Track 2: GIS Technologies and Trends

Open Source GIS Support to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response

September 13th, 2011

10:45 am - 11:45 am


Brandon Haynie

Major (US Army), PhD, GIS Professional

Principal Consultant


Guy Thomas

Guy Thomas

Science & Technology Advisor

US Coast Guard

The Deepwater Horizon event provided an unpleasant reminder of the critical need to establish a common operating picture (COP) for disaster response at all levels of government. The following case study describes the challenge, key technology, implementation, and results of applying near real-time GIS to a disaster. A COP is integral when it comes to emergency response and disaster management. A single identical display of operational information that is visible across the entire enterprise of agencies can greatly enhance situational awareness. A COP facilitates information distribution, collaborative planning and enables new levels of productivity and efficiency in critical operations. Geocent developed a free and open source GIS solution that provides real-time situational awareness. The solution enables first responders to disseminate mission critical information for display on the vast array of C2 platforms deployed throughout all levels of government through a web based browser. Using industry standards allows communication with common GIS platforms, including Google Earth Enterprise and ArcGIS. The resulting service delivers real-time operational intelligence to all key players regardless of their mapping package and allows these disparate systems to exchange information. Louisiana deployed this service in response to the oil spill.The distribution of the information into multiple formats supports viewing by all agencies involved including USCG, BP, and NOAA.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to use collaboration and coordination across multiple agencies and organizations with a Common Operational Picture (COP)
  • How open source makes GIS an accessible solution for organizations of any size and budget
  • How to support a network-centric approach and bring a “human sensor” model into information capturing and decision making