Louisiana State University Geographic Information System Support of Hurricane Katrina Recovery Operations

August 2006 (VOL. 24, NO. 2)

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During Hurricane Katrina a group of faculty, staff, and students at Louisiana State University voluntarily helped create, manage, and staff Geographic Information System (GIS) efforts in the Louisiana Emergency Operations Center (EOC). GIS is an integral component to decision support in all phases of emergency operations (Curtis et al 2006; Eichenbaum 2002; Gunes and Kovel 2000; Johnson and Uba 1997; Kaiser et al 2003; Kehrlein and Shreve 1995; Maniruzzaman et al 2001; Morrow 1999; Newsom and Matrani 1993; Pine 1997; Thomas et al 2002). However, for the Katrina response, no Louisiana state employees were assigned to the GIS desk at the EOC. This failure to have an established support system for all other agencies providing response could have been a devastating fault without the volunteer support provided by LSU. Most agencies looked for us in the EOC and then relied upon us throughout the operation. This paper documents the way our group utilized our academic backgrounds to expand and improve the geospatial decision support in the EOC.