Urban Area Security Initiative, Memphis and Shelby County
UASI Emergency Preparedness Database and Portal Development
After 9/11, U.S. Homeland Security designated select urban areas as Tier 1 or Tier 2, these representing likely targets for terrorist attacks. Some of these same areas were also key to the Country’s infrastructure that, impacted by a natural disaster, would have far reaching implications. In 2004, CAESER began discussions with the Shelby County Office of Preparedness who managed our local Urban Area Security Initiative on how GIS would vastly improve the planning for, response to and recovery from a disaster that could hit our area (Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee; Desoto County in Mississippi; Crittenden County in Arkansas).
The UASI project is an on-going effort that engages with partners across a six-county (and three-state) area leveraging CAESER’s advanced geospatial expertise, data collection and transformation capabilities, and community partnerships to create an innovative system to collect and web-distribute data to both GIS professionals and professionals without GIS experience. To accomplish the goals set forth by a variety of UASI working groups, CAESER partnered with public safety, emergency response, and public and private agencies (hospitals and other partners in emergency preparedness) over the course of project development and implementation.
CAESER’s partnership resulted in a database containing over 100 GIS layers with 1,200 fields of information. Many layers were created from scratch, utilizing CAESER’s expertise in data collection, while others were consumed from raw sources reliant upon CAESER’s data transformation expertise to meet the project’s standards. The approximately 100 layers were categorized into themes consisting of critical structures, transportation, utilities, communications, social/demographic, and environment.