In this age of transparency and heightened environmental awareness, it is essential to provide the public – both laypeople and professionals alike – GIS data that will allow everyone to understand the horrendous effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Scientists and researchers will be studying these data for years to come and can greatly benefit from an unaltered dated record of time-sensitive events before and after the spill. These data could shed informative and necessary analytical light on the immediate as well as devastating future environmental impact on the gulf region.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill response has featured a GIS component from the very first days of the incident. The GIS Institute had staff members on duty serving Unified Command at Incident Command Post – Houma, LA (ICP), designing and building the GIS database and related work flows. The GIS Institute in collaboration with its partners would like to provide GIS data, maps, and other resources to local parish/county and state governments, emergency response officials, researchers, and the public via a Gulf of Mexico Data Access Center (GOMDAC). The primary purpose of the Data Access Center project is to make a historical time-line of oil spill response data available to all parties. At the core of this resource will be state-of-the-art ESRI ArcGIS Server technology, base-map and operational GIS data in a variety of easy-to-consume and/or download GIS data products, map services, community mapping (citizen science), and social media tools like the ever-popular Facebook and Twitter.
Establishing a Gulf Data Access Center is a rare opportunity to incorporate the new requirements for transparency and lawful regard set as standards by this U.S. administration. (“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,”
said President Barack Obama, Jan. 21, 2009, in an address to the cabinet secretaries).
All people deserve access to the data that detail this tragedy, especially if there is any chance it will become restricted as evidence by the legal system. As a result, it is humanly and ecologically imperative that this Data Center be established quickly and fully populated with the data record. Only then will we be able to fully understand the scope, cost and effort required to remediate the United States’ worst ecological disaster and perhaps provide insight on how to prevent such disasters from happening again.
The GIS Institute supports people in communities that are passionate and eager to help in this regard. The core concept is to “deploy, train, tune, hand it over, and get out of the way.” The GIS Institute is collaborating with Esri, Amazon, Appalachian State University and Waypoint Mapping. This makes The GIS Institute a natural protagonist to fulfill a role in coordinating partners and data sources and, when required, act as data stewards in the still unfolding Gulf of Mexico Spill. The GIS Institute is federally designated a 501(c) (3) geospatially based nonprofit and ardently supports accountability, transparency, neutrality and universal access to these data.
To learn more about this initiative and how you can get involved or to make a donation, e-mail email@example.com
or visit http://www.thegisinstitute.org