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Aerial Maps Critical to Responsive Disaster Management

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In a recent article published in Network World entitled “Tech enabled disaster response to Hurricane Harvey”, Deepak Puri does a great job describing how the Esri Disaster Response Program is helping first responders and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.  

Mr. Puri points out that combining multiple data sources to provide relief workers with intelligence to better serve public needs is a critical part of emergency response. The ability to analyze layers of data tells a more complete story and this leads to faster, more accurate decisions. The article references the use of satellite imagery – especially before and after an event – to identify areas most affected.   Footage from drones is also very important in creating 2D and 3D models useful in emergency response.

But there’s another form of imagery that isn’t summarized in the article – aerial imagery also known as aerial mapping or aerial photography. This form of imagery represents ground features with 7 centimeter resolution - one pixel on the camera equates to 7 cm (2.8”) on the earth. Satellite imagery can’t show this level of detail. The differences are stunning.     

Nearmap partners with Esri providing tight integration with the ArcGIS Image Server (see PhotoMaps Shine within ArcGIS Online, published on April 18, 2017). Tech enabled disaster response can now blend high resolution imagery with Esri analysis to see truth on the ground in resounding detail.  

Jeff Rubenstone from ENR said is best in a recent article he wrote entitled “Imaging Technology Deployed Before and After Hurricanes”  Mr. Rubenstone writes:

The use of before-and-after data on storms is tried and true, but as data gathering grows more sophisticated, assessing the scale of the damage and pinpointing the areas and structures most in need of repair is accelerated. Nearmap’s approach is to gather as much aerial imagery of urban areas as possible in an ever-expanding library. This lets the firm provide relatively recent images of sites when requested, rather than having to arrange flyovers for every job. In the case of Harvey, the company made an exception and got planes in the air a few days after the storm’s passage.

Aerial maps are increasingly being used in emergency response because they provide detailed context that first responders and ongoing infrastructure rebuilding efforts require.  

Here are some examples of recent captures – hopefully they can help the relief effort.

Nearmap high-resolution PhotoMaps™ showing residential homes before and after Hurricane Irma in Cape Coral, FL.
Aerial photo of Cape Coral, FL - Nov. 2016 Aerial photo of Cape Coral, FL - Sept. 2017 Post Hurricane Irma
Access Post-Hurricane Irma Imagery 


Real time aerial imagery plays an important role in emergency management and disaster response.  Recency of coverage combined with resolution and change analysis tells the story. Nearmap also recently captured south Florida after Hurricane Irma (as shown above). To learn more see our recent captures

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