Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Homeland Security
Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Homeland Security

Today, in the wake of increasing terrorism concerns, governments and commercial companies around the world are looking to remote sensing and GIS to support their security initiatives. Homeland Security personnel can use spatial technologies for both strategic planning and for actual tactical deployment during a disaster.

High resolution satellite images from satellite sensors such as GeoEye-1, WorldView-2, Worldview-1, QuickBird, IKONOS, aerial photography and LIDAR incorporated with GIS mapping applications is widely used by Government and state Agencies. Governments and private enterprises throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, are quickly learning the value of Remote Sensing and GIS in maximizing security programs. This type of information can enable local governments to better assess and understand how to develop programs to save lives, protect property and enhance the future economic stability of their communities. The current threats to a country range from incidents of terrorism and information attacks on critical infrastructure to the potential use of weapons of mass destruction and the spread of infectious diseases. Each one of these threats could cause massive casualties and disruption to a country.

Aerial Photography of Washington, D.C. Oil & Gas Facilities in Rumalia, Iraq
Washington D.C.
Aerial Photography
Rumalia, Iraq
Oil & Gas Facilities

Every community has facilities that are critical, from emergency response to safety operations. GIS applications such as orthorectified topographic base maps, remote sensing data, and vector layers (i.e., roads, rivers, buildings) are now the basis for assessing security risks and modeling emergency scenarios. This data is critical to homeland security because it enables managers, supervisors and emergency personnel to integrate multiple information types into a common visual application.

GIS Mapping

GIS Mapping

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Applications of Spatial Technology to Homeland Security

As never before, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, it has become clear that in emergency situations of whatever origin our Nation is dependent on rapid access to and application of many types of current, accurate geospatial information. Critical information such as:

  • Facilities and operations susceptible to attack.
  • Critical infrastructure, including telecommunications; electrical power systems; oil and gas production, storage and distribution; banking and finance; water supply systems; emergency services.
  • Accurate employment data tied to specific locations.
  • Detailed and current "framework" data, including orthophotography, transportation, elevation, political boundaries, property ownership, hydrography and geodetic control.

Powerful satellite imagery and geographic information systems are now available that quickly render one to several layers of digital geospatial data into map-like products. These systems can facilitate near-real time performance of a wide range of relevant geospatial analysis. These systems can be used to access and process digital geospatial data virtually anywhere because can be instantly transmitted from wherever it's maintained and stored to any place where it's needed.

Risk Assessments

Copyright © 2010 DigitalGlobe

These characteristics make spatial technologies, combined with appropriate sets of geospatial information, an invaluable tool for the handling, display, and analysis of information involved in every aspect of Homeland Security such as:

Detection: By linking and analyzing temporally and spatially associated information in real time, patterns may be detected that lead to timely identification of likely modalities and targets.

Preparedness: Accurate information that is readily available is crucial to ensuring the readiness of teams to respond and supports the means for the Nation's response units to react to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

Prevention: Information about borders, waters, and airspace, in turn may lead to the terrorist's disruption of their plans or the prevention or interdiction of their attacks.

Protection: Geospatial information is a very important component in the analysis of critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and in the use of decision support technologies such as visualization and simulation to anticipate and protect against cascading effects of an attack on one system as it relates to other interdependent systems.

Response and Recovery: Information is invaluable for emergency response services of all kinds, as well as for carrying out long-term recovery operations which is used by many organizations in response to and recovery from terrorist attacks.

Our imaging, geographic information system (GIS), global positioning system (GPS), and geodesy experts are experienced in the extraction, manipulation, and supplementation of satellite images and imaging data. These services provide invaluable information to Homeland Security.

Satellite Imaging Corporation is a leader in systems integration for the government and state agencies creating and combining complex, large-scale communications and information systems for federal and state customers. In addition to advanced technology, SIC provides program management and support services necessary to ensure a seamless transition of technology. Our ability to innovate, integrate, and effectively align customer needs with technology is the core competency of our company.