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Geospatial Mapping the Coastal Communities of Alabama Project Progression: A Monthly Newsletter for the EDA Funded Project

April 2010

Mapping in Orange Beach, Ala. Nearly Finished

On the weekend of April 16-18, 2010, three student teams along with team leader Satish Kuchi nearly finished the mapping process for the city of Orange Beach. Over the weekend a total of 1,355 infrastructure elements were mapped and 9.85 walking miles were covered by the teams. On April 23, 2010, graduate student workers mapped many of Orange Beach’s biggest condominium’s infrastructure elements. The collection process was cut short because of inclement weather, but student workers,who are currently being selected for the summer portion of the project, will be finishing the data collection of the condominiums left. Also on April 23, 2010, Dr. Chetan Sankar and David Mixson (both are project leaders) met with Steve Henderson, GIS coordinator for the City of Gulf Shores and Sean Brumbley, GIS specialist for the City of Orange Beach, to discuss the process of distributing the geospatial data to the cities and utilities. Project leaders and GIS specialists are working hard to have the infrastructure information distributed to both these cities before the hurricane season begins.


Brock Long Discusses Challenges Facing Emergency Management

Long (shown above) addressed project leaders, student team leaders, and student teams. On April 14, 2010, Brock Long, the director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), presented a lecture to all of the project members at Auburn University. The lecture, which lasted from 5- 6:30 p.m., was attended by 40 people including the project’s leaders, team leaders, and student teams. Long discussed the common misconception that water creates the most damage during hurricanes, while wind is the main reason for damage in coastal communities. Long also discussed how Alabama’s coastal communties could protect themselves for hurricane season. “We should spend more money on preventative measures instead of spending millions on cleaning the aftermath of these hurricanes because we were not prepared prior to the storm,” Long said. Long discussed how community planning could allow businesses in these coastal communities to return to normal through response, stabilization, and recovery. Long followed his presentation by answering questions from project leaders and student workers. “The Auburn University Geospatial project allows students to explore career options through real world experience. The work the students have completed has allowed them to share the benefits with Alabama residents and tourists,” Long said. Long has been the director of AEMA since Governor Bob Riley appointed him in 2008. Prior to being appointed, Long was a hurricame specialist and was involved with hurricane planning, response, and recovery in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. Long is a four time FEMA outstanding achievement award winner.

Contact Information: Dr. Chetan Sankar sankacs@auburn.edu (334) 844-6504


April 2010 Newsletter for The EDA