Colorado Early Responders Equipped with Actionable Intelligence About Flood Areas

Colorado is dealing with the aftermath of unprecedented flooding, which killed at least eight people and damaged or destroyed as many as 2,000 homes. While the devastation of Hurricane Katrina served as a lesson-learned moment for U.S. government disaster response efforts, it also revealed the true power of radar imagery. With the ability to create actionable imagery through clouds, fog and smoke, radar is an ideal data source for any type of disaster response and planning effort. The value of radar was recently realized during response efforts to the recent floods in Colorado.

In the eight years since Hurricane Katrina, we have seen image analysts and first responders becoming more comfortable with interpreting radar imagery.  Much of this can be attributed to the development of an easy-to-use radar mapping solution in Intergraph®’s ERDAS IMAGINE®.  With direct input from several government agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Intergraph has enhanced ERDAS IMAGINE to support the workflow required by early responders for disaster management.

As the Colorado floods developed, the Intergraph team worked with S.C. Air National Guard’s Eagle Vision IV to prepare maps for first responders, which included processing radar imagery as it became available.   EagleVision used ERDAS IMAGINE to extract and rapidly identify flooded areas. Within 24 hours of receiving the raw data, actionable information was created and distributed to responders in Colorado. With this information, early responders planned routes and performed search and rescue in a timely manner.

Even with the complexity and depth of available radar data , ERDAS IMAGINE provides easy-to-use workflows that enable anyone to extract information from radar imagery. This was especially important during the flooding, as there was no time to identify a radar expert or provide software training.

As both Hurricane Katrina and the flooding in Colorado have shown us, we are living in an era of unprecedented natural disasters, and radar imagery and analysis are more vital than ever.

The right geospatial software and tools truly help federal, state and local governments respond to these crises – which ultimately will save lives and help restoration efforts.

Providing the right tools and helping save lives –that’s shaping change.


Derrold Holcomb
Software Developer

@Intergraph Geospatial

Guest Blogger Profile: 
Derrold Holcomb

Software Developer at Intergraph

Derrold Holcomb has been a software developer with Intergraph for 25 years. He has focused on applications for advanced and experimental sensors, both airborne and satellite.

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