After a year of research and interviews, the Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) Emergency Management Task Force (EMTF) released their final report in early June. The goal of the task force was to examine the current utilization of geospatial technology for emergency management in Wisconsin, and make recommendations for addressing any deficiencies found.
The task force report identifies 15 key recommendations categorized into four areas: coordination, policies, infrastructure, and education. Specific tasks were also suggested to address each recommendation. Among the many conclusions:
- Most emergency managers do not understand the power of geospatial technology. Likewise, many geospatial professionals do not fully understand the protocols and procedures associated with emergency management. According to the report, “Both groups need to better understand how they can proactively lend their expertise during all stages of emergency management.”
- In the many studies and documents the EMTF reviewed in preparing their report, a lack of coordination was consistently identified as a major stumbling block to effectiveness. Systematic communication, standards development, and protocols must be developed sooner rather than later in order to minimize the loss of life and property in future disasters.
- Wisconsin lacks a common infrastructure on which data can be shared during a catastrophic emergency.
Details of the report were communicated at several statewide conferences, including the WLIA regional meeting in La Crosse on October 21, 2005, the annual Wisconsin Emergency Managers Association (WEMA) conference in Green Bay on February 26, 2006, and the WLIA annual conference on March 3, 2006, in Wisconsin Dells. According to Chris Diller, task force Chair, all feedback received thus far has been very positive.
Now that the report is final, the task force is on a temporary hiatus over the summer. Members intend to re-convene during the fall, and determine the next steps.
For more information contact Chris Diller at (608) 242-3626.