The GIS of Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene is upon us here in Boston.  Thankfully, I prepared yesterday so I can spend some time this morning blogging during hurricane (or tropical storm)!  Also, I’d like to get this blog out before we lose power, since Boston is on the windy side of the storm.

Now, geographers and GIS pros are all over this storm.  Unlike the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which had a ton of reactionary GIS development, hurricanes provide the opportunity to develop datasets, applications, and analysis before the storm arrives.  There are a number of great applications and datasets that have been generated in the past four days, with many more to come over the next several days.

Tracking Applications: Everyone loves online maps

New York Times hurricane tracker – Great, clean application.

MSNBC hurricane tracker – Built by Stamen.  Great information, and a great look, but no data downloads.  Open the data!

Esri – The Worldwide Leader has a pretty nice mapping application (as they should) tracking the storm. They have a number of social media links, which will be great to view for damage and impact information after the storm.

CNN – Old school, like 1998.  CNN, get with it and build a better mapping application.

Yahoo and ABC are both displaying a mash-up of the storm that appears to be developed by the AP.  The application has a number of different tabs with information related to the storm.

GIS Data Sources: What you are really here for.

NOAA -A number of technical data sets are available and have been updated throughout the storm.  Click on a map and look for the “Download GIS Data” option.  Shapefiles are available and a number of Google based mash-ups are included.  The NOAA site may not be as flashy as others but the data available is very valuable.

Weather Underground – This site has gotten a lot of press this week as the storm has approached Megalopolis.  They have a number of tools and data sets available including a slick tracking mash-up, and number off data sets which are not necessarily GIS ready, but GIS-“able”.

Esri – Yes, Esri is on this storm.  Earlier this week they published a site with a number of data links to GIS Web Services, data providers, and scientific data sources.

FEMA data sources and data feeds.  FEMA is providing data from both internal and external sources.

CrisisCommons – A number of links to data sources related to the storm.  This source will grow as the storm passes.

Maps and data are already available on Geocommons.

After the storm there will be a number of data sets that become available through the Army Geospatial Center.

Global Disaster Alert and System– Hurricane Irene information is available here.

What’s next?  As the storm passes and people are able to survey the damage you will start to see impact analysis data sets, loss estimation maps, and analysis on the storm itself including better measurements of rainfall, windspeed and the track of the storm.  Once that data starts to roll out I’ll update the page with some more links to data.

Good luck, stay safe, and stay dry northeasterners! These storms are nothing to mess with. Take them seriously!