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Natural Hazards and Regional Planning

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Development of an integrated geographic information model to support understanding of potential risks to infrastructure and critical areas.

Development of an integrated geographic information model to support understanding of potential risks to infrastructure and critical areas.


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  • Hello, I am Bill Bass and I am a land use modeler with the Houston-Galveston Area Council. My paper today will review how in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike we leveraged existing data from our Socio-Economic Modeling activities for use in disaster recovery efforts, and how we further leveraged that data to build a regional geographic information model to assist with future planning, and if need be, future recovery efforts.
  • H-GAC is a regional council of government (one of many in Texas) that includes 13 counties (Harris County and 12 neighboring counties), over 100 cities, several school districts, and over 5 million people. H-GAC provide regional planning services to our members and also serves as transportation MPO for our region.
  • The Socio-Economic Modeling group within H-GAC involves three main areas: Demographics, Land Use, and Economics. Primary customers of our analysis efforts include: Transportation planning, environmental planning, and economic development. We are a very interdisciplinary group with expertise in GIS, data development, statistical analysis, economics, and agent-based modeling.
  • The land use component of our program, like the other two areas, is very data intensive. As a basis for our land use we begin with county appraisal and parcel data, but then supplement that data with data from national, state, and local sources. We put all data through a validation process to tie features to parcels to ensure accuracy that is necessary for regional and local planning efforts. As you can see, an understanding of our region’s infrastructure, man-made and natural features is important to our land use process, but at the same time has been found to be a valuable asset in recovering from natural disasters affecting the region.
  • In September of last year, Hurricane Ike put our land use and socio-economic data to the test, and presented us with a challenge to help our region; not only in the days immediately following Ike, but in the months thereafter to help our region recover. This is a storm surge model produced by NOAA in the hours before Ike’s landfall. In the days following Ike, this model was the basis for evaluating potential impacts to our region.
  • Here is an example of the impact that Ike had on our coastal communities in terms of infrastructure and natural features. This is an aerial image of roll-over pass on the Bolivar Peninsula, located in Galveston County.
  • This is the same location on the days following Ike. As you can see, there is not only damage to the bridge; one of only a couple of ways to access this part of the county, but there is significant shoreline erosion, even with erosion mitigation methods implemented. The black features are bio-tubes that are filled with sand and buried along the shoreline in hopes of reducing shoreline erosion. Of course can also see significant damage to the housing in this area; something very common.
  • It was clear to us that those within our region and those providing recovery assistance would need critical information about our region. We quickly assembles our datasets into structures that allows us to use GiS to query and search for information. We provided analysis and data to federal, state, local, and other organizations involved in the response and recovery efforts.
  • Some of the data layers that we were able to provide included the following. Using GIS we were able to perform analysis at a variety of geographic extents.
  • Due to limited, or rather almost no field data, our analysis began with taking areas the storm surge model predicted would encounter 10 feet or more of storm surge. Keep in mind that this was still less than a week after Ike, and information much less GIS data was very limited. In fact, the only real data we had was the post-Ike imagery that I showed you earlier.
  • Using our socio-economic databases, we were able to develop simple GIS queries. To produce summaries of…potential households impacted…
  • Business impacted
  • Impacts on land use and improvement values exposed
  • K-12 schools
  • Power sub-stations
  • Waste-water treatment plants
  • Hospitals/medical centers
  • Universities
  • Using our databases we were also able to determine the approximate number of households and businesses that were ordered to evacuate.
  • We also use the post-Ike imager to assess change. Here is an image of the southern tip of the Bolivar Peninsula before Ike.
  • After Ike you can see that there is widespread damage to buildings structures.
  • With regards to our infrastructure, we use the imagery to assess potential damage to facilities such as this wastewater treatment plant.
  • As you can see, the plant it intact, but there I a large amount of debris surrounding the plant; not doubt impacting engineers abilities to access the plant and ensure proper operations and to bring it back online.
  • Using this post-Ike imagery and a grid framework of 1000x1000 feet, we reviewed key areas along the coast. We were able to make observations regarding the condition of structures, as well as levels of debris. At the time of this analysis we initially focus on the structures, as that was deemed most important, then came back around and reassessed the areas for debris; why this shows a ‘Not Determined’ value. Once on the ground teams were in place to make damage in debris assessments in the weeks following Ike, we move onto other analysis efforts. So this is why we only assessed a small area of the overall area.
  • Following the initial response efforts to provide agencies, counties, and cities with our post-Ike analysis, we realized that such information could be put into a regional GIS that would support our strategic plan to move towards more interactive and dynamic mapping applications. Our goal at H-GAC is to try and provide our analysis and information to our members and the public in a manner that allows them to maximize their ability to self-serve. This prevents bottlenecks, as we are a very small group, and at times, especially during events such as Ike, it is near impossible to serve all requests.
  • Before Ike, we actually had two existing regional GIS applications in place to provide Socio-Economic and Land Use information. These applications can be access via a web-browser or via ArcGIS Desktop. Our applications are not just interactive maps, but also incorporate geoprocessing tools, or calculators, that allowed users query the data to find information such as population, employment, and land use acreage. We decided to leverage this same architecture but expand it to include key infrastructure data. These two applications can be found at our main homepage above, or through the URLs listed for each.
  • This is a summary of the data model we have developed to integrate our various datasets (Socio-Economic, Land Use, Infrastructure, Base Layers, and calculators). As with our initial two applications, this model also support users access the application via either a web browser or ArcGIS Desktop.
  • This is the application based on the regional GIS model that we have recently completed, and are in the process of launching and making available via our website. As you can see, it provides visual layers for infrastructure, land use, and socio-economic data, as well as queries for obtaining infrastructure, land use, population, and employment information.
  • Many request we receive are for areas such as counties and cities. So we have developed some pre-defined queries that are cached and ready for download. This greatly improved the performance of the application.
  • Results of queries are viewed within the mapping application, and can be copied to Excel. Here the query shows the numbers of infrastructure items in Galveston County; not shows is the land use and socio-economic data which is farther down the list.
  • Since we cannot anticipate every persons area of interest with it comes to geographic inquiry, we have added custom queries that allow users to define their own geographic areas upon which to query the system. This take a bit more time, but for an query such as this, results are usually returned in 30 seconds. A user can define one or more polygons, draw and buffer a line(s), or enter a point(s) and define a buffer. Buffers can be specified in a variety of linear units (miles, kilometer, feet, meters).
  • In this example, a user draws a polygon for their area of interest.
  • And the application returns the results as with the pre-defined query shown before.
  • In summary, we are continuing to acquire and validate data for our region, as well as beginning our next round of regional forecasting for population, employment, and land use. In addition to existing features, we are also processing future developments and plats filed for our region. This helps us understand what is occurring and where to better assist our agent-based modeling efforts. We also are looking at ways to add and improve our queries to provide insightful information to users, and make the tools as flexible and accurate as possible.
  • Thank you for your time, and I hope you found this presentation of interest.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Natural Hazards and Regional Planning Developing an Integrated Geographic Information Model AAG 2009 Bill Bass Senior Land Use Modeler Socio-Economic Modeling Group Houston-Galveston Area Council
    • 2. H-GAC Background  Regional Council of Government (COG) • Regional Planning • Transportation MPO  13 Counties  12,500 Square Miles  105 Cities  13 School Districts  5.7 Million People
    • 3. Socio-Economic Modeling  Socio-economic forecasting • Demographics- Population, Census • Economics- Employment, Economic Development • Land Use- Environmental, Current/Future Use, Valuation • Primary Users…  Transportation planning  Environmental Planning  Economic Development Demographics EconomicsLand Use SE Modeling
    • 4. Land Use Modeling Process Appraisal Data Preliminary Land Use Parks & Nat. Areas Infra- structure Buildings Land Use Related Datasets Integration of Data Revised Land Use National, State, and Local Sources Inputs to Planning Projects Cultural Sites Imagery Validation
    • 5. Hurricane Ike- NOAA SLOSH Model (Estimated Storm Surge)
    • 6. Bolivar Bridge- Pre Ike
    • 7. Bolivar Bridge- Post Ike
    • 8. A Call to Action  Quickly provide searchable information • Infrastructure • Industrial facilities • Demographics • Property values  Allow on the ground teams to deal with immediate needs  Provide summaries to support impact scenarios, damage estimates and funding requests • Federal Agencies • State Agencies • Local Governments • Businesses • Communities
    • 9. Data Resources & Analysis Capabilities Imagery • Pre Ike • Post Ike • NAIP (rural counties) • Pre Ike Land Cover Transportation • Major Highways • Arterial Roads (StarMap) • Airports & Runways • Bridges • Railways & Crossings • Metro Transit Centers • Intermodal Terminals • Ports • Waterways Infrastructure • Refineries • Pipelines • Power Plants • Power Sub-Stations • Power Transmission Lines • Fire & Police Stations • Hospitals • Schools & Universities • Wastewater Treatment • Landfills • Closed Landfills • Commercial Facilities • Grocery Stores/Retailers • Cultural Sites • Buildings • Cemeteries • Correctional Facilities Socio-Economic • Parcel Boundaries • Parcel Valuation • Parcel Land Use • Population • Employment • Households • SBA Loans • Businesses (InfoUSA) • Regional Forecast Zip Code Census Tract Census Block City ETJ County Custom Extents Census Block Group Analysis provided in the following geographies
    • 10. Hurricane Ike- Actual Path and Estimated Storm Surge  Storm surge of 10 feet or more common in the Galveston Bay area  Used extent of 10 foot surge as analysis zone
    • 11. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop
    • 12. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop Businesses 99K JobsNo. >5K
    • 13. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop $3.7B Impr. Property* Residential Commercial Other $6.9B $191M 60K 5K 32K Parcels Value *Galveston, Liberty, Harris, and Brazoria Counties Businesses 99K JobsNo. >5K
    • 14. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop Schools (K-12) 42 No.Infrastructure Businesses 99K JobsNo. >5K $3.7B Impr. Property* Residential Commercial Other $6.9B $191M 60K 5K 32K Parcels Value *Galveston, Liberty, Harris, and Brazoria Counties
    • 15. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop Sub-Stations 41 Schools (K-12) 42 No.Infrastructure Businesses 99K JobsNo. >5K $3.7B Impr. Property* Residential Commercial Other $6.9B $191M 60K 5K 32K Parcels Value *Galveston, Liberty, Harris, and Brazoria Counties
    • 16. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop Sub-Stations 41 Waste Water Treatment Plants 131 Schools (K-12) 42 No.Infrastructure Businesses 99K JobsNo. >5K $3.7B Impr. Property* Residential Commercial Other $6.9B $191M 60K 5K 32K Parcels Value *Galveston, Liberty, Harris, and Brazoria Counties
    • 17. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop Sub-Stations 41 Waste Water Treatment Plants 131 Schools (K-12) 42 No.Infrastructure Businesses 99K JobsNo. >5K $3.7B Impr. Property* Residential Commercial Other $6.9B $191M 60K 5K 32K Parcels Value *Galveston, Liberty, Harris, and Brazoria Counties Hospitals 13
    • 18. Hurricane Ike- Storm Surge Zone Potential Impacts No. Households 205K81K Pop Sub-Stations 41 Waste Water Treatment Plants 131 Schools (K-12) 42 No.Infrastructure Businesses 99K JobsNo. >5K $3.7B Impr. Property* Residential Commercial Other $6.9B $191M 60K 5K 32K Parcels Value *Galveston, Liberty, Harris, and Brazoria Counties Hospitals 13 Universities 4
    • 19. Hurricane Ike- Evacuation Area No. Households 606K228K Pop Businesses 256K JobsNo. >15K Special Needs 14K No.Households w/out Cars 96K Disabled Individuals
    • 20. Bolivar Ferry- Pre Ike
    • 21. Bolivar Ferry- Post Ike
    • 22. Seabrook WWTP- Pre Ike
    • 23. Seabrook WWTP- Post Ike
    • 24. Damage Assessment Tot. Area 935 SqMi Assessed 29 SqMi Change 8 SqMi No Change 21 SqMi Total Loss 58% Rooftop Analysis Partial Loss 26% Intact 16% Moderate 2 SqMi Debris Analysis Light 6 SqMi Heavy 5 SqMi Not Deter. 17 SqMi 3% Tot. Area Change No Change Assessed Areas
    • 25. Moving Beyond Traditional Maps User Interaction DynamicInquiry Low High LowHigh Static Maps ‘PDFs’ Interactive Maps ‘Point & Click’ Animated Maps ‘Preset Animations’ GIS Applications ‘ArcIMS/ArcGIS Server’
    • 26. Leveraging Current GIS Capabilities http://www.h-gac.com/forecast www.arcgis.h-gac.com/Regional_SE_GIS www.arcgis.h-gac.com/Regional_LU_GIS
    • 27. Radial Linear Area Calculators Pre-defined Landmarks Population Browser Based Regional GIS Land Use Employment Geoprocessing Land Use Socio-Economic Desktop GIS (ArcGIS, ArcExplorer) Landmarks Infrastructure Infrastructure Data Optimization Regional Geographic Information Model Applications Map Layers/Geoprocessing Tools Geodatabases
    • 28. Regional GIS Map Layers Geoprocessing Tools
    • 29. Regional GIS Predefined Queries
    • 30. Regional GIS Query Results
    • 31. Regional GIS User-Defined Queries
    • 32. Regional GIS
    • 33. Regional GIS Query Results
    • 34. Summary  Continue to acquire and validate data • Infrastructure • Land Uses • Future Development (Announced Projects, Plats)  Incorporate new models into our geoprocessing tools  Flexibility • User interactivity • Self Service • Delivery methods (desktop, browser)  High resolution
    • 35. Thank You. Bill Bass (713) 499-6687 William.Bass@h-gac.com www.h-gac.com/forecast