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Data to Action: Increasing the Use and Value of Earth Science Data and InformationFor 20 years, ESIP meetings have brought together the most innovative thinkers and leaders around Earth observation data, thus forming a community dedicated to making Earth observations more discoverable, accessible and useful to researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and the public.

The ESIP Summer Meeting has already taken place, but check out the ESIP Summer Meeting Highlights Webinar: https://youtu.be/vbA8CuQz9Rk.
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Friday, July 19 • 11:45am - 1:15pm
Identifying Trusted Data Sources for Operational Decision Making & the Role of “Fitness for Use” as ORL Criteria

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The Disaster Lifecycle cluster is hosting a breakout session to explore sources of trusted datasets from various agencies and what constitutes operational readiness for these data. A key issue is how ‘Fitness for Use’ criteria can apply across ORLs, the Operational Readiness Levels.

With FEMA’s encouragement, collaborators at the All Hazards Consortium are “operationalizing” ORLs for data-driven decision-making support to improve situational awareness in response to power outages, transportation, fuel and lodging after major disasters. An interesting development is the need to assign fixed ORLs to datasets, rather than determining the ORL value based on specific use cases. The GIS ORL team within the Sensitive Information Sharing Environment (SISE) committee of the Fleet Response Working Group (FRWG) recognizes that latency, resolution, and coverage features have a significant impact on dataset readiness for most critical infrastructure and many weather and other EO datasets. However the inherent confusion that changing a trusted dataset’s ORL assessment creates a bigger problem for operator training and response efforts. Currently, most of their critical datasets are logistical in nature (what roads have been closed by state authorities, where can truck drivers get fuel/ food/ lodging, where are the authorized staging locations, etc.) and amenable to fixed ORLs assignments.

The recent wildfires in CA and associated mud and debris flows are impacting lives and property. Earthquake exercises are leading to data needs by decision makers that can drive situational awareness and decision making criteria. For example, soil condition information in burn scar areas is critical for NWS forecasters to know so they can accurately identify rainfall thresholds for issuing flood warnings in burn scar areas.

Looking forward to successfully using more trusted EO data for disaster operations, we plan to hear about current and planned datasets for disaster response needs. We are also seeking ways to clarify fitness for use criteria (especially latency, resolution and coverage) for these datasets that otherwise would meet the current readiness criteria of ORL1.


Trusting Data Sets, Needs & Use Cases [60 min]
  • [TRUST] Fleet Response WG approach to ORL - Chris McIntosh/ Bent Ear Solutions and All Hazards Consortium
  • [NEED] NWS Hydrology needs for EO data - Katherine Rowden/NOAA NWS Western Region Hydrology
  • [USE] Building a Community Based Housing Disaster Recovery GIS Application - Ashley Tseng/NCDP
  • [RISK] Talk by Maximilian Dixon, Hazards and Outreach Program Supervisor at Washington State Emergency Management Division

Federal Agency Panel [20 min Conversation]
What are the issues and how to improve discovery and access to federal datasets across independent portals, ala Radiant.Earth?
  • NASA Maggi Glasscoe (Remote) - Disasters GIS Team Lead 
  • USGS Marie Peppler (Remote) - Emergency Management Coordinator, Acting
  • NOAA Kari Sheets (Remote) - NOAA/NWS Geospatial Data Lead
  • DHS / FEMA Chris Vaughan (Remote) - Geospatial Information Officer
Please note: Our panelists participated in our ESIP webinar on "Trusted Federal Data Sources for Hazard Response and Decision Making" which was recorded on June 24 to highlight current data services and upcoming plans. The Youtube video is available: https://youtu.be/ueUhJJIYCII

Session Takeaways
  1. Clarifying local EOC approach to request federal resources (data and aircraft); more is needed to educate local and regional personnel.
  2. Trust issues as handled by the ORLs - Determining operational readiness levels for federal data sets that powers 30-second decision making
  3. Federal Data offerings for Disaster Response - Which agency has what information? There are at least 4 federal portals for emergency information. FEMA may be seeking a resolution, potentially an application that could tell what data has been collected and, if so, which agency has it?

Session recording here.

avatar for Karen Moe

Karen Moe

NASA Goddard Emeritus
ESIP Disasters Lifecycle cluster co-chair with Dave Jones/StormCenter IncManaging an air quality monitoring project for my town just outside of Washington DC and looking for free software!! Enjoying citizen science roles in environmental monitoring and sustainable practices in my... Read More →

Friday July 19, 2019 11:45am - 1:15pm PDT
Ballrm A
  Ballrm A, Breakout