Stories From The Field

Illustrating the Importance of Critical Infrastructure Data for Louisiana Coastal Parishes

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Issue

Critical facilities play a central role in disaster response and recovery and must be located out of harm’s way in order to provide emergency shelter and services. Maps containing the locations of these resources, which can include hospitals, police and fire stations, and utility facilities, are an important tool in planning for and responding to hazard events.

Process

To assess critical facilities data for Louisiana’s coastal parishes and identify those structures located within the flood zone, the Louisiana Geographic Information Center (LAGIC) used the Coastal County Snapshots – Flood Exposure tool. The snapshots, which provide a quick look at county demographics, infrastructure, and environment within the flood zone, illustrated that many of the facilities designed to provide shelter and emergency services after a hazard event were actually at risk themselves. In light of this information, LAGIC and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) staff members decided that data at a finer scale would be valuable to further examine critical facilities in the area.

Impact

By using the Coastal County Snapshots – Flood Exposure tool, LAGIC recognized the need for updated critical facilities information. With the help of USGS through a cooperative agreement, LAGIC mapped critical facilities data for Assumption, Lafourche, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes. The updated maps provide a more accurate look at the critical facilities in the area and are helping parish officials better plan for and respond to hazard events.

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Coastal County Snapshots turn complex data into easy-to-understand stories, complete with charts and graphs.
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