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Esri and FEMA Provide Free Access to Data and Mapping Technology in Response to COVID-19

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Esri, the global leader in mapping and location intelligence,announced that it has been working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide its mapping and analytics technology in support of an integrated, multi-agency geospatial platform for supporting COVID-19 response. This includes distribution of its technology to FEMA partner entities and organizations across the country.

This collaboration leverages Esri’s enterprise agreement at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which makes its platform available to all FEMA partners during “incidents of national significance.” The COVID-19 pandemic is one such incident. Esri has been working with agencies like FEMA to ensure that communities across the nation have free, easy access to the most cutting-edge technologies to help them understand and respond to this outbreak.

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As part of this collaboration, Esri is also making available on-call technical support services, virtual training, and a library of geospatial applications that are developed specifically for responding to the crisis.

FEMA’s federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners can now obtain free Esri software and SaaS solutions for the purpose of supporting their COVID-19 response. This includes Esri’s ArcGIS platform for visualization, analytics, and geodatabase management.

“While it has always been our policy to support impacted communities during incidents of national emergencies, this crisis is special,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri president. “More than ever it is requiring an integrated multi-organizational response. Our partnership with FEMA will help provide its partners with an integrated multi-agency platform for data sharing and supporting a host of mapping and geospatial applications. We appreciate this opportunity to serve and are hopeful our collaboration will result in a more effective response.”

As part of this collaboration, FEMA has created a GIS hub site for data sharing and collaboration among its partners. The Hub is a configuration of Esri’s cloud-based platform, ArcGIS Online, and supports a host of capabilities well suited for this emergency. While not public, the site can be accessed by all of FEMA’s federal, state, local, tribal, private sector, and NGO partners.

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Hub resources include FEMA data, other national, state, and local organizations’ data, as well as extensive tools and apps that support visualization and analysis. FEMA has designed the site so users can easily respond to common workflows related to the crisis. Partners are able to easily share and find data, as well as leverage apps that answer key questions and support specific decision-making. The Hub includes resources for the following applications:

  • Establishing Testing Locations: help decision-makers determine the best places for testing sites, as well as help citizens find the nearest testing location.
  • Mitigation Measures: identify measures taken at the state and local level such as public school closure data, NEMA—state mitigation actions dashboard, and public health emergency status by county.
  • Alternate Care Sites: help decision-makers identify facilities that can support low acuity patients, such as convention centers, hotels, shuttered hospitals, college or university dormitories, or vacant open space in commercial buildings.
  • Managing PPE: provide real-time standardized data collection to help organizations track requirements for critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items.
  • Identifying Vulnerable Populations: identify the locations of vulnerable populations including nursing homes and elder care facilities.
  • Food Distribution: provide the public with information on where to find free or reduced-price food or meals.

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