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Mapping the Path to Recovery

To support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recovery efforts after the devastating Oklahoma tornadoes on May 19th and 20th, our experts were tasked by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to acquire airborne imagery over the entire path of the Oklahoma tornado.

What we do

Our team acquires, processes and disseminates geospatial data and airborne imagery to produce high-resolution maps that reflect current environmental conditions.
Destruction after Oklahoma tornado in May 2013

The data we capture and analyze is then used to produce real-time intelligence products to support a variety of DHS missions, to include emergency management of natural and manmade disasters, like the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. After the storm hit, we captured high-resolution, color imagery along the entire path of destruction with the help of our airborne partner, Keystone Aerial Surveys.

All of this work is conducted under our DHS Remote Sensing Services to Support Incident Management and Homeland Security contract.

In an emergency, immediate situational awareness is critical to helping decision-makers develop successful response plans. Geospatial imagery provides valuable intelligence that is vital to assess damage and guide first responders.

DeEtte Gray, president of BAE Systems’ Intelligence & Security sector

 

How the data is used

After the high resolution (28 cm) color imagery was collected, our experts processed the imagery into a fully ortho-rectified mosaic. The ortho mosaic was comprised of 159 USNG (US National Grid 1000m x 1000m) tiles covering a 40 square mile area that covered the entire path of the tornado. This data was then posted to the DHS website where it could be analyzed. This imagery is a critical tool in FEMA’s coordination of Oklahoma’s tornado recovery and cleanup efforts.

This process produces a true and undistorted image of the damage site, and provides a clear and accurate picture of actual terrain conditions.

Mark Safran, Geospatial Mission Solutions program manager

 

What did they find?

Initial aerial assessments by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicate that severe storms impacted more than 3,900 structures across Oklahoma’s Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties. Of those, it is estimated that more than 1,200 were destroyed.

While it may take years to rebuild, we’re working alongside government partners to facilitate applications for Federal assistance for those who suffered the most during the storm.

Our people have been out there working side-by-side with our government partners around the clock. But our commitment to help the victims of Oklahoma does not stop there; our company is donating money for the victims of this tragedy.

DeEtte Gray, president of BAE Systems' Intelligence & Security sector

 

How else can we help?

We have donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross relief efforts in the wake of the Oklahoma tornadoes. We also ask our employees to donate, and pledge to match all employee donations of more than $25 through our Matching Gifts Program.