Virtual USA is an initiative, supported by ESRI and headed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, designed to improve decision making for all levels of homeland security practitioners. The system integrates existing resources to provide real time access to operational information from a variety of sources. This information can be fully integrated, analyzed, mapped, and disseminated for inter-agency situational awareness. Data includes: weather, traffic, infrastructure, fuel supplies, emergency shelters and medical facilities information. The idea is to promote interoperability between jurisdictions, data sharing, and inter-agency collaboration so that emergency response teams and organizations can have better preparedness, response, and coordination. So far eight states, Alabama, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana, have utilized this system and more states are to join in the future. To read the full article and see Virginia’s success in their utilization of Virtual USA click here.
Sources: ArcNews Online, ESRI http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/spring10articles/virtual-usa.html
Christine Irven, VERTICES intern