PlanGraphics has completed a two-phase project for the Kentucky CSEPP to develop a geographic information system (GIS) for the nine counties surrounding the Blue Grass Army Depot in east central Kentucky. The Depot is the site of a large stockpile of chemical weapons, including mustard agent and two nerve gases. The CSEPP program is a federally funded initiative to assist state and local governments prepare for and respond to emergency events involving the aging chemical weapons until they are destroyed.
During the first phase of the effort, several types of digital base maps (topographic, aerial photos and satellite images, thematic) were developed for the individual counties and the nine-county region. The initial maps also contain features like highways, railroads, streams and rivers, political boundaries, and response zones surrounding the Depot.
Phase II of the project involved building a database that contains both graphic and nongraphic information on 62 different features important to CSEPP planning and response preparation. Examples include hospitals, physicians, schools, day-care facilities, evacuation routes, traffic control points, etc. The GIS database was developed and designed based on input from CSEPP personnel, and the data that was used came from various state, local, and private sources for the nine counties in the Kentucky CSEPP region.
The database contains locations and descriptive attribute information on all of the features so they can be presented on a computerized map. Prior to the project, CSEPP largely relied on paper maps and files. The new system no longer requires paper records or maintaining multiple data files to access or obtain the needed information for planning, training exercises, or responses to emergency incidents. For example, if a hospital is selected, the GIS displays the location of the hospital on a map and presents all pertinent information on that specific hospital. The GIS mapping and data system was recently used during the annual Depot training exercise that was conducted in October, the first time the exercise was accomplished without relying entirely on paper maps and files.
According to Bill Hilling, Kentucky’s planning supervisor for CSEPP, the new project represents a very significant improvement over the hard copy maps and records previously used by state and local CSEPP officials. “With just a click of the mouse, we can locate and have instant access to all of the critical information we need to plan for and respond to an incident,” said Hilling. “This new mapping resource makes the Kentucky CSEPP program even better prepared to protect the State’s citizens,” according to Hilling.