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By GCN Staff

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US, Honduras to test hurricane response simulation

The United States and Honduras will put a mapping tool to the test this week designed to help government and non-government organizations (NGOs) improve situational awareness, locate supplies and react quickly during a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster.

The software, called GeoSHAPE, is an open source and open standard tool that integrates emergency data from multiple formats and displays it as an Internet-based map.

Juan Hurtado, a science advisor to the U.S. Southern Command, said GeoSHAPE, “bridges geospatial information sharing gaps we witnessed during the international response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, providing a tool for military and civil organizations, local and international, to efficiently coordinate their activities and, in turn, save more lives.”

The tool, which has been through a two-year development effort, will be tested this week during a simulated hurricane event across Central America. The multi-organizational role players will include Honduras’ Permanent Contingency Commission, the local Red Cross, NGO Plan Internacional and U.S. Joint Task Force-Bravo.

Components of GeoSHAPE include a Web-based platform for creating, and sharing geospatially tagged events and a mobile application for capturing data and photos in the field. The tools will help rescue organizations put together a picture of both the resources at hand and extent of the damage.

The availability of hospitals, helicopter landing zones, food, water and medical supplies as well as the deployment of rescue personnel to affected areas will be are plotted in a map authorized users can see from anywhere in the world. 

GeoSHAPE is part of a technology project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Emerging Capabilities and Prototyping.

After the demonstration and evaluation in Honduras, the software will be integrated with the Pacific Disaster Center’s DisasterAWARE platform, which provides continuously updated hazard information worldwide and functions as a hub for accessing, updating and sharing relevant data before, during and after a disaster. 

According to Hurtado, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance are only two potential applications for GeoSHAPE. It can also be used in situations where organizations need to share geospatial information, including  peacekeeping missions and border security.

Posted by GCN Staff on Jun 10, 2014 at 9:16 AM


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