EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — April 22, 2009

New and Improved

Peter Gattuso
Information Systems Manager, Office of Emergency Management
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Mark W. Miller
Emergency Response Division, Office of Response and Restoration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

The following has been prepared from a transcription of the recording. Since this program was a live demonstration, there are no accompanying slides. See the Live Meeting recording at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm090422.wmv ]

Undisplayed Graphic

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone. Welcome to EMforum.org. Our topic today is "CAMEOfm, MARPLOT, and ALOHA New and Improved" and we will be focusing on the new features that have recently been incorporated. Please note that you can access the CAMEO Web site later by clicking on the CAMEO logo on our homepage, or from a link on today’s Background Page. From the CAMEO home page, you can access other sections of the site to download the software, as well as access related resources. [http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/cameo/index.htm]

This week’s survey on our homepage merely asks, "Is CAMEO used in your jurisdiction? Yes or No." Please take time to participate and review the results thus far.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today’s guests. Mark Miller joined the Emergency Response Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1988. He immediately became involved in the CAMEO (Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations) development, a joint program with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as NOAA's Program Manager.

Since that time CAMEO has been provided to over 100,000 organizations in all fifty states and world-wide through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). CAMEO is considered one of the most widely used chemical emergency response software in the world.

Peter Gattuso joined the EPA in 1975 and was one of the primary authors of the original CAMEO® system, and the MARPLOT® mapping system. He was also the originator of the LandView® national environmental atlas, a joint CD/DVD publication of the EPA, Census, USGS, and NOAA. Peter currently works in EPA’s Office of Emergency Management, where he concentrates on computer systems for emergency planning and response, as well as serving as the lead technical consultant on systems for Risk Management Planning (RMP).

Welcome to you both, and thank you very much for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to Mark to start us off please.


Mark Miller: Thank you, Amy, and good morning to everyone. As Amy pointed out, CAMEO has been a joint program with EPA for many, many years. It’s always embarrassing when I stand up in front of a group of very young firefighters and say that CAMEO was first released in 1986. Then at least one of them will say, "I was in kindergarten that year". We’ve been involved quite a long time.

We constantly try to improve the program. This last release cycle probably set a record for us. We actually released seven new products over the last 2 ½ months. We apologize to our users if there are a lot of downloads to do, but we’re trying to continue to improve the system.

What you have showing is the new home screen for the CAMEO software. CAMEO consists of 4 separate applications that the user can use. Across the top (this is very similar to the one that came out in 2001) you have the applications. What we’ve done with this latest release is we’ve separated the chemical library (the library that has the thousands of hazardous chemicals with all the response information associated with them) from the EPCRA databases that many of our users use to monitor the facilities and hazardous chemicals stored in facilities.

We also have access to the air dispersion model ALOHA as well as the mapping program MARPLOT.

Today, I’m going to be focused on the CAMEO Chemicals library and show you the new capabilities we’ve added to CAMEO Chemicals and then I’m going to run through very quickly ALOHA. Then I’m going to transfer it to Peter, who is going to talk about the new release of MARPLOT. There are significant changes in CAMEO as well as MARPLOT, but MARPLOT is definitely the one that you want to take a serious look at. The upgrade that Peter managed through this update cycle is very significant. I just want to point that out.

Again, we did, in both a selfish manner as well as a decision to try the improve the experience of CAMEO users, we’ve separated the chemical library from the rest of the databases associated with EPCRA (The Emergency Planning Committee Right-to-Know Act) databases in CAMEO. The reason why we did it was that we have developed a web version of the chemical library called CAMEO Chemicals, and that’s been available for over a year and it’s very popular. We get on the order of 10,000 plus unique visitors every month, hundreds of thousands per year obviously. We think that we’ve improved the interface such that for intermittent users, the ability to search and identify hazardous chemicals has improved.

From a selfish standpoint, it’s easier to maintain one piece of software, one database, than it is to maintain two. We wanted to incorporate that interfacing capability into CAMEO. So we created a stand-alone program that is identical to our web version. This is exactly the same as what you would get if you go onto the website cameochemicals.noaa.gov.

What we have here is a very simplified home screen that shows a simple search engine where you can search for the name of a chemical. In CAMEO, we have about 5,000 chemical records. We have about 80,000 associated names for those chemical records, synonyms for those chemical records. You can also search by the chemical abstract service registry number, or the UN/NA number.

One of the other big changes that we added to this version of CAMEO as well as going stand-alone, was a tremendously increased amount of DOT data. Let me just demonstrate that very quickly. If you enter the CAMEO Chemical database with a UN number, and I’m going to search for 1005, I’m going to search the UN/NA number, what you spring to is the data that’s provided in the Emergency Response Guide, as well as additional information that’s provided in other DOT documents associated with that UN number.

Again, real roughly, to go through this, we call this the UN Module. It’s actually a separate portion of the Chemical Library. What you have is the UN number that you searched for in upper left-hand corner. You have all the potential placards that you might see on a truck or transport that’s carrying the chemical. Down here you have what the Emergency Response Guide the material names that are associated with that UN number (and you can see that 1005 is associated with anhydrous ammonia). You have direct access to a PDF (the Portable Document Format) for the actual Response Guide associated with the UN number 1005.

In addition, one of the bigger changes associated with this release, is that we’ve added the isolation and protective action distances out of the green pages of the ERG, as well as the additional paperwork information that has to do with placarding and hazard class labeling requirements from DOT. As I mentioned, the placarding information and the text designation of the placards, this was all additional information that was not included in the last release of CAMEO, so this is all brand new.

What we have here, though, under the UN number designation at the very top of the record is the idea that we also indicate that CAMEO has an additional record information associated with its UN number, and if there were multiple records, it would give you how many of the CAMEO chemicals’ records matched this UN number. In CAMEO Chemicals, we have one chemical data sheet (that is anhydrous ammonia), and again, this is the standard CAMEO chemical data sheet that we’ve had displayed now—this is the response information data sheet type of information.

You can view the data sheet associated with anhydrous ammonia. You have identification information. You have the NFPA placarding information in the upper right-hand corner that gives you immediate information on the hazards associated with a chemical. You have direct access to the Coast Guard’s CHRIS database, and again, this is in PDF, so that means it’s a high-resolution printable document. You also then have general descriptions associated with the chemical, identification of hazards associated with ammonia, reactivity hazards, firefighting recommendations, protective clothing recommendations, and then as you scroll down, you get into the physical and chemical properties that can be very helpful.

We also have the protective levels of concern associated with chemicals. We use AEGLs (the Acute Exposure Guideline Limits) as well as ERPGs for the chemicals, so you can compare that information. We use that in our air dispersion model.

What I’m going to do with this record is, I’m going to add this to "my chemicals". This is something that we brought out with the first web version of CAMEO’s Chemical Library. Basically, it’s a shopping basket of chemicals which allows you to collect chemicals if you have an incident that involves multiple chemicals. You can then collect those chemicals, you can view the list of chemicals you’ve collected. I’ve added this chemical butadiene, fuming nitric acid, a chemical called aluminum phosphide and I’ve just added ammonia anhydrous.

One of the brand new changes that is a highly requested change for the CAMEO program was that we also look at the reactivity concerns associated with potential mixing of chemicals. A large segment of our population asked that we add water as a capability because they want to know if they apply water during a fire incident if that’s going to create a worse situation, if possible. You now have a button, "add water", to this mix, and now you basically have 5 chemicals. You can predict the reactivity associated with that mixture.

This is also brand new—the way we present the information. Here’s a table, looking at it, we have a list of chemicals down the left-hand side, and down the diagonals. Where you see the intersection, nitric acid mixed with aluminum phosphide, you’ll see these are the statements (not codes) that are associated with the potential reactions of mixing those two chemicals together. If you click on that cell, you get the specific information associated with the mixing of chemicals, including potential gas by-products. That is another brand new addition we’ve made to our reactivity that was made by quite a few of our users.

This is a brand new way for us to present the information. We think it makes it easier to understand and better to work with.

In addition, when I talk about the 4 pieces of software, obviously what we try to do is make the software so that it interacts together in a very simple, straightforward manner. So ALOHA, the air dispersion model, can connect directly to CAMEO chemicals. If you’re looking at a chemical in CAMEO chemicals and that chemical is also in ALOHA, you can pre-load that chemical data in there. That’s what I’ve done. I apologize—I’ve preloaded the system because Peter and I want to cover quite a bit of information so I don’t want to leave anything out. What I’ve done is basically preloaded the ammonia information into ALOHA.

I’ve set up a scenario in ALOHA, so under the setup menu in ALOHA you get to select a chemical, you get to enter your own atmospheric information, either by user input or by a meteorological station that can send information directly to ALOHA. The user input, that Peter is probably going to demonstrate in MARPLOT, that we now have a relatively straightforward way to get spot forecasts for a specific area, which will help you feed that information to ALOHA. Under the source strength, for those people who are unfamiliar ALOHA, we have lots of different ways to predict how the gas is going to enter the atmosphere. I’ve set up a tank release of ammonia, just to show you, I’ve selected a spherical tank, 10 feet in diameter. As we go through the screens, these are all screens, I entered data, and then ALOHA calculated it. I estimated that the tank was 90% full with ammonia, which represents roughly 9 tons of ammonia.

This is something relatively new for the last major release of ALOHA which was about a year and a half ago, which is where we added fire and explosions to ALOHA. We’re going to look at the toxic threat associated with the ammonia release, but you can also look at fire and explosion potentials from releases. If you have a toxic and a flammable chemical, ALOHA can estimate the threat associated with fires or explosion.

We’re going to look at the toxic threat. I’ve put a 1 ½ inch hole in this side of the tank and it’s right at 50% level of the tank, so now we’re going to display the threat zone associated with this. Again, you have to tell ALOHA, am I going to look at the toxic threat or the flammable area of the cloud, or the blast area of the cloud? I’m going to look at the toxic area. I’m going to use the AEGLs limits, the 60-minute AEGLs limits, for the levels of concern. Click OK. Here is ALOHA outputting the data associated with that. You can see that the lethal concentration extends out to approximately ½ mile, whereas the level 2, which has health effects that are reversible associated with exposure, it goes out to approximately 1 ½ miles.

When you’re in ALOHA, the cursor turns into a crosshair when you’re over the footprint. If you want to see a specific location, what the concentration over time could be, you double-click in that area and you get another window (concentration over time), which shows 2 things; one, a person standing as the cloud goes over that person would be exposed at these levels and concentrations, up to about 350 parts per million, over a relatively short period of time as this thick, vast release of ammonia creates this very large cloud that moves downwind.

This is harder to see, and I apologize, but I just wanted to point out that there’s this dashed blue line down at the bottom. As the window says, it represents the indoor concentration. I’ve selected an enclosed office building as the place that people would be residing in. If the cloud goes over this enclosed office building, some amount of the cloud infiltrates into the building, and this calculates the concentration inside the building.

That’s where ALOHA leaves you. Where that presents us is to ensure that you can make effective decisions associated with that information. The best way to do that is to put it into a map. What I’d like to do is turn this now over to Peter for his work.

Peter Gattuso: Thank you, Mark. MARPLOT is the mapping program for CAMEO. A lot of people don’t realize how old MARPLOT actually is. It was, in fact, one of the first PC-based mapping programs ever made, back in the 1990 timeframe. That was even before Windows. For the past 10 or 11 years, MARPLOT has not changed very much at all. There have been minor bug fixes or minor changes, but basically the program has been as it was for almost 10 years. That tells you it has been pretty successful at its designated purpose.

But if you stand still long enough, other things tend to overtake you. So MARPLOT was really in drastic need of modification for a couple of reasons. One, to make it more interoperable with other GIS systems today, in terms of GIS file formats. The other reason is to take advantage of all the Internet-based resources that are now available for mapping. Now we have made these changes.

What you’re seeing on the screen now is one of the first differences between this and the old MARPLOT system. In the previous version, you install MARPLOT and you get a blank screen because you have to go and acquire your maps from somewhere. A lot of people used LandView to get their map content, or from other sources.

This version now comes with a base map. That base map consists of national layers of major highways, water bodies, national parks, Indian lands, cities and towns. I’m going to start zooming in so we can see in a little more detail what we have. The thing about these national layers is they only take you so far. But as you’re zooming in, you really need to get more detail. In this case, major roads are just not enough—we need the detailed roads.

You may notice this yellow bar here, which is MARPLOT’s alert bar that’s telling us that there are some features that we can download now. This is another big area of improvement, where MARPLOT is discovering content that is on the Internet that is specific for this area and giving you the opportunity to download it. I’m going to click on the yellow bar. This is the roads and rivers and all that, they’re county-based. They’re from the Census Bureau TIGER Mapping program, and they’re shapefiles (a shapefile for each county). What MARPLOT is telling us here is that in our current view window, these are the counties that are there, and we have these files available with file sizes, and it shows you which ones you may have already downloaded previously. You can click on the ones that you’re interested in having.

You’re not limited, by the way, to the current view. You could go to any state and see all the counties there and choose other ones you might want to download. It just goes and gets those files. In this case, it’s going right to the Census Bureau’s website to get those files and it’s pretty quick. Now, what you should be seeing are those detailed roads beginning to show up.

If I zoom in a little bit more, you’ll start to see another area of improvement, which is the display. In prior versions, the display was just these little stick lines for the roads. We have tried to model this, and it may look a little familiar to you, we’ve tried to model it on some of the web mapping systems which are in common use today from Google, Yahoo, Map Quest, and so forth.

This whole concept of downloading files from the Internet, and there are a lot of things out there; we have developed a download manager to help you keep track of what you’ve downloaded and what else is available. On the left you’ll see the county-based roads and rivers and all that. These are the counties I’ve downloaded on this particular machine so far. By the way, once you download these things, they’re on your machine and you don’t need the Internet anymore for that particular layer. If I wanted to download now more county layers, I could do that.

Population layers are the second thing. These are the Census Block files, they’re shapefiles, but they’re by state. We’ll talk more about population in a second.

Then there are these national layers, and let me show you what those are. The national layers that are available, some of them come from USGS, which are airports, churches, hospitals, schools, and things of that nature. Then we have some Census Bureau files, like Census track and block groups, and Congressional District, and Indian areas. EPA sites are interesting. They’re from EPA, those facilities that EPA regulates. You can click on any of these and download.

Once you’ve downloaded files, what you’re doing is essentially adding to the base map. So the base map that comes with MARPLOT is what you start with, and then you start downloading additional layers, and that is building on your base map. You have a base map builder where all the layers that you have are listed here in this window. You can choose any of these, and on the right you can set some parameters for how these things are displayed.

We can turn on this category, points of interest and EPA regulated sites. Going back to the map, and instead of zooming out I’m going to use the back button. We have this back button which is basically like your browser—it will take you to the previous window where you were at. Also the home button will get you to where you first started MARPLOT. Now we can see more of the EPA sites. You’ll notice that the size of the icons shrink as we zoomed out.

In MARPLOT for a long, long time, we always had this concept of what we called "get info" or "get database information for what we’re selecting on the map". Prior to that, it was for the old-style MARPLOT layers to get info in CAMEO. Now we’ve extended that to allow this "get info" (I’m dragging a rectangle here) to get info on the base map. These are the layers that happen to be turned on right now on the base map. I’m going to choose the first two. It finds that in the cities, and I have 5, and here they are. These happen to be from the Census Bureau files, so we have population and housing numbers for each of these and totals at the bottom.

This icon lets you zoom in, going back to the map to zoom in to that particular area. Now we can look at the EPA site, and again, it’s the same idea. You’ll notice that these look like links, like Internet links, and these are, in fact, an HTML interface. So I can click on the name here, this is a live link, which is going to take me to EPA’s website where you can get all this information. For this particular facility, it tells me what regulatory programs this facility is part of. I can click on these links and get more information including the chemicals that are associated with that facility.

Going back to cities, you’ll notice that these are live links, and I’ll click on one of those. This is going to take me to a Census Bureau website called the American FactFinder. We had clicked on the city of Manassas. We get a break out of race, median household income, poverty status, but we’re not limited to that. You can go up here to the table breadcrumb, and you can choose among literally hundreds and hundreds of fields and categories, and you can bring in these additional fields into the report for the same geographic field that you’ve chosen.

Now we have this area in the shaded pink here, and we can get more information on this area. If I right-click (and I just want to point out the right-click menu, we’ve collected a lot of the most commonly used functions in MARPLOT and put them in this right-click menu) here under population, I can get the population within this selected area, which is that pink area, and it tells me 23,000 + people living in that area. Based on Census blocks, there were 105 Census blocks in that area. I can print those results.

There are a couple of other ways to get population. Let’s say at this point, I want to know what’s the population within a radius around a particular site, I can get population within the radius and specify whatever number here. Actually it created a selection area of that radius for me. Another thing I can do is drag a rectangle or circle in this little pop-up menu, and when I let go of the mouse button, I can choose to get population.

Mark had showed you a threat zone, and this is the actual threat zone that Mark had. It’s going back to some MARPLOT (let me get rid of this selection area first). I’m going to click on a facility here. This is where that release has taken place. Under the ALOHA menu, I can set the source point. This is the source of the chemical release. You can see the plume that when Mark did this, he said the wind was coming from the northeast, and consequently the plume is facing southwest.

I don’t know how well this is visible on your screen. I’m going to select the outer band of the confidence lines, so this is the largest extent of that plume, or threat zone. Here’s a third way of getting population, which is again that right-click menu. If I have selected an object, like this threat zone, get population within object. It’s tell me that there are 4,757 people living within that area.

If I wanted to click on one of the inner bands, one of the inner threat zones, where the concentration is higher, I could select that one and again, hit population, and there’s fewer people but still a pretty decent amount living there.

Going back to the base map builder, the name suggests that you can build and enhance the base map, and you can do that in a number of ways. One is to "add layer". This allows us to find different layers and right now the only ones that we have built into this interface are shape files, text files (which are limited text files), GeoTiffs, and MrSID files. The underlying software can actually handle more and different kinds of formats and we may be adding to that in the future. I can then add those new layers that have been added to your list.

You may have noticed that we have those satellite and topo buttons here, which is kind of similar to what Google maps does. I’m going to click on the satellite button and this is going to bring in something called a web mapping service, which is a server that has the aerial photography for the entire country, in some cases. But rather than you having to store lots of aerial photos on your computer, MARPLOT makes a request to the mapping service just for that window that you are looking at, and the web mapping service will pass back the image. We just put the image down here. This is the aerial photography from something called TerraServer, it’s black and white, and this is available for the whole country. There is a color version which is available only in certain cities, and in certain states have their own web mapping services where they have color photography for their whole state.

For example, going back to the base map builder, you’ll notice under the satellite category, I’m using the TerraServer black and white. I could choose the TerraServer color, the NASA Global Mosaic is not as detailed, it’s from farther off, really. These are the states that have their own web mapping services, and generally, for all but one of them, the entire state is covered and it’s pretty decent.

The topo button, and this is the topographic maps, and you may be familiar with this terminology. This is the USGS Quad sheet, and this is from TerraServer. These maps and Quad sheets can be pretty useful. There’s information on there that you don’t see anywhere else, and plus you get the contour lines there. Also, within this, we have shaded relief. You can see, if this were a mountainous area you’d see it a lot more dramatically, but you can see the contours of the land.

Some of the other things we use the Internet for in this left-click menu is get weather conditions. For that place that we were clicked at, it’s going to get from the National Weather Service the forecast, the little map there, and the current condition. I’ve been told by a couple of MARPLOT and CAMEO users that this has turned out to be really important to them when doing ALOHA scenarios, to pick up the current weather conditions that are fed into ALOHA.

Also, we get elevation. The USGS has a website where you can send it a lat/long and it sends you back the elevation.

One more thing is we talked about having the satellite image. With any of these web mapping services, you obviously need to have an Internet connection to use that. One of the things that we feel is important about CAMEO and MARPLOT overall is that it generally doesn’t require an Internet connection. The idea is that now that we have all this connectivity that you would get the information, get the map layers that you want while you have the connection. Then when you go out into the field, and don’t have an Internet connection, you could still have those things.

But that wouldn’t work very well with the web mapping service which requires a real time connection, so we have this feature in the base map builder that lets you save the current base map as a layer. What it will do is save this image on your hard disk and it becomes a layer you can turn on and off and it will be there without an Internet connection.

It looks like I’ve used up the time we had talked about, and we wanted to leave at least 10 or 15 minutes for questions and going over any other things that you would like to know about. Amy, we’ll turn it back over to you.

Amy Sebring: Thank you so much, Peter. While I’ve got you in there, I’ve got one question that maybe others would be interested in. Is there any way to directly access other Web Map Services from within MARPLOT, let’s say you know the address of a state service, for example?

Peter Gattuso: Yes, there is. All of these things that are on here—there’s sort of a control file that’s behind this. With instructions, you can actually modify that control file to add a new layer, a new web mapping service with the proper address. Right now it has to be done sort of manually. You open up this control file (it’s just a text file), and with the instructions we provide you, you could add a new web mapping service to that. In the future, it would be nice if we had a more automated way, or a nice user interface to be able to do that.

Amy Sebring: Just to know that capability is there is great. You showed the "Add Layer", and I just wanted to point out that if you have local data you can access, you may have property mapping system or something like that, you could actually bring that data in through that mechanism. Is that correct?

Peter Gattuso: Typically what happens is that somebody in their organization, their GIS group or whatever, has a GIS system and they may have a shape file of something in your community that you’re interested in. They just need to give you that shape file. You put it on your hard disk, and when you do the "Add Layer" you just locate it.

Amy Sebring: Thank you both very much. I for one am tremendously impressed with the capabilities that you added as an experienced user. Now, to proceed to our Q&A.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Charles: For NYC. Is there a way of designating files - like NYC's PLUTO data - to use with the Get-Info?

Peter Gattuso: It depends. I’m not sure what PLUTO data is. If there’s a GIS component to that, for example, if it’s a shape file or some JS file, often and typically there’s a database component to that. There’s another thing I hadn’t showed you, which is a search function, to search for shape files or the content of shapes files as well. I’d have to know a little more about the data.

Paul Latham: Are there any plans to link this product with long awaited for HAZCOLLECT product?

Mark Miller: I’m not familiar with the system. We work quite a bit with other third-party, both private as well as governmental entities, to make our software as openly connectable as possible. We don’t have any problem working with other agencies, but I’m not familiar with what you’re describing.

[HazCollect is a National Weather Service system, designed to automate the collection of non-weather emergency messages from authorized warning officials and distribute them through NWS dissemination channels. The relevance to CAMEO is that if the systems were integrated, one could generate an ALOHA plume model to help define the area to be warned.]

Angie Rochen: I can't find Tarrant County in Texas with the download manager? Is it there?

Peter Gattuso: I just checked and it’s not there. My question would be, is this a new county or not, but it could be that it slipped through the cracks. If that’s the case we’ll have to fix that. We’re coming out with an upgrade to fix a couple of little items and that should be in the next day or two. I am going to put this on the list and make sure we can get Tarrant County in there. Check our Website for the upgrade in the next couple of days. It will be version 4.0.1. That fix should be in there.

Roop Dave: Can we interface MARPLOT with the WebEOC ?

Peter Gattuso: The nice thing about a program like MARPLOT is that we did the development so we control it. So if there’s a way to interface it, we certainly would be able to do it. We’d just need to discuss more of the details of how that interface would work.

Bradley Miller: Can you show us how to add a layer with, say, fire hydrants as individual locations?

Peter Gattuso: Tim Wixom, who I think is on this session, had sent me a file of points around Rochester, New York. It was a shape file, and it was a projected shape file. There are a lot of different projections. The issue was that the program was not working properly to import those.

There are a couple of ways to do it; one is from the base map builder, and the other is import as overlay objects. What that means is, we used to call the old MARPLOT stuff layers, but now we have the base map layers, the old style MARPLOT stuff is overlays, overlaid over the base map. In either case, it’s the same, so I’ve got my points from Tim here.

Because it’s projected, and I believe it’s was State Plain, New York, West, C, US, NUD 27—so you have to know the projection and you can give it a name. These are in the shape files, they’re fields, the names. I’ll just give it some silly name. Now those points are here, actually. Looks like I’ve got the EPA sites still one. Turn those off real quick, and these are the points that I just imported from that shape file. You can obviously set the icons to what you want. These could have very well been fire hydrants. They’re not, but it’s the same idea.

Amy Sebring: Can you access individual attributes of those points, assuming they were from the shape file that the attributes come in?

Peter Gattuso: Actually, no, because we have imported this as MARPLOT overlay object. If we had done it from the base map builder, by saying "Add Layer" and then going into this, then we would actually see it in this list and we would be able to do more with that. When you do a "Get Info", for example, on one of these, and you chose that layer, then you get the interface with the field names, in whatever the fields were in that shape file.

Michael Bangerter: To Peter: When adding ESRI shape files and other custom layers is there anyway to export a complete list to other computers with Marplot installed without installing each layer individually on each machine? Similar to the Import Export Database function on the last version of CAMEO.

Peter Gattuso: One of the things is to segregate all of the map layers in one particular location. I’m not sure how well we have documented that in the help screen, but there is a place where all of these are located. It’s in your Documents and Settings, All Users, Documents, MARPLOT, Maps. If you would just take this MARPLOTS Maps folder, and copy it to another computer, if you installed the system, you’d have all the same maps, all the same settings that the other computer had.

Richard Woods: Has the Marplot issue with Proxy servers been corrected yet?

Peter Gattuso: Yes, that’s one of the main reasons we’re coming up with this upgrade in the next day or two. Download the upgrade and that should take care of the Proxy server issue.

Suzanne Wachal: Mark - Can the plume be exported out to a shapefile or GIS feature for ArcGIS?

Mark Miller: Yes, and I don’t take it personally that all the questions are aimed at Peter. We also provide a plug-in for ArcGIS that you can import the ALOHA footprint. Whenever you’re running ALOHA and you have a footprint window visible in ALOHA, ALOHA writes a file into the ALOHA directory. That file is the footprint, and that’s what gets imported via the plug-in into ArcGIS.

Kim: Is there a way to automatically ingest FEMA floodplain layers into the map?

Peter Gattuso: I don’t know if it’s a Web Mapping Service or if they have static images. Either way, we could certainly do that. I’ll put that on my list of something to look into. [Added by the upgrade.]

Charles: Can the Get Info be used with shapes other than the rectangle, radius, or a plume plot?

Peter Gattuso: Yes, in particular the population function certainly does work that way. If I can just draw a polygon here, and now I can get population within object, and it gives me the population within that object and I can have multiple objects, too. If they’re all selected, it will do all of them at the same time.

Amy Sebring: I’m going to guess that the way it’s calculating the population, you should pretty much take it as a ballpark estimate? That it’s intersecting the Census blocks and then just adding them up. Is that how it works?

Peter Gattuso: Yes, it is. It’s actually using Census block center points. The blocks are generally really small areas anyway. If the point is within the area, it counts it. The other thing to point out, unfortunately, is that the only data that’s available at the Census block level is the 2000 Census. In a couple of years, we’ll get the 2010 Census data.

City of Stillwater: Does the plume model take into account topographic regions such as valleys and upper level regions for the distance model?

Mark Miller: No, ALOHA does not take that into account, except in urban/rural type of terrain.

John Bowles: What tools are available for exporting CAMEO data to SQL or Excel? The current version dumps the data into multiple Excel files with little or no way to relate the files (tables) to each other in order to import into another application.

Mark Miller: There is actually in the original version. Where he’s talking about the merge files, there was a whole series of flat files associated with the databases, but there’s a data dictionary that shows there are link fields that allow you to do that, and other people have done it. We’ve not created a data dictionary for the new version, but we still import via those merge files, which are flat, tab delimited, comma separated values. But there is a link field in every one of the files with a unique ID that we build into the system.


Amy Sebring: Time to wrap for today. Thank you very much Mark and Peter for an excellent job. We wish you much success with your efforts in the future.

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Thanks to everyone for participating today. We stand adjourned.