Making Data More Accessible

Issue directive making federal disaster maps and data public

In recent disasters, such as the California wildfires, there were no publicly available computerized maps and data. At one point, state and local responders were relying on maps posted to Google maps by a local newspaper.


FEMA customarily prepares computerized maps (GIS), but does not customarily release that data. It sometimes makes the data available to researchers and, nonpublicly, to other government agencies. But, there appears to be no set policy making the data reliably available to the public. Other federal agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, can be even more reluctant to release data. This deprives the public of access to information useful in many respects, from filing insurance claims, assessing the adequacy of emergency response, planning routes of travel around affected area, even lifesaving evacuations, as in the California wildfires.



45 votes
Idea No. 295