Several GeoVISTA members participated in the 2012 Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) conference held in Vancouver April 22-25.

Penn State MGIS student Susan McClendon and GeoVISTA Assistant Director Anthony Robinson co-authored a paper entitled "Leveraging Geospatially-Oriented Social Media Communications in Disaster Response."

MGIS student Ehren Hill and GeoVISTA Assistant Director Frank Hardisty presented a poster, "CR-Site: An Infrastructure Siting Tool for Crisis Response."

GeoVISTA alum Brian Tomaszewski served as chair for the Geographic Information Science and Technology for Crisis Response and Management Track, and presented a poster.

The abstracts are below:

Poster: CR-Site: An Infrastructure Siting Tool for Crisis Response
Ehren G. Hill, Frank Hardisty

Many crisis response and recovery efforts require choosing locations in order to deliver needed materials and services. Automated methods can help choose optimal locations for relief camps, field hospitals, command centers, and other critical relief infrastructure. However, current information technology tools for siting relief infrastructure suffer from exposing too much complexity to the user. We are developing a tool, CR-Site, which we hope will serve as an exemplar of an emergency siting tool that eliminates unnecessary complexity, while exposing necessary parameters. In this paper, we describe the technical design and user workflow for CRSite and provide a case study for the functionality provided by CR-Site.

Full paper: Leveraging Geospatially-Oriented Social Media Communications in Disaster Response
Susan McClendon, Anthony C. Robinson

Geospatially-oriented social media communications have emerged as a common information resource to support crisis management. Our research compares the capabilities of two popular systems used to collect and visualize such information - Project Epic’s Tweak the Tweet (TtT) and Ushahidi. Our research uses geospatiallyoriented social media gathered by both projects during recent disasters to compare and contrast the frequency, content, and location components of contributed information to both systems. We compare how data was gathered and filtered, how spatial information was extracted and mapped, and the mechanisms by which the resulting synthesized information was shared with response and recovery organizations. In addition, we categorize the degree to which each platform in each disaster led to actions by first responders and emergency managers. Based on the results of our comparisons we identify key design considerations for future social media mapping tools to support crisis management.

Poster: Automated GLIDE Number Resource Consolidation for Rapid Disaster Location Identification
Beau Bouchard, Brian Tomaszewski

There is a growing body of research focused on how analytical outputs based on remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) such as disaster impact assessments can be formatted into usable information products for crisis management practitioners. In this poster, we will describe our preliminary results on addressing these issues via a web-based application called the Automated Space Aid Program or ASAP. ASAP digests text-based disaster descriptions and processes them through a spatial analysis model. In an effort to design our application to centralize resources in such a way that they are easily exportable the end product of the ASAP process is Area of Interest (AOI) polygons in Shapefile and KML file formats. These can be downloaded and consumed immediately post-processing and potentially be used for satellite tasking and by GIS professionals and responders in the field. We outline a proof-of-concept case study of using ASAP to gathers text-based, disaster descriptions from the GLIDE number website ( We also describe technical details of our study design such as the use of ArcGIS server geoprocessing services used in combination with Esri model builder functions and custom python geocoding scripts.

For more information, contact Krista Kahler at

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