Seeing the big picture: Before and after a disaster

In order to respond effectively when natural disasters strike, public safety officials need the right information. They need to know which locations contain citizens in danger. They need to know the status of critical infrastructure damage. They need to know where life-saving resources are, and how to deliver them in time. With so many variables, it helps to actually see the big picture-enter geospatial technology.

Geospatial technology combines the latest data, analytics tools, and mapping innovations to offer national security leaders a comprehensive view of the post-disaster threat environment. Comparing "before" and "after" images in real time, public safety officials can pinpoint which assets and regions have been affected, and prioritize resources more effectively.

Take for example the mass devastation following the tsunami in Japan where entire towns were wiped out. Geospatial data provided a before and after aerial view of the region, helping direct emergency response teams to the places they were needed most. The imagery was also used to monitor and evaluate the damage caused to nuclear reactors from a safe distance. Similarly, geospatial tools were used to evaluate tornado damage in Joplin, Missouri last year, as you can see using this Bing maps application.

Beyond damage assessment, these technologies help national security leaders create evacuation routes, identify locations for shelters, direct citizens to the nearest hospitals, and deliver aid to where it's needed most. It's really about facilitating informed response-helping security leaders prepare for the "what ifs" and respond to "what is."

About the Author

Jennifer Steele | Senior Marketing Manager, Worldwide Public Safety and National Security Industry

Jennifer’s focus is on public safety and national security. She joined the Microsoft worldwide team from Avanade, the world’s largest Microsoft consultancy, where she led field marketing for the Americas geography. Read More