FEMA seeks to bring geospatial data into cloud environment

FEMA seeks to bring geospatial data into cloud environment

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US: During response and recovery missions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) receives massive amounts of data in a variety of formats from a multitude of sources. But the data often is not delivered in a manner that readily supports geospatial representation. And frequently, disseminating the information beyond the data owner is not permitted.

As a result, valuable time and resources are devoted to converting data to a geospatial-compatible format or searching for other sources of mission-critical information. And support systems often prevent sharing data with customers outside government firewalls.

So FEMA is looking for ways to move geospatial data to the cloud to provide federal, state and local agencies and other partners with real-time access to critical data during emergencies, according to a request for information issued by the agency.

FEMA’s Disaster Management and Support Environment (DMSE) Program Management Office, under FEMA”s Office of Response and Recovery, is interested in developing a cloud environment that will support geospatial efforts to merge data and processes of several legacy systems. The cloud infrastructure must be able to host information subject to Privacy Act restrictions and sensitive government information. The solution FEMA officials envision also should be easily managed by administrators working within .net and .gov domains, according to the RFI.

DMSE currently uses the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) public cloud for data creation, discovery and storage. The environment resides outside government firewalls, providing a platform for the rapid and transparent exchange of data with FEMA”s GIS customers. This capability was tested during Hurricane Sandy when massive amounts of data were being produced, exchanged and discovered by emergency management communities and the public, FEMA officials said.

FEMA is looking to broaden the capabilities of the cloud environment. Through this RFI, DMSE is looking for geospatial technical support services for application hosting, compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act security guidelines, connectivity in austere environments, custom application development, database and Web hosting services, data migration, elasticity, fully managed services, mobile compatibility, scalability, secured services, and storage.

Source: GCN