Emergency management, preparedness, and first responder officials and organizations tasked with planning for, mitigating, responding to, and recovering from catastrophic events often require information from many sources to accomplish their missions. As they work to understand the risks to their community, they also strive to improve their preparedness. They accomplish this by understanding the threats or hazards to their community, identifying what resources they need in order to prepare for or mitigate those hazards, and then addressing those needs with help from a diverse group of partners that span neighboring jurisdictions, business sectors, governments, and even other countries. It is this landscape of resource and information sharing that makes preparedness planning one of the most challenging aspects of emergency management.
To address resource and information sharing challenges, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) First Responders Group (supported by G&H International Services and the NISC), developed the Mutual Aid Resource Planner (MARP) Tool for use by emergency management and first responder officials and organizations to develop “living plans” that reflect reliance on shared resources for catastrophic events. The configurable web-based application is intended to be deployed and managed using the Esri ArcGIS Online Platform. The MARP Tool was designed to help a planner:
- Develop plans for Threat and Hazard Risk Assessment (THIRA) core-capabilities required to mitigate known threats and hazards;
- Track the resources necessary to meet capability targets;
- Generate charts and reports that quickly summarize resource gaps and resource balances and work with community partners to fill those gaps; and
- Share mutual aid resource assumptions with partners.
The MARP Tool uses the NISC Virtual USA Widget to provide access to a wealth of information in the form of geospatial services and web maps, providing a bridge between the planning and analyst communities by enabling an easy way for planners to digest the information outputs of models in an interactive map experience.
Deploying the MARP Tool in Your Organization
There are three pre-requisites required to deploy the MARP template to an ArcGIS Portal:
- A Data Model available from the NISC’s Portal for ArcGIS;
- An App Template designed to populate this data model hosted by the NISC; and
- An ArcGIS Online group to manage sharing resource plans.
The NISC provides a semi-automated tool that will assist you with the process of transitioning these items to your ArcGIS Online Organization. This process includes:
- Creating a blank copy of the Mutual Aid Data Template within your portal
- Creating a collaborative workspace (Group) within your portal for controlling access to plans you create
- Registering the NISC-hosted application template and a pre-configured app in your Organization
When this process is complete a new planning layer will exist within your organization’s portal where it can be populated by users within your portal and use web maps shared to your user account. While the data you create with this tool is your own, the app itself is centrally hosted by the NISC for ease of deployment and maintenance. If you prefer to host the application on your own infrastructure the code for this app is freely available from the NISC. Please note that the transition tool provides a link for you to download the complete MARP template should you desire that deployment option.
For questions or information about the transition tool, please contact the NISC at firstname.lastname@example.org.