14 Sep How FEMA uses Fiber Optics
By GeoTel Communications
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is looking to the technology industry to aid in its relief efforts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA is tasked with the difficult job of both preparing areas for, and aiding areas after emergencies occur. However, as a plethora of infrastructures have come to rely on fiber optics, the agency is now integrating Fiber Optic mapping and GIS technology into its protocol.
FEMA’s own GIS system, the National Flood Hazard Layer or NFHL, is based solely on flood risk data. NFHL works as an interactive system where users can search specific areas to view their personal flood risks. The FEMA webpage for the GIS system states that only 90% of the nation is visible through their portal. Because of this, 10% of the nation is omitted from the NFHL, which can have detrimental effects in the case of disaster relief. Thus, the industry of Fiber Optic mapping became an integral aspect of FEMA’s protocol.
Interactive mapping systems such as GeoTel’s TeleTracker allow users to view the fiber optics for all North America. By offering a variety of map displays, agencies such as FEMA can assess areas of fiber optic strength, should an emergency occur. And, if such an emergency occurs FEMA can utilize the maps to route relief and aid efforts to functional hospitals and shelters in a more organized manner.
As FEMA prepares for hurricane season, online Fiber Optic maps become more useful than any GPS application, as fallen phone lines leave internet connectivity as the only source of communication for people to get in contact with emergency personnel and loved ones.