The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exists to protect human health and the environment. Its Office of Emergency Management works with federal partners to prevent accidents and maintain well-tuned incident response capabilities. Following Hurricane Irma, the EPA needed to facilitate communication among stakeholders from local, state, and federal agencies. The hurricane had unleashed multiple sources of contamination, such as compromised facilities and orphaned containers, across a wide area. The EPA wanted to create and share a single common view of these environmental threats so that stakeholders could rapidly identify and assess response targets and prioritize cleanup efforts. They could then plan appropriate mitigation efforts to prevent environmental impact.
US Environmental Protection Agency
In the face of a natural disaster, meet the needs of and facilitate communication among a diverse group of stakeholders to make informed, mission-critical decisions.
ArcGIS® Online, Collector for ArcGIS, Survey123 for ArcGIS, Workforce for ArcGIS, Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS API for Python, ArcGIS Enterprise
A single location-enabled, dynamic common operating picture brings together valuable data from the field and office so that all stakeholders can view and interact with it.
Tetra Tech, an Esri partner, provides consulting and engineering services. The company supports government and commercial clients with innovative solutions focused on water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, and international development. Tetra Tech has worked with the EPA on multiple contracts across the United States. Throughout the EPA’s Hurricane Irma response efforts, Tetra Tech provided mission-critical technical support for collecting, tracking, analyzing, and communicating the status of key response targets. The EPA needed to integrate information from multiple sources and synthesize it into one common, dynamically updated view for all stakeholders. Tetra Tech rapidly configured a focused solution built around ArcGIS Online.
The EPA and Tetra Tech built a robust emergency response solution using geographic information system (GIS) technology, which generated a common operating picture (COP). Using ArcGIS apps, the EPA could digitally capture field data. Staff used Collector for ArcGIS to edit, update, and create features that represented response targets. Ground crews used Survey123 for ArcGIS to gather form-based information and transmit it to the emergency operations center. Workforce for ArcGIS helped response teams assign, manage, and track the status of tasks such as assessment, identification, and mitigation. To automate tasks and manage data, staff relied on ArcGIS API for Python and ArcGIS Pro, which ensured that incoming data sources were integrated and synced to operational data.
All response stakeholders could use ArcGIS to access, edit, and contribute operational information from the field or office—whether they were connected to the Internet or not. By drawing multiple technology components into one integrated system, ArcGIS reduced responder redundancy because everyone was working from the same map. Furthermore, the solution performed low-value activities, such as data processing so that the EPA could focus on high-value activities such as analysis and data-driven decision-making. Feeding real-time information into the COP, the emergency response solution heightened all stakeholders’ operational awareness so that they could immediately follow unfolding events.
[Having] an accurate map of where things are and what is happening in many sensitive areas, and then marrying that information to best management practices and stakeholder knowledge, goes a long way toward protecting the environment.