Geo Week News

January 28, 2014

New geospatial app tracks threats from natural hazards


IGEMS offers integrated maps for monitoring, analysis in real-time

Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes and wildfires. Any one of them can really ruin your day. Good thing, the Interior Department updated its natural hazard web-based application to let the public monitor and analyze events in real-time with online maps.

It’s called the Interior Geospatial Emergency Management System (IGEMS). Also intended for federal, state and local emergency management communities, the website presents information in an integrated geospatial view that locates threats with reference data, including basemaps selected by users.

IGEMS replaces the 11-year-old Natural Hazards Support System, one of the first public applications to incorporate a range of natural hazard information into a dynamic mapping environment, with updated functionality including support for tablets and smartphones.

The system utilizes data from Interior bureaus such as the U.S. Geological Survey and National Weather Service, among other sources. Other hazards include earthquake shakemaps, streamflow data, and severe weather hazards.

“Awareness of natural hazards – whether from geological threats such as earthquakes and volcanoes or from severe weather – help us to make prudent decisions on how much we should invest in preparedness and planning for such events,” said Laurence Broun, Interior’s director of emergency management.

IGEMS is managed by the USGS’ Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey.

“The emergency management and preparedness communities have a long history of collaboration in developing and sharing critical data and maps, which enables us to work together to protect property and lives,” said Jerry Johnston, Interior’s chief geospatial officer. “With the advancement of web mapping technology, the public expects to also be able to quickly and easily access this information, and IGEMS is a great tool that allows everyone to share this common view.”

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