Cover Your Assets: Preparing for Potentially Disastrous Events

by Kate Chaney

There have been numerous articles written about the impact of natural disasters and how we are under-prepared or how we’ve over-developed populated areas. Further contributing to these issues is our aging infrastructure, coastal and otherwise, that may be unable to withstand a significant weather event. As we look forward, planning for catastrophic events is a critical component to effectively building the environments of the future – developing smart cities, improving coastal resiliency, and establishing a strong community network of education, social constructivism, and a healthy population.

Hurricane season is in full-swing and devastating events like the flooding in Houston and the impact of Irma on Florida and the Caribbean make the emphasis on building resilient towns and cities all the more important. Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) can play a key role in advancing this effort today and long term. It comes down to a simple principle: identify where your stuff is located, know what stuff you have, and document its condition.

Beginning by considering aspects related to the many steps of daily operations, preparedness for altering situations, and recovery from these situations, the following key elements set the stage for successfully managing adverse events and their aftermath:

  • Survey:
    1. Where are the assets in your jurisdiction?
  • Asset Management:
    1. What are the assets? Create a digital catalog
    2. What is the condition of the asset? Analysis of all assets
    3. Which departments, groups, or programs are responsible for each asset? Assignments
  • Normal Conditions: Routine operations
  • Failover System Development: Plan
  • Disaster Recovery Plan: Do
  • Rebuilding Implementation Plan: Act

Addressing these six key elements will enable you to understand, protect, and preserve your assets! With spatial tools, models, and programs in a Geospatial Information System, this data can improve daily operations as well as help with rebuilding and recovery after a destructive event.

Kate Chaney, GISP, is a senior GIS analyst with 15 years of experience guiding clients through the GIS-based asset management process. To learn more about GIS or speak with Kate, please call 757.455.5800 or email