News & Notes

Public Comment Period Open for National Flood Preparedness Guideline

Comment period is now closed.

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to open the public comment period for a new National Flood Preparedness Guideline. This guideline is designed to assist communities in addressing common challenges faced during the preparation for, response to, and recovery from flood disasters. The public comment period is open now through close of business on Friday, June 16, 2017.

During a series of regionally-focused workshops with first responders held in Baton Rouge (LA), Austin (TX), and Des Moines (IA), the public safety community documented and prioritized key information needs during flood disasters. In order to help the national community learn from these first responders, the national guideline details common challenges faced by public safety officials during floods, provides guidance for how to address these challenges, and offers direction for the development of GIS-based solutions to support the priority information needs of first responders.

How to Provide Feedback
The public comment period is now closed. The final guideline will be posted to the NAPSG Foundation resource section in the coming weeks.

This public comment period is an opportunity for public safety operators and GIS professionals nationwide to review the guideline and provide substantive input on the needs of public safety personnel during flood disasters.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Thank you for taking the time to provide input and share your expertise. Your feedback will help ensure the national guideline is useful for the public safety community!

Additional Background
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States and are only increasing in frequency, magnitude, and cost, as a result of continuously changing weather patterns and increased development. When a flood occurs, first responders and operators must make life and death decisions under considerable time constraints. A lack of reliable, timely, and accessible information often hinders the speed and effectiveness of these critical decisions, especially in locales with limited historical knowledge or experience with flooding.

To help communities better prepare for floods, the NAPSG Foundation hosted one-day workshops in Baton Rouge, LA, Austin, TX, and Des Moines, IA, to identify, document, and prioritize the critical decision points of the first responder community during flood disasters. Recent and differing flooding events in each of these regions provided opportunities to reflect on the critical information needs and key decisions for preparedness, response and recovery. Finally, participants prioritized the information needs and key decisions within each phase of the emergency to help others prepare for and anticipate the timing of these needs and decisions.

The national guideline reports on the information needs identified through the workshop process. It also shares resources that will help public safety personnel address their flood preparedness needs. The report is divided into two parts: the first part analyzes the central challenges identified across the three different workshops; while the second part details the specific information needs identified by participants and lists resources and methods that will help public safety personnel be prepared for and better respond to flood disasters.

Nomination Period Open for Awards for Excellence in Public Safety GIS

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to announce that the nomination period is open from May 1, 2017 through May 31, 2017 for the 2017 Annual Awards for Excellence in Public Safety GIS. The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals for their leadership and achievements in making significant advancements in the use of GIS for the public safety and homeland security community. You can nominate a candidate for this prestigious award by completing the nomination form linked below:

2017 Award Recipients will be recognized at the Awards Reception held in conjunction with the 2017 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit August 7-9, 2017 at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.


Each year, individuals from the public safety and homeland security community can be nominated to receive the award in one of the following categories:
  • Federal/National
  • State/Tribal/Regional
  • Local
Candidates can be employed by a government agency, non-profit organization, private sector, be self-employed, or serve a volunteer role. To be considered for an award, the candidate must be nominated by someone other than him/herself.

Award Criteria:

Award recipients will be determined by how well they exemplify the following qualities:
  • Demonstrated leadership in promoting and supporting operational use of GIS for enhanced preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery, with specific demonstrable achievement(s) over the past 12-24 months.
  • Served a key role–and made measurable progress–in advancing the readiness of the public safety and homeland security community.
  • Strengthened–through ideas, programs, and/or other means–the public safety community’s capacity to use GIS for preparedness and mission-critical, life-saving operations.
  • Acted as a catalyst in facilitating cultural change among the public safety and homeland security community to increase their use of GIS

Virtual Workshop on GIS for Search & Rescue – February 8th, 2017

Do you want to use maps to find missing persons? Do you have some skills or an interest in creating geospatial decision support tools for Search & Rescue teams?

Paul Doherty, Chair of the Search & Rescue Working Group for the NAPSG Foundation, led a virtual workshop for the Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals (MAGIP).  While MAGIP participants attended on-site (Bozeman, Montana), MAGIP kindly extended the invitation to the Public Safety GIS and SAR Community to attend via WebEx.

This presentation had brief hands-on exercises and learning resources that you can take away with you from the workshop.  The goal of this presentation was to foster exchange between the Geospatial Professional and Search and Rescue Communities by providing an overview of capabilities with geospatial decision support tools.

VIDEO RECORDING – Virtual Workshop on GIS for Search & Rescue

For information about GIS for Search and Rescue, see the Wilderness Search and Rescue Capability and Readiness Assessment Tool (CARAT).

New Additions to the NAPSG Team!

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to announce that Tari Martin and Camille Galdes have joined our team.  Tari joins NAPSG from the City of Laurel, MD, where she worked as a GIS Analyst in the Department of Information Technology.  Tari has a deep background in public safety GIS.

Camille comes to NAPSG from the NGO world – having worked at the Urban Land Institute, Pew Trusts, and the Brookings Institution.  She brings a great combination of GIS skills and organizational development to the team.

For more information about both Tari and Camille, please check out our About Us page.

2016 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS Recipients Recognized

CSX Transportation and Mr. Angelo Marino of Nashua, N.H. recognized at the 2016 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit.

Washington, D.C. (September 14, 2016) – The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce that CSX Transportation and Mr. Angelo Marino, GIS Manager for the City of Nashua, New Hampshire, are recipients of the 2016 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS. Awards were presented at a special reception during the NAPSG Foundation’s annual National Geospatial Preparedness Summit on September 13, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

“The NAPSG Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to recognize and showcase truly amazing leadership efforts in public safety GIS,” said Chief Rand Napoli, Board Chairman of the NAPSG Foundation. “The nominations we received for CSX Transportation and for Mr. Marino highlighted how each has made a difference for the community and is helping advance the field of GIS in public safety. Both of the award recipients this year deserve recognition for their commitment to public safety and their efforts in GIS.” NAPSG Foundation receives nominations for award recipients each year, and the Board votes on awards in three categories – local, state and national/federal.

CSX recognized for Rail Respond application (State Category)
CSX Transportation was nominated by Battalion Chief Dave Hartman of the Charlottesville (VA) Fire Department for development of the CSX Rail Respond application. CSX Rail Respond provides firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders with easy mobile access to critical information about what’s traveling on CSX rails. According to Chief Hartman, the application, “is a dream come true for incident commanders as it directly and immediately impacts the safety and effectiveness for our responders.”

“The success of CSX’s Rail Respond mobile application is thanks to a collaborative effort between CSX and our emergency first response partners that incorporated their feedback and usage needs into the development of this tool, and it’s clear that the future success of this and similar systems is founded on our ability to continue working with those partners and listening to their feedback,” said Skip Elliott, Vice President – Public Safety, Health & Environment, CSX. “We’re grateful for this recognition of Rail Respond and CSX’s commitment to transparent information-sharing, because timely and fact-based decision making can make the difference in supporting successful responses to rail-related incidents.”

Mr. Angelo Marino recognized for going the extra mile (Local Category)
Mr. Marino was nominated by Justin Kates, Director of Emergency Management in Nashua. “When the City started a GIS program, Angelo stepped up to the plate to lead the initiative. While many City Departments have adopted GIS in daily operations, Angelo has taken a special role in helping to frame useful applications of GIS for the public safety agencies within the City,” said Director Kates.

One such application developed through this partnership is Nashua’s common operating picture. “With the cooperation and assistance of the Emergency Management Department we have been able to create a common operating picture that helps all city departments increase the safety of our residents,” said Mr. Marino. Since deployed, the City’s common operating picture has been utilized in five presidentially declared disasters.

“Angelo’s work has not only had a positive impact on our office, but on others in the City as well,” said Director Kates. “He has improved the capabilities of our Fire Department’s GIS, and helped with mapping the municipal Fire Alarm system. I can’t name a better partner with the Office of Emergency Management.”

National Geospatial Preparedness Summit
The 2nd annual National Geospatial Preparedness Summit, held September 13th and 14th, brought together more than 150 of the Nation’s public safety leaders and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professionals to collaborate on the use of geospatial technologies to enhance preparedness. The Summit was co-hosted by the NAPSG Foundation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in coordination with the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Police Foundation, the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO).

The reception for the annual Awards for Excellence in Public Safety GIS was made possible by the generous support of several corporate sponsors, including: Esri, HERE, CSX, Ardent Management Consulting, Dewberry, and American Modern Insurance.

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to recognize these deserving recipients of the 2016 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS.

Media Contact:
Ryan Lanclos, NAPSG Foundation
Tel: +1-202-895-1711
General Information:

New Emergency Alert Symbols Coming Soon

August 15, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Geospatial Management Office (GMO) and the NAPSG Foundation are currently developing symbology to coincide with the event codes used by the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Read more about our efforts in the blog by Rick Wimberly in Emergency Management Magazine and explore our current symbology library.

Are Symbols Specifically for Alerts in Our Future?
Symbols are being developed to become standard indicators of particular types of alerts.
By Rick Wimberly | August 10, 2016

Registration Now Closed for 2016 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit

March 16, 2016

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the 2016 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit (NGPS), the Nation’s only preparedness Summit dedicated to advancing the use of location-enabled decision technology and data. The Summit will be held September 13th and 14th in Washington, DC with leadership from the US Department of Homeland Security, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the Association for Public Safety Communication Officers International, and the National States Geographic Information Council.

NGPG will bring together 150 public safety leaders and GIS responders from across the Nation – to gain new skills in applying location-enabled decision support tools, share best practices, and participate in work session for advancing use in local and state agencies. The Summit will feature multiple tracks of hands-on training, simulations, a tabletop exercise, and a national work session.

Learn more about the 2016 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit Today!

Press Release – Department of Homeland Security Makes Infrastructure Data More Readily Available

March 3, 2016
10:00am EST

Washington D.C. – NAPSG is pleased to inform our members that the US Department of Homeland Security’s Geospatial Management Office (GMO) announced that it is making important infrastructure data more accessible and in highly usable open data formats to the public safety community.

The announcement was made on February 24, 2016, at the Esri Federal GIS Conference. At the Conference, Mr. David Alexander, Director of the GMO, made public the launch of HIFLD Open – which takes what was formerly known as HSIP Freedom (distributed via DVD) and creates a single point of entry to both view and download these 274 data sets, using Esri’s ArcGIS Online.

HIFLD Open is accessible to the public here:

In addition to making these data sets publicly available in a user-friendly format, the GMO is creating an opportunity for local and state public safety agencies to provide feedback on data quality – further ensuring regularly updated and evaluated data.

According to NAPSG’s Regional Leadership Team member Eric Fisher of Fairfax County Fire & Rescue: “Using these important data sets, any time, augments my local authoritative data with regional and other data that may not currently be available.  And even better, I can access and download that data in real time, so that it truly is a useful part of our agency’s planning and preparedness efforts.”

NAPSG Board Member Dan Bout of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) said that from a State perspective “open access to authoritative infrastructure data sets is an enormous step forward that will enable public safety officials at the federal, state, and local levels to more effectively plan for and respond to natural and manmade disasters.”

For media inquiries, contact Peter O’Rourke at or by phone at 202-895-1711

To download a copy of this press release, click on the below.




Agenda Available for Search & Rescue GIS Workshop

NAPSG is honored to be hosting the 7th Annual Search and Rescue GIS Workshop this November 12-15 in Sonora, CA at Columbia College. This workshop includes a combination of hands-on training, USNG training, keynote presentations, and discussion/feedback forums. The objective of this workshop is to build the capacity of GIS professionals and Search & Rescue practitioners to apply location-enabled decision support tools in support of SAR planning and operations in all environments.

Learn more about the 7th Search and Rescue GIS Workshop:

NAPSG News – Ryan Lanclos & Paul Doherty join the NAPSG Team

October 16, 2015

Press Release:  NAPSG Foundation’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the additions of Ryan Lanclos and Paul Doherty to the NAPSG staff.

Ryan was most recently the GIS Manager of Montgomery County, Texas.  Previously, Ryan served as a Public Safety Industry Manager at Esri, and before that he was the State GIO for Missouri.  Ryan will serve as Senior Program Manager at NAPSG, leading our initiatives across multiple homeland security practice areas.

Paul was recently the Disaster Response Program Technology Lead at Esri.  Previously, Paul served as a GIS Specialist and Park Ranger with the National Park Service.  Paul will serve as a Senior Project Manager at NAPSG, with responsibilities to manage multiple homeland security projects.  Additionally, Paul is standing-up and leading the newly created NAPSG Search & Rescue (SAR) practice area – bringing together the domestic and international SAR communities.