To initiate emergency response protocol in response to the Jefferson City tornado, the State and local geospatial community sprang into action as soon as the tornado hit.
Key personnel at all levels of government had contacts and relationships in place to reach people in both the public and private sector in short order. This includes relationships built at the Missouri GIS Advisory Council and geospatial events like the recent Missouri GIS Conference.
As one example of this public / private teaming in the geospatial community, key personnel in Jefferson City coordinated with Surdex Corporation inquiring about quickly acquiring aerial imagery and LiDAR elevation data of the tornado pathway following an EF-3 tornado.
Geospatial personnel from the City of Jefferson, Cole County, SEMA and the Missouri Office of Administration coordinated in order to design an emergency response plan for Surdex to acquire the imagery and LiDAR that would be optimum for assisting emergency responders as well as the recovery effort.
The path of destruction is a corridor southwest of Jefferson City extending into the heart of the Missouri Capitol. The area is roughly 56 sq. mi. (the image above indicates the tornado’s path.)
Since time is of the essence in situations like this, Surdex has expedited post processing to provide data to officials within 24 hours of acquisition. Using GIS web technologies, the imagery and LiDAR data has been hosted through Surdex’s online services as well as through MSDIS (Missouri Spatial Data Information Service) and ESRI in order to give immediate access to state and local officials, as well as to have redundancy and capacity for the many users of the data.
Surdex performed the acquisition of imagery and LiDAR on May 24. The screen shot below depicts the live Surdex flight tracker with both planes acquiring simultaneously.
Staff from Surdex as well as MSDIS and ESRI worked the Memorial Day weekend to ensure the data was provided as quickly as possible.
Technical specifications: the imagery is 6” GSD digital orthoimagery, and the LiDAR elevation data (which depicts the elevation of the ground surface) is 2 points per square meter, also referred to as Quality Level 2 based on the USGS LiDAR Base Specifications.