When the Texas Emergency Essential Services Network began, one of our main tenets was to ensure that if we had a tool in our tool belt, it was being used thoughtfully, dynamically, and resourcefully. With that in mind, we became adopters – early on – of ArcGIS technology. ArcGIS is a tool created by Esri Mapping Service, that allows users to “create, manage, share, and analyze spatial data.” In short, ArcGIS allows us at Texas Emergency to problem-solve and think strategically through the use of GIS data. We’ll talk through a GIS data example that might clarify what we mean.

For example, we know that most communities currently use ArcGIS for mapping their annexation limits, voting precincts, district divisions, and other spatial data. Let’s say you’ve just moved to a larger town with several educational facilities, and you’re trying to determine the nearest elementary school for your child to attend. Through ArcGIS, a community’s municipal staff can create an interactive map that shows the various schools throughout your community. Through this software of ArcGIS, cities can communicate information on its fundamental resources to its citizens (including where its schools are specifically located).

In this way of using spatial data on a map (GIS), imagine how beneficial it could be if Texas Emergency used mapping software to demonstrate where essential services are located. The impact would be huge.

With our goal of connecting essential services with the SOC, ArcGIS technology became the necessary tool. ArcGIS is leading the change: we can not only recognize where resources are located, but we can use that technology for the greater good.

It is no surprise that in times of crisis, many citizens and public officials rely on technology. That technology comes in the form of text messages, radar watches, and even online mapping. Through ArcGIS, first responders, emergency personnel, and even resource owners can communicate their whereabouts and services.

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