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GIS technologies used to obtain population database

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the premier research institutions in the United States, is a federal partner in the war on the terrorism. Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Oak Ridge lab added teeth to its science research programs. The laboratory gave priority and additional funding was provided to technologies that could be harnessed for homeland security or exported to allies to help make the world a safer place.

The work ranges from sophisticated detectors that identify chemical and radiological threats to computer software that sifts through vast loads of intelligence data and pinpoints relevant concerns.

Among the Oak Ridge projects the LandScan is a population database that can estimate with unprecedented accuracy how many people are in an area around the clock. This is a particularly valuable tool when threats whether terrorism or weather disaster requires evacuation. It also could prove important when trying to get medical supplies or a response team into an affected area. LandScan combines remote sensing and geographic information-system technologies with other population data sources, including census reports, to provide the best and most reliable information.