On Wednesday January 30th, members of the NASA Disasters Program hosted a one hour Special Interest Group (SIG) session at the Esri Federal GIS Conference in Washington, DC. There were around 40 attendees present, including representatives from USDA, the World Bank, U.S. Census Bureau, USACE, Leidos, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Blue Raster, Esri, among others.
During the SIG, the members of the Disasters Program gave an overview of the Disasters Program and the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal to introduce new users and potential stakeholders to the types of NASA disaster science products that are published as web services to the Portal. As part of the overview of the Portal, there was a demonstration of how to navigate the Portal and how to find data related to a specific disaster or disaster type. After the demonstration of how to use the Portal, the team highlighted a few major 2018 disasters that the program responded to including Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, and the Fall 2018 California Wildfires. This was followed by an in-depth walkthrough of how the program responded on a day-by-day account to the 2018 CA wildfires in order to help demonstrate the lifecycle of the program’s response efforts.
After the presentation by the Disasters Team, the floor was opened up to the audience for questions about the Program and Portal, as well as an opportunity to provide general feedback to the Program. Presentations such as this provide an opportunity for the Program to receive valuable feedback from stakeholders, which in turn can lead to changes and revisions on products or operating procedures. Some comments received during the SIG included the use of vector format services to aid in potential analysis, questions on the process for incorporating new Near Real Time products, how the Program plans to collaborate with other members of the disaster response community, seeking information on debris flow analysis, and the ability to make the data more discoverable.