A web site being developed at Cornell University will give reconstruction workers and researchers access to detailed information on the status of critical infrastructure in communities along the Mississippi coast, based on data collected in the field and added to a GIS database. A web site being developed at Cornell University will give reconstruction workers and researchers access to detailed information on the status of critical infrastructure in communities along the Mississippi coast, tied in with existing information about the location of roads, bridges, public and private buildings and even economic and demographic data about the region.
On September 6th a team from the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER, usually pronounced “Em-sear”) began to survey Mississippi coastal communities, collecting this and other information and keying it to precise locations determined by GPS locators. The information will be relayed daily to Cornell’s Ithaca campus and added to a GIS database that will be accessible on the web through a map of the Mississippi Gulf coast. Initially, the team, which includes experts from the State University of New York at Buffalo, California Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, the New York State Department of Transportation and a private company called Image Cat Inc., which specializes in satellite imagery, will concentrate on the cities of Biloxi, Gulfport and Long Beach.
Arthur Lembo, a Cornell research associate in crop and soil sciences, developed the database and web site, similar to one he created in January to assist recovery workers following the devastating tsunami in Sri Lanka. One of the things that helped, he said, was that the state of Mississippi had already made available online an extensive database of geographic information about the state, including roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure. As the MCEER team reports back, their information will be added to the Mississippi information already in the Cornell GIS database.