First responders are turning to geospatial tools to help prepare for, and recover from, natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, says Esri's public safety and homeland security director, Russ Johnson. Emergency managers are just scratching the surface with GIS capabilities: Until recently, they were used primarily to gather information for public consumption, but now, geospatial tools are starting to help coordinate logistics, he notes. Johnson adds that the combination of location data and social tools will create a powerful means of sharing information.

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