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GIS improvements allow prediction of disaster risks, both natural and manmade.

Since September 11, the burgeoning field of homeland security has increased the demand for more sophisticated GIS technology to assess environmental and security risks and vulnerabilities.

Applied Science Associates (ASA) has announced major improvements to computer models allowing ESRI GIS users to seamlessly activate sophisticated predictive numerical models and evaluate hazards based on existing GIS databases.

State agencies with responsibility for environmentally sensitive areas can now predict potential oil spill impacts to land and water or evaluate airborne health impacts to populated areas, schools, and other high-priority sites.

Chris Galagan, ASA GIS manager, says, "The color graphics make it easy to interpret the predictive-model results in a geographic context. The models work well with Web-based client applications and allow for data distribution and integration across different government agency platforms."

One of the main challenges is integrating systems that exist in different places, such as the Department of Defense and other departments and agencies. The federal government is standardizing its GIS technology, with desktop software and the Commercial Joint Mapping Toolkit (C/JMTK) from ESRI being the most widely used.

The ASA models are now available as extensions to ArcGIS desktop applications, making them available to all government agencies using ESRI GIS technology.

"The advantage of these improvements is that GIS systems can display predictive information visually so that responders can react quickly to emergency events. You have to know if the event is spreading and where it's spreading." Galagan said.

For more information, contact ASA by phone at (401) 789-6224 or visit www.appsci.com.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Products & Services; Geographic information systems
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:255
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