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The urgent need to develop strategies and methodologies for information access on which we can base our preparedness for homeland security comes with some perspective. The GIS community has years of experience and data at its disposal. Many of us have worked in preparing for and responding to national emergencies such as earthquakes, floods, and wildfires. This experience now enables us to redefine planning and preparedness for the incurred risk of malicious attack. However, the ability to mitigate the effects of any emergency is drastically reduced by lack of forward planning.
This paper describes the critical role that geographic data plays in the assessment, preparedness, and response to such threats. Essentially, the capability to build on existing data sets in the public and private sector, along with the knowledge and methodologies developed over decades by the GIS community, allows organizations to move forward with confidence and vision.
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