Mark A

Document Sample
Mark A Powered By Docstoc
					Mark A. Whitney                                       October 6, 1992
FEMA-GIS Coordinator
Miami DFO (305) 526-2276
Washington D.C. (202) 646-4125

Capt. Mark Lundtvedt
Center for Army Lessons Learned
Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027

Re.   Hurricane Andrew After Action Report

On September 28th, 1992, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA), initiated it's first ever Geographic Information System
(GIS) operation in support of a Presidentially declared disaster.
Response activities by the 28th were tapering off, priorities were
shifting towards "recovery," and the Army was on it's way home.

A private sector GIS corporation, Digital    Matrix Services provided
the Miami Disaster Field Office (DFO)        with limited volunteer
mapping services in the early weeks of        the disaster response.
Their efforts are to be lauded, for a         "technical" firm their
services were of great value to the DFO.

Meetings were held at the DFO with graphical map products to
assist in the conduct of the response to Andrew by a multitude of
agencies and organizations. Meanwhile, out of the bat cave, tens
of thousands of response personnel from these same groups, Joint
Task Force (JTF), Volunteer Organizations, and FEMA were left with
a smorgasbord of mapping products, "tourist maps," to work with.
As one soldier from the 10th Mountain Division put it, "we had to
make thousands of calls to verify and receive additional
information." General information type maps with no UTM grid, in
an disaster environment without street signs, few recognizable
landmarks with no response specific data were very nearly useless.
The same soldier stated that "in the Persian Gulf we could get a
map in an hour and one in three of us had one."       The lack of
accurate maps with UTM and mission relevant information extended
to the highest levels of command and "control" elements in the

The first formal request for UTM mapping to FEMA by any of the
"field units" was on September 27th, 1992, when a Non-Commissioned
Officer from the 10th Mountain Division Liaison contacted the
newly arrived FEMA-GIS Coordinator and requested "a map." Later
that day one map, nearly one week old (the new DMS contract would
begin the next day) was delivered. Within 2 days there were more
than 300 maps of various descriptions, many at large scale
containing pertinent disaster response information delivered to
the 10th.

As part of the FEMA-GIS map production process map users were
interviewed to established what there mapping requirements would
be in the future. This process revealed that in fact the entire
10th Division, and with a high measure of probability the 82nd had
been operating since their initial deployment to the area of
operations without the basic requirement of a UTM grided map.

A dollar short and thirty-four days late. It would have cost the
American taxpayer less than $1.00 to put a 24" x 36" map of any
part of the Hurricane Andrew disaster area into the hands of the
on the ground responder, to any scale, including mission relevant
information, with a Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) grid

It was apparently suggested as early as September 7, 1992 by a Don
Kester, Disaster Reservist, who was performing duties in ESF-5,
Information and Planning at the Disaster Field Office(DFO), that these
types of maps were required for effective operations by the JTF.
Whether such a suggestion was in writing, in the middle of a long
and dribbling meeting, or as mere conversation is unknown.         The
fact that their had been such a suggestion made was, however,
independently verified by Mr. Ronald J. Welebny, Senior Vice
President of Digital Matrix Services.

One interesting note is that the reason Mr. Kester contacted the
GIS Coordinator, on October 10, 1992, (when the above information
was noted and confirmed) was that Mr. Kester still felt so
strongly about the lack of adequate mapping for the South Florida
area of operations that he apparently out of his own expense had
paid for the production and shipment of 500 UTM grided maps to the
DFO, they in fact did arrive later that day.

An actual accounting of all the requests for emergency assistance
that went without, or the delay encountered by the countless
movements of personnel, food, and equipment will likely never
accurately be tallied. Upon realization of the basic nature and
need for accurate cartographic products for the many different
organizations (preferably using the same frame of reference e.g.
UTM) to accomplish all of the many kinds of geographically
referenced tasks a disaster response/recovery entails, and the
mere thought that there were no such products staggers the

One could spend time and effort pointing fingers as the old adage
rings true.., about the four fingers pointing back at you. Why
and how the "leaders" of all disasters response elements involved
did not pursue the simple tasks of solving such a rudimentary
requirement can be analyzed until the cows come home. The fact is
that the Federal Response Plan (FRP), as constituted and signed by
practically every Federal agency does not contain the words
Geographical Information Systems.

The Emergency Support Function #5, Information and Planning Annex
of the FRP while containing quite allot of goobly gauck about
collecting, processing and disseminating information through
proper channels etc..., mentions the word map(s) 5 times.       The
annexes perceived, and minor focus on mapping is for the internal
informational needs of DFO "leadership" elements and does not
address the needs of the actual responder trying to get a
difficult job done under arduous conditions. Not to mention the
who, why, what, when, and where of obtaining mapping products that
will graphically present the many aspects of a disaster response
to all who need the information with UTM grid coordinates for the
military, and hopefully someday other users of the information.

o    Displays   function  to   maintain   displays   of  pertinent
     information and maps, charts and status         boards in a
     Situation Room..... (FRP, p.ESF #5-2)

o    ESF #5 will develop standard report formats, display
     symbology, and map bases in order to ensure uniformity and
     consistency   in  the   development  and  dissemination of
     information and planning products. (FRP, p. ESF #5-3)

o    At the DFO ESF-5 will: (3) Operate an active Situation Room
     in the DFO to display Essential Elements of Information (EEI)
     and other critical ESF operational information on maps,
     charts, and status boards. (FRP, p. ESF #5-9)

o    At the FEMA EICC (in Washington D.C.), ESF #5 will:    (3)
     Operate an active Situation Room in the DFO to display
     Essential Elements of Information (EEI) and other critical
     ESF operational information on maps, charts, and status
     boards. (FRP, p. ESF #5-10)

o    VI.   Resource Requirements
           3. Supplies
               c. Flashlights with extra batteries.
               d. Wall charts/display boards.
               e. Maps/overlays. (FRP, p. ESF #5-13)
ESF #9, Urban Search and Rescue Annex of the FRP does not contain
the word map at all. If the Department of Defense as lead agency
of ESF #9 thought that the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) would
provide them the same speedy "one hour" delivery of maps for the
Hurricane Andrew response that they experienced in the Persian
Gulf, they were simply wrong.

And last but not least, in fact 1st, ESF #1, Transportation Annex
of the FRP makes no mention of the word map.        Transportation
intuitively conjures up in the not so deep recesses of the mind
that three letter word. What’s more the same leader appointed by
the President to head relief efforts to South Florida signed the
FRP's inside cover without ever noticing such a basic component
missing in the document, or likely in the experience of the
response. Riding in a helicopter it's difficult to realize that
the responders on the ground need good, accurate, useful maps.


Shared By: