|U.S. National Grid Lectures Held
By Steve Swazee, Emergency Preparedness Committee Co-chair
On April 10 and 11, 2008, Talbot Brooks, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi, gave a series of four lectures in the Twin Cities metro area on the background, importance and use of the U.S. National Grid. During his visit, sponsored by the Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Geographic Information and the U.S. Geological Survey, Mr. Brooks provided training to more than 70 individuals from the GIS and first response communities.
Mr. Brooks explained that the USNG establishes a nationally consistent grid reference system, just as all street maps use a common set of street names. It is a presentation standard that does not replace GIS data storage formats. It provides a seamless plane coordinate system across jurisdictional boundaries and map scales; it enables precise position referencing with GPS, web map portals and hardcopy maps. It may be the only unambiguous way to describe locations when the end-user is operating either in an area away from an established road network, or in an area impacted by a natural disaster where road signs have been destroyed.
Promoted by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) in response to events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina - where emergency response efforts need a common geospatial language to facilitate coordination and situational awareness across multiple organizations and political boundaries - the USNG concept has been endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, FGDC, National Search and Rescue Committee, State of Florida, Geospatial Information and Technology Association and others.
The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Geographic Information is discussing a proposal to endorse the USNG as an approved geospatial emergency response standard in Minnesota.
EPC Chair Kris Eide (L) and Co-Chair Steve Swazee (R) thank Talbot Brooks (C) for providing USNG training to more than 70 Minnesotans. Mr. Brooks’ nationwide travels promoting the USNG for emergency response are sponsored by the USGS.