U.S. Multihazard Maps and Information Offered Through Esri Web Site

Esri, FEMA Foster Preparedness

Federal GIS logoIn June 1999, Esri signed on as a Business partner for Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster damage prevention initiative. The partnership was formalized at a ceremony at FEMA's Washington, D.C., headquarters attended by Jack Dangermond, president of Esri, and James Lee Witt, director of FEMA.

James Lee Witt and Jack Dangermond formalize Esri becoming a Business partner for Project Impact.As part of the agreement, Esri is providing multihazard maps and information to U.S. residents, Business owners, schools, community groups, and local governments via the Internet. The data can be accessed from FEMA's Web site (www.fema.gov).

Project Impact logoFEMA's Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities is focused on promoting local preventive measures that will help reduce the loss of lives and property during disaster events. It is a commonsense approach based on three principles--(1) preventive actions must be decided at the local level, (2) private sector participation is vital, and (3) long-term preventive efforts and investments are essential. Currently, 120 communities throughout the United States are participating in Project Impact.

Anyone with Internet access can generate map images depicting flood, earthquake, hailstorm, hurricane, tornado, or wind storm hazards throughout the United States. Users can select an area of interest by ZIP Code, city, or congressional district, and after they've made an online hazard map, they can E-mail it and print out a presentation-quality version of it. They can also change the current map view to any of the other hazards in the database.

The maps should not be used for analysis and legal determinations, and the Web site advises users about where to get detailed information on these matters. The site also provides tips on how GIS can help realize Project Impact's goals and objectives.

The online maps from Esri will help communities assess their risks, identify hazards, and promote public awareness and mitigation planning and management. "Esri has made a significant commitment to encourage the use of GIS in communities across the country so that they can take action to reduce disaster damage, and Esri will provide them with information that will assist in that effort," Witt said.

In keeping with Vice President Al Gore's Livability Agenda, this aspect of Project Impact will serve to empower communities as they pursue "smarter growth" strategies while strengthening the federal government's partnership with local government. Jefferson County, Kentucky, a Project Impact community, is already using Esri's data for disaster prevention planning, which helped save lives and property during a 1997 flood.

In another aspect of the agreement, Esri will prepare hazard identification and damage prevention materials for primary, secondary, and college students. Additionally, Esri has committed to "promoting the development of new GIS products that support hazard identification, risk assessment, and mitigation activities," said Dangermond.

For more information, contact Priscilla Scruggs, FEMA (E-mail: priscilla.scruggs@fema.gov).

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