource for first responders and others supporting response and recovery operations. USNG Map Books are being produced in partnership with Delta State University.

How You Can Contribute to HIFLD for Harvey

  • Spread the Word! – Use #HIFLD4Harvey in social media posts. Share the website out with your friends and colleagues in anticipating GIS needs, mutual aid requests, and any related response/recovery efforts.
  • Got Data for Harvey? – If you have data that is directly relevant to Harvey that you consider best available, send an email with the link to the data to
  • Unmet Mission Critical Data Needs? – If you have identified a mission critical information requirement that is not currently supported by data available in HIFLD for Harvey, please let us know what the need is by sending an email to

Other relevant GIS resources for Harvey are available here:

Our Supporters

National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation
5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 440, Washington, DC 20015

NAPSG Foundation is a 501(C)(3) charitable nonprofit. Taxpayer Identification number: 20-5376630