By: Tammy McCracken

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) has been in a flux of change as they move from a paid staffing model to one that is volunteer-driven. While GITA National is mapping out an ambitious plan going forward, GITA Southeast is forging ahead with an equally aggressive plan that includes events and activities that focus on education and the industry’s best practices.

GITA Southeast territory includes the states of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Quarterly, GITA Southeast hosts a popular venue called “Lunch and Learn”. These events, scheduled during the lunch hour, are a great way to get out and meet new people who share a passion for our industry. Typical programs include skills training, product application training, and professional development.

The April 2013 Lunch and Learn, “Using GIS to Support the Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response of Electric Utilities”, held at the Esri Atlanta office focused on gaining insight into work done by Photo Science in support of Georgia Transmission Corporation (GTC). Presented by Donald Enderle, he demonstrated how the use of GIS will better support disaster preparedness and response. Efforts that support disaster preparedness were highlighted such as the use of Vulnerability Maps and associated reports, staging site analysis and tabletop drill exercises that address those ‘what if?’ scenarios. Mr. Enderle also highlighted how the use of facility maps and Disaster Response Plans become critical tools for the utility industry.

The highlight of the presentation came when Mr. Enderle demonstrated how it was possible to overlay existing weather event data to visualize impact of a new site location. He walked our group through the overlay of the April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak (the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded) onto a new area – Atlanta, GA! Being able to demonstrate the ‘what if’ scenarios will go a long way to assisting the industry implement better, more responsive plans when disaster strikes.

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In the works, GITA Southeast is planning a networking event at one of the Atlanta Braves games over the summer, a fantastic opportunity to meet and greet those developing innovative ideas in our industry.

To participate in this networking event or to sign up for GITA Southeast’s next “Lunch and Learn” go to the GITA Southeast website at: gitasoutheast.org.