September 30, 1998 Special Presentation

by Mark Whitney

FEMA Mitigation Directorate

Spatial Data and GIS in
the EM Lifecycle


Online Transcript
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Slides: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

About Mark Whitney
Federal Geographic Data Committe (FGDC)


EIIP Tech Arena Online Presentation
Wednesday - September 30, 1998 - 1:00 PM EDT

Spatial Data and Geographic Information System (GIS)
in the
Emergency Management Lifecycle

Mark Whitney
FEMA HQ Mitigation Directorate

EIIP Tech Arena Moderator: Amy Sebring

The September 30 Technical Arena topic was "Spatial Data and GIS in the EM Lifecycle". Mark Whitney, Geographer with FEMA HQ Mitigation Directorate was the presenter and has extensive experience using GIS for emergency management purposes, especially in analyzing repetitive flood losses. Mark covered GIS activities underway at FEMA now or in the past to encourage the development of this and related technology in Emergency Management. Mark expressed his belief that GIS will become a prime tool in revolutionizing the way emergency managers do business.

Mark discussed GIS use in disasters such as Hurricane Georges and used a number of slides to illustrate that GIS is a great tool for organizing, analyzing, and visualizing the Who, What, When, Why, and WHERE of practically everything we have, do and experience. This same data/analysis can serve the entire EM lifecycle through a process of updates and improvements of relevant data shared between the phases. Mark suggested some sort of standards will have to be developed so that the information used in all phases of the EM Lifecycle can be shared back and forth between cooperating Local, State, National, and International entities.


FEMA Mitigation Directorate

Mark A. Whitney is an employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Mitigation Directorate in Washington, DC. Mark is also the Technical Services Branch Chief for the National Emergency Response Team-Red (ERT-N). He is a Geographer (University of Utah, '91) who has worked for FEMA for 7 years in areas mostly related to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), historical, repetitive loss, marketing analysis, and conversion of paper Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) to digital products. He was responsible for ensuring that more than 7,400 communities received Q3 FIRM data at no cost to the community this past December, and is an Instructor for the Digital Hazards Data Course (E-234) offered at the Emergency Management Institute, helping Local/State and Federal officials learn the basics of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and how to properly use the Q3 and other spatial data to help manage their floodplains.

Mark, working with many other fine FEMA employees, other Federal agencies, State and Local folks, and contractors, has also had a variety of wonderful and useful experiences working with GIS and spatial data to further other FEMA program areas including: coordination of FEMA's first "disaster" GIS in Hurricane Andrew; first operational GIS on FEMA's operations "Mezzanine" level for the Midwest Floods of '93; following the '93 Floods, FEMA member of the White House based Scientific Assessment and Strategy Team (SAST) at the USGS-EROS Data Center in Sioux Falls, SD and the GIS Geek for the Interagency Floodplain Management Review Committee in DC (The Galloway Report); GIS support for the Church Arson Initiative; GIS analysis and quality control for the
National Inventory of Dams; GIS implementation for Hurricane Fran and several other disasters; and GIS support as needed for Project Impact.

Mark is most proud of his two daughters.

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