ESRI is working closely with the geographic information system (GIS) community and agencies responding to the Haiti earthquake by providing software, technical support, GIS data, and personnel. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake—characterized as one of the worst natural disasters ever in the Western Hemisphere—GIS- is assisting in identifying areas of extreme damage, impacts to critical infrastructure, areas suitable for food and water distribution, and more. It gives officials critical information used for making all types of decisions.
Personnel and agencies helping the relief effort can take advantage of maps, data, software, and Web services available online through the ESRI Web site (www.esri.com/haiti.) Some of the data and services include a 25-meter reference grid of Haiti, an ESRI Geo Viewer, and Haiti basemap data from United Nations available on ArcGIS Online. In addition, ESRI-generated earthquake and recovery maps are available for both the media and public. ESRI will provide updates as they become available.
“Our job is to help where we can empower our users with better GIS support,” says Russ Johnson, director of public safety solutions for ESRI. “As soon as we learned of the terrible event in Haiti, we activated our emergency operational procedures to assist emergency services, humanitarian relief, health professionals, NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], and others. These organizations are working extremely hard to make a difference. We’re working to assist their efforts.”
As aid and rescue workers pour into Port-au-Prince and other regions, GIS is playing an essential role in the assessment of priorities to get resources and people to the most critical areas. Organizations around the world are working around the clock to transport supplies to the hundreds of thousands of people in need. ESRI is supporting these activities to achieve the best possible response given the complex circumstances.
[Source: ESRI press release]