Open Data: FEMA Releases New Disaster Data Visualization Tool
FEMA collects data from disasters. We look at various hazards over time, and a question we get a lot when we’re trying to talk about what can happen is what has happened previously?
Providing data in its raw format and also building visualization tools allows people to look at their past history, look at what kind of hazards they are vulnerable to, and look at the frequency of disaster declarations and the impacts. These are useful tools to give people context to what their past looks like when they are planning for future risk.
As our first data visualization tool that we soft launched, it didn’t have a lot of refinement. But people were surprised by some of the states with high frequent disaster declarations and people didn’t even realize how many times their states had declarations. This gives you a way to take a lot of data at your home state to see how many times it’s been declared, and some people are surprised by how many times they have been declared or how infrequently they have been declared.
The only way you could previously get that is by going disaster by disaster (on the web) or sifting through the raw data to try to look it up.
By visualizing the data, you can point and click to explore the data without having to go through all of those previous disasters.
The visualization uses historical disaster declaration data to show you everything from seasonal risk to specific types of hazards and patterns, for both local communities and Tribal governments.
As we’ve done with disasters, we’ve maintained specific pages and information for those disasters that may not be available in that visualization tool, so we link to it. It’s important, so if you have a question about a particular disaster, like in my home state of Florida with Hurricane Andrew, you can see Andrew and you see the big dollar impacts.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.