Editor's Points

October 1, 2005
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

On August 29, the Gulf Coast experienced a very rude awakening when Hurricane Katrina made landfall at 6:10 a.m. CT. The rich European and American influences of New Orleans, Biloxi, Miss., and Mobile, Ala.-to name a few of the hard-hit cities-are now forever changed. For hundreds of years, these historical coastal cities have offered much for their residents and tourists-and they are sure to pick up the pieces. Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have, for the time, experienced a setback, but some say a setback is all it is.

Fortunately, there are ample stories of uplift-many in the arena of geomatics. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Geodetic Survey agency is continually evaluating the elevation of evacuation routes (see "Protecting the Bayou State") and combining LiDAR with aerial satellite imagery to create aerial maps. These maps aid in search and rescue missions, and with removal of water in the region-and will doubtless be used in future emergency situations. Federal interagencies including the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, among numerous others, have joined forces to assist response teams in various ways. The U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to provide equipment and personnel for food and water supply, to remove debris and to transport people located through "geo-addressing," using latitude and longitude coordinates. Laser scanning is being applied to offshore platforms, and will most assuredly be applied to numerous surveying jobs when those contracts are in full swing.

GIS? You knew it would come into play. Yes, GIS has aided search and rescue efforts through translation of addresses into GPS coordinates for the U.S. Coast Guard. GIS has helped to develop a missing persons report and database. With GIS, responders are well aware of water treatment plants and the like that could not be easily located otherwise. And of course GIS professionals have generated maps used by every individual and team scouting out power outages and the location of road closures.

And while the death tolls unfortunately rise in the storm-torn areas, and while pumps drain contaminated water from the cities at a magnificent rate (one report cited the equivalent of 432 Olympic-sized pools of water per hour), and while the media outlets report on the uprise of finger-pointers at members and agencies of the political arena, there are still those to care for. While the Bush administration, specific government agencies, and even cities, counties and parishes field blame and complaints from those who believe the rescue efforts have not been fast or strong enough, those affected by the disaster look to their loved ones, their faiths and the help of strangers to get through the horror and heartache of losing this battle to Mother Nature.

POB wants to help as well. In addition to our parent company donating several thousand dollars to the American Red Cross-Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund, we at POB have concentrated on the specific individuals of the surveying and mapping industries.

We have established an online repository of resources for those affected by the hurricane. (Click HERE to access our "Hurricane Katrina: Special Report and References.") This bank includes information on jobs available for Katrina survivors, free tuition for surveying/geomatics students in Montana (thus far, as of mid-September), the Land Surveyors and Mappers Relief Fund set up through the National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation and Surveying Zone, and the NSPS Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. We will update this page as new information becomes available. We have also added a category to called "Natural Disasters" where posters to our industry bulletin board can share thoughts, ideas and news.

We at POB hope, with the utmost dedication to this industry, that those displaced will remain safe and supplied as they put the pieces of their lives together. We look forward to sharing more success stories about how surveying and mapping technology, supplies and personnel have made a difference in rebuilding the storm-torn areas of the Gulf Coast-and in rebuilding lives.

If you have a story about surviving Hurricane Katrina, or helping those affected by Hurricane Katrina, send it to me at

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB

Recent Articles by Lieca Brown

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.

9/30/14 2:00 pm EDT

Technical Workflows on the Job Site Using 3D Laser Scanning

The purpose of this webinar is to dig into different laser scanning workflows and techniques.


POB September 2014

2014 September

In this September 2014 issue of POB, we take a look at a book that reveals how a rare-map dealer made millions stealing ancient maps. Also, discover the secrets of a 21st-century surveyor and how technology enables small surveying businesses to ease growing pains and maximize their potential.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Surveying Career

Would you recommend surveying as a career to a current college student?
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif
Surveyor Statues

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.


Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +