GEOHuntsville Update DECEMBER 2017: What we're thinking, doing and collaborating on!
December 2017

2017: A Season of Unrelenting Response Challenges

After an extreme season, the problem set still remains:
Low to no access to information before, during, and after events severely hinders the ability to provide a safe and appropriate response to and recovery from everyday events.

The main story

In the past few months, we have witnessed an unrelenting series of natural disasters so impactful that they have overwhelmed traditional resources -- Testing our resilience as never before. Through these events, we see countless instances where adaptability and the creativity to "do something with nothing" have become the rallying cry of citizens and first responders alike. This marks a new wave of Citizen Convergence whereby ordinary people self-organize both online and onsite to provide support to professional responders during extraordinary times.

I am bolstered in witnessing the selfless acts of citizens helping others in need. Impromptu groups such as 'Cajun Navy', an informal group of citizen sailors comprised of private boat owners in a makeshift fleet, self-organizing to assist responders in the life preservation mission. 'Cajun Navy' response is credited with assisting in saving the lives of over 7800 citizens during Hurricane Harvey.

Open Source Enablement:

Citizen responders joined to support professionals and relied heavily on open-standard, consumer-available applications such as Zello to provide push-to-talk radio communications through their smartphones.

Once conventional systems became overwhelmed and began to fail, desperate flood victims turned to social media to survive the rapidly rising floodwaters. The Zello app allowed flood victims and rescuers to communicate instantly. What resulted was an improvised radio dispatch system of dedicated channels, supported 24/7 by volunteers from all over the country, pairing rescuers with victims in imminent danger.

In the week prior to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, over one million people, mostly in Puerto Rico and Florida, installed the Zello app. The app is still used heavily today helping people get up to date information about loved ones in Puerto Rico. Citizens can monitor channels for specific cities to get more detail ground information.

There is no doubt, open source and open standard tools are the underpinnings of the robust ecosystem required to support a safe and effective response. Further study will help us better understand how to manage both online and onsite volunteerism and the convergence of citizen and responder during overwhelming circumstances.

Keep Reading

Still Much To Do

Wildfires raging from Ventura to San Diego County. Photo sent overnight from our friends in Los Angeles County. Drone at 400' ceiling. There is a 75 mph wind event predicted with thousands in the path of this fire. Our thoughts are with the brave responders as they continue to battle on.

Preparations are Underway!



GEOHuntsville Summit 2018! Will be held on Monday, February 26th.

Details To Follow and Early Registration OPENS SOON!

GEOHuntsville UAS Working Group Activities on the Horizon:

Upcoming Items of Interest

The GEOHuntsville Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Working Group has been steadily working toward identifying the most efficient method for airspace access for disaster response, damage assessment, and recovery operations. Additionally, we are in early discussion with the FEMA Region IV UAS coordinator to collaborate on an effort to identify and build UAS capabilities across the 8 state region of FEMA IV.  

  --so please stay tuned for details through your working group's distributions. 

FEMA Region IV - Alabama UAS Working Group Kickoff Presentations are available at the following links:
General presentation by GEOHuntsville UAS Working Group HERE 
FEMA Region IV UAS Initiative  HERE
FAA UAS 101 Overview  HERE

Want to get involved? Learn more about GEOHuntsville Work Groups  Here
Or contact Chris Johnson

Upcoming Local Opportunities:

Are you interested in a Department of the Navy $3M/2-year Rapid Innovation Fund opportunity?  To be considered for a visit by  DoN  RIF Team in early January 2018, complete a candidate technology form by 13 December 2017.  

Subsequently, the opportunity will still exist to respond to the upcoming  DoN  RIF solicitation in February.  Small businesses are preferred, but large businesses and small businesses may team in pursuit of RIF awards.  You can download the Opportunity Description, Candidate Technology Form, and DoN RIF Requirements HERE.  For additional information, please contact Terry Griffin

Upcoming events

What we're collaborating on!
  • Monday, February 26th: GEOHuntsville will host our annual GEOHuntsville SUMMIT 2018! Details and Early Registration opening SOON!
  • April 22-25, 2018 - US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) GEOINT 2018 Symposium 
This past summer, GEOHuntsville embarked on an ambitious Demonstration/Exercise (DEMEX) as the next steps of our continued integration of Internet of Things (IoT) sensor into our Blueprint for Safety Program. This program allows us to better understand how sensors and UAS operations assist our ability to prepare, respond, and recover to local events. A full debrief of the findings of this DEMEX will be revealed at our upcoming GEOHuntsville SUMMIT 2018! Stay Tuned for more details and Early Registration Opens SOON!

Upcoming events

GEOHuntsville is pleased to announce we will co-lead with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) a First Responder Training Session on situational awareness tools at the GEOINT Symposium, April 22-25, 2018 at the Tampa Convention Center. More details as they become available Here...

Who We Are 
We are a group of passionate people whose goal is to advance the geospatial tradecraft and to improve everyday life through geospatial products. We collaborate to build great solutions to everyday challenges. Our programs and initiatives are designed to allow all to participate who are willing to collaborate for the greater good.

GEO Huntsville (a 501c6 non-profit organization) is a collaborative effort among businesses, academia and government entities in our region to support workforce growth and economic development. We accomplish this by bringing awareness to the professional expertise that exists in the area and identifying job opportunities that continues to build the economic base. The objective is to establish the Huntsville region as a major corridor for geospatial excellence. 

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