CoreLogic releases 2014 Hurricane Storm Surge Risk Analysis  Susan Smith  11 Jul 2014

Dr. Tom Jeffrey, senior hazard scientist for CoreLogic Spatial Solutions, spoke with GISCafe Voiceabout CoreLogic’s release yesterday of its 2014 storm surge analysis that features estimates on both the number and reconstruction value of single-family homes exposed to hurricane-driven storm surge risk within the United States.


“What we’ve done we’ve tallied up all the homes that are in a high risk area along the Gulf and East Coast. We’re always trying to improve our accuracy,” said Jeffrey.  “We’ve done things differently — we’ve included all designations for single family residences. In the past, we’ve used a category that has been called “single family homes” but oftentimes states have different ways of recording property information and some states use designations of mobile homes, cabins or duplexes separately. We’ve done a very comprehensive, thorough research into trying to extract all those variations of single family homes. So the total number is going to be slightly different because we believe we have a more comprehensive identification of all the homes that are potentially at risk.”


The second criteria is, how do we put a value on those homes? “In the past we used assessed value, what the tax assessment is, or what real estate identifies as what the retail value of the home is, but that was never getting to the heart of the problem,” said Dr. Jeffrey.  “When a storm comes through and surge occurs, there’s going to be damage or destruction of repairing that damage or rebuilding the home. This year, for the first time, we’ve included reconstruction cost. And that’s because we purchased a company called Marshall & Swift that has that type of information. Now we extract what the reconstruction costs is going to be and we believe that’s going to be a much better indicator of what the actual dollar values are associated with the damage that would come with a storm surge activity. So it’s really a better understanding of what homes are at risk and what are the true potential costs in terms of damage.”

According to the findings, more than 6.5 million homes along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of storm surge inundation, representing nearly $1.5 trillion in total potential reconstruction costs. More than $986 billion of that risk is concentrated within 15 major metro areas. This exposure could constitute significant risk for homeowners and financial services companies, as many at-risk homes lack protection from insurance coverage.

The analysis examined homes along the coastlines of 19 states and the District of Columbia in the Gulf and Atlantic regions, extending as far west as Texas and as far north as Maine. Florida ranks number one for the highest number of homes at risk of storm surge damage, with nearly 2.5 million homes at various risk levels and $490 billion in total potential exposure to damage. At the local level, the New York metropolitan area, which encompasses northern New Jersey and Long Island as well, contains not only the highest number of homes at risk for potential storm surge damage (687,412), but also the highest total reconstruction value of homes exposed, at more than $251 billion. Dr. Jeffrey said the Northeast has experienced more activity in the past three years than in past years.

“We evaluate the risk areas annually,” said Dr. Jeffrey. “While they don’t change dramatically, we do see some slight variations of areas. The main focus is, how does that risk relate to the properties that are currently in place?” In previous decades, anything along a coast was at risk. “Our research shows if we don’t do a broadbrush approach to this we’re going on a property-by-property basis. We can identify areas near the coastline, say in Miami, where in fact, there are properties that are not high risk.”

While scientific predictions are pointing to lower-than-normal storm activity for 2014, the risk of significant damage to homes is a constant threat. “Though the 2013 hurricane season will be remembered for the fact that no storms made landfall along the U.S. coast, this reprieve from hurricane-related damage should not lead to complacency in preparing for future storms and the potential life-threatening conditions they can bring,” said Dr. Jeffrey. “This year’s season is projected to be slightly below normal in hurricane activity, but the early arrival of Hurricane Arthur on July 3 is an important reminder that even a low-category hurricane or strong tropical storm can create powerful riptides, modest flooding and cause significant destruction of property.”

The 2014 analysis shows that total exposure varies significantly from state to state given differences in population, trends in residential development, geographic risk factors, length of coastline and other distinguishing factors. Florida and Texas, for example, are within the top five states for number of properties at risk primarily because of their extensive coastlines (Table 3). Louisiana and New Jersey, on the other hand, have a smaller coastal area overall, yet are included in the top five list as a result of relatively low elevation that allows storm surge inundation to extend farther inland and affect more homes.

The concepts in this analysis also complement Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zone information to provide a snapshot of potential damage exposure at the property level, as many properties located outside designated FEMA flood zones are still at risk for storm surge damage. The standard FEMA flood zones are designed to identify areas at risk for both freshwater flooding as well as storm surge based on the likelihood of either a 100-year or a 500-year flood event. They do not differentiate risk based on storm severity, and as a result, do not effectively define the total extent of the risk possible along coastal areas.

Additional findings in the CoreLogic storm surge analysis include:

    • The five states with the highest total number of properties at risk include: Florida (2,488,277), Louisiana (738,165), New York (466,919), New Jersey (445,928) and Texas (434,421).
    • The five states (including the District of Columbia) with the lowest total number of properties at risk include: the District of Columbia (3,895), New Hampshire (10,853), Maine (23,439), Rhode Island (26,558) and Delaware (48,534).
    • The five states with the highest value of reconstruction costs for homes at risk include: Florida ($490,403,653,377), New York ($182,474,294,695), Louisiana ($161,062,467,382) New Jersey ($134,194,963,314) and Virginia ($92,001,482,217).
    • The five states with the lowest value of reconstruction costs for homes at risk include: District of Columbia ($394,437,173), New Hampshire ($2,649,086,294), Maine ($6,629,856,369), Rhode Island ($7,389,384,876) and Alabama ($10,333,310,460).

The reconstruction value of the homes exposed to storm surge damage in the Gulf is much less than the reconstruction value of homes in the Atlantic region, as indicated in Table 2. The total reconstruction cost value of homes along the Atlantic coast is nearly $951 billion, which is approximately double the value of at-risk properties in the Gulf region at just over $545 billion.

Webinar: “The Way Forward: Commercialization of UAS with Regulatory Uncertainty”

Webinar: “The Way Forward: Commercialization of UAS with Regulatory Uncertainty”

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014, 8:00 PM

No location yet.

89 Operators Went

Please join us for this presentation about the way forward for UAS commercialization in the United States. In March 2013 AUVSI released its report on The Economic Impact of Unmanned Aircraft System Integration in the United States noting that in the first three years of integration more than 70,000 jobs will be created in the United States with an …

Check out this Meetup →


Webinar: Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014, 8PM-9PM EDT.

    • Please join us for this presentation about the way forward for UAS commercialization in the United States. In March 2013 AUVSI released its report on The Economic Impact of Unmanned Aircraft System Integration in the United States noting that in the first three years of integration more than 70,000 jobs will be created in the United States with an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion. Report author Darryl Jenkins will discuss his latest research and what has changed since the release of that study. Please join us for this exciting discussion for the future of the UAV industry and what we can do to help this technology reach its full potential. This event will be held as a Google Hangout on Air and instructions on how to join will be sent to people who RSVP.

      Darryl Jenkins is one of the best-known authorities on aviation in the world. He is a regular commentator in the national press, including CNN, CNBC, ABC News, NBC News, the Nightly Business Report and various other cable programs. His expertise in reservations systems, revenue management, operations, safety management, air traffic control, and aviation policy is widely regarded. Jenkins was a member of the Executive Committee of the White House Conference on Aviation Safety during the Clinton administration and Security and Director of the Aviation Institute at George Washington University until 2003. He has authored several books on aviation including: “Managing Business Travel,” “The Savvy Business Traveler,” “Financial Distress in the Airline Industry,” “Failed Partnership,” and “The Handbook of Airline Economics.”

Call to Action: Respond to Damaging FAA Legal Interpretation

Call to Action: Respond to Damaging FAA Legal Interpretation

Friday, Jul 25, 2014, 7:00 PM

No location yet.

16 Operators Went

The FAA recently published a draft document entitled “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft” that is potentially very damaging to our community. If implemented, this legal interpretation would outlaw FPV flying with goggles, create additional requirements to get permission from aircraft control towers to fly, and generally seek to a…

Check out this Meetup →

Please post your comment during the rulemaking period.  it closes out Friday, July 25, 2014  at 7PM EDT  (link below)

  • The FAA recently published a draft document entitled “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft” that is potentially very damaging to our community. If implemented, this legal interpretation would outlaw FPV flying with goggles, create additional requirements to get permission from aircraft control towers to fly, and generally seek to apply greater FAA interference with non-commercial use of UAS.

    The agency is legally obliged to offer a comment period and now is the time to make our voices heard before the FAA takes away our legal rights! The comment period closes July 25, so please visit!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0396-0001 and post your response before that time.

    Below is some suggested language you can use in your comments. Please feel to copy it, adapt it, or write something completely new, but please don’t let July 25 pass without letting the FAA know that our community will not let them destroy this activity that we are so passionate about!

    “I am a UAS operator and a member of the Drone User Group Network, a 5000+ community based organization dedicated to teaching people how to operate UAS. Most of our members’ activities are non-commercial in nature and fall under the auspices of model aircraft. Our community is deeply disappointed by the FAA’s recently published Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which will undermine this activity, the industry that supports it, and the many individuals who are contributing to innovation in the aerospace sector as recreational users.

    The FAA seems to have taken the most restrictive possible stance in regards to first person view (FPV) flying, essentially banning the increasingly popular practice of flying using goggles streaming from a camera mounted on the model aircraft. There is no evidence that any significant risks to the NAS comes from FPV flying when people follow community based guidelines such as those issued by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which you are obviously referencing in footnote 2, and requires FPV flying to be done with a spotter who maintains visual line of site (VLOS) and who is capable of taking control of the craft in the case that they observe anything unsafe happening. There is no reason why this two-person team can’t be considered to be operating the aircraft together and therefore maintain the VLOS criteria mentioned in FAA Modernization and Reform Act.

    The FAA is also adding new requirements to model aircraft that extend beyond the law when it states, “If the model aircraft operator provides notice of forthcoming operations which are then not authorized by air traffic or objected to by the airport operator, the FAA expects the model aircraft operator will not conduct the proposed flights.“ This statement implies that the person operating the model aircraft needs positive authorization in order to fly, which is a very different concept than what is in the language of previous statutes requiring operator and control tower notification. A large portion of the American population lives within 5 miles of an airport, so this will effect a significant portion of flyers.

    Overall, it is clear that the FAA is intending to circumvent Congress’ intention to allow model aircraft use to be governed by community-based organizations. Your statement that “The FAA interprets the section 336 rule making prohibition as one that must be evaluated on a rule-by-rule basis,” provides an interpretation of your authority that is so broad as to render Congress’ clear intention meaningless and creates unnecessary uncertainty amongst the community of model aircraft pilots. Community based organizations have been issuing safety guidelines since well before the FAA was founded and have an exemplary record in maintaining public and operator safety. It is unfortunate that the FAA has decided to take an antagonistic approach towards the model aircraft community, alienating
    organizations such as the AMA that have made significant efforts to
    collaborate with the agency.

    Non-commercial users of UAS technology have an important role to play in contributing to aerospace innovation in the United States. By restricting our community’s activities beyond what is strictly needed to maintain public safety, the FAA is undermining American competitiveness as other countries allow much more freedom for both non-commercial and commercial use of UAS. We hope the FAA will reconsider both the specific additional restrictions being placed on model aircraft pilots that are outlined above as well as its overall approach to engaging with our community. ”

The Details About the CIA’s Deal With Amazon  Frank Konkel, 17 Jul 2014

Cloud computing comes of age.  Note the references to geospatial and cloud computing.

The intelligence community is about to get the equivalent of an adrenaline shot to the chest. This summer, a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the Central Intelligence Agency over the past year will begin servicing all 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. If the technology plays out as officials envision, it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

For the first time, agencies within the intelligence community will be able to order a variety of on-demand computing and analytic services from the CIA and National Security Agency. What’s more, they’ll only pay for what they use.

The vision was first outlined in the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise plan championed by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and IC Chief Information Officer Al Tarasiuk almost three years ago. Cloud computing is one of the core components of the strategy to help the IC discover, access and share critical information in an era of seemingly infinite data.

For the risk-averse intelligence community, the decision to go with a commercial cloud vendor is a radical departure from business as usual.

In 2011, while private companies were consolidating data centers in favor of the cloud and some civilian agencies began flirting with cloud variants like email as a service, a sometimes contentious debate among the intelligence community’s leadership took place.

As one former intelligence official with knowledge of the Amazon deal told Government Executive, “It took a lot of wrangling, but it was easy to see the vision if you laid it all out.” The critical question was would the IC, led by the CIA, attempt to do cloud computing from within, or would it buy innovation? Money was a factor, according to the intelligence official, but not the leading one.

The government was spending more money on information technology within the IC than ever before. IT spending reached $8 billion in 2013, according to budget documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The CIA and other agencies feasibly could have spent billions of dollars standing up their own cloud infrastructure without raising many eyebrows in Congress, but the decision to purchase a single commercial solution came down primarily to two factors.

“What we were really looking at was time to mission and innovation,” the former intelligence official said. “The goal was, ‘Can we act like a large enterprise in the corporate world and buy the thing that we don’t have, can we catch up to the commercial cycle? Anybody can build a data center, but could we purchase something more?

 “We decided we needed to buy innovation,” the former intelligence official said.

Click here to continue.

The Future of Education: Geography Matters – but so Do Other Things


IMHO, the most interesting portion of the discussion was about higher ed.  Excerpted below:

The Future of Higher Education

Scott Thomas of professor and dean of Claremont Graduate University School of Education opened the “Future of Higher Education” plenary. He argued that online education will never be elite because it’s incomplete. Students, he argues, must come together physically to have all the experiences that make up an education. One challenge we have now, he noted, is that we don’t measure learning. The good news? Technology can help us with that.

Anthony Robinson of Penn State took more of an “online” perspective. (at right, image via @trbaker) He argued that indeed distance is not a problem with online learning. In fact, a recent study shows no quality difference between residence and well constructed online education. While open educational content is nice, effective high level learning, further up Bloom’s taxonomy, requires “more.” That “more” can be added via MOOCs, in addition to “on campus” as Thomas suggested. Robinson was quick to emphasize that MOOCs are not all online classes; they are one special type. Those in and outside education should not conflate the two! 

Esri’s Chief Scientist, Dawn Wright addressed the growing number of PhDs who do not go into academia, but into industry. Esri has many such PhDs. Mostly, she argued the attitude on campus needs to change in a few ways. Faculty need to be rewarded for things beyond bringing in grants and teaching. They should be rewarded for outreach to the next generation Another change that’s needed: a change in the perception of GIS as somehow a “lesser” data science.

The most telling insights, I think, were in the responses to moderator David DiBiase’s final questions: What will be the biggest change in education in 10 years? What will not change?

Biggest change:

Thomas – significant integration of residential and online learning
Robinson – 1/3 of all higher education enrollments will be in fully flexible/competency based programs [See for example SNHU, WGU, UW-Flexible Option]
Wright – students will truly understand the Internet before they enter college (the current “digital native” idea is a myth)

Biggest element that will not change:

Thomas – I’ll still be using slides of students at desk (residence education) in my talks
Robinson – the size of the education workforce will be the same, or larger
Wright – financing college will still be a problem

Read it all here.

Explorer for ArcGIS Brings GIS to the Mac


Esri today released Explorer for ArcGIS on the Mac, a native OS X application to discover, view, and share maps. The ready-to-use app joins Esri’s family of mapping apps, including Collector for ArcGIS, Dashboard for ArcGIS, and Explorer for ArcGIS on iOS. It can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and Esri ArcGIS Marketplace.

With Explorer for ArcGIS, you can access maps, search for and visualize data, and brief stakeholders. In the new Mac version, you also have the ability to open and view multiple maps at once, dock and undock pop-up windows, and go full screen—taking advantage of Apple’s Retina technology on MacBook and Thunderbolt displays.

Explorer for ArcGIS is one of many ready-to-use apps to access maps authored by you or others within your organization, and share them from Macs or iOS devices. The app is designed for anyone who needs to explore data in a geographic context and use maps to make more informed decisions. With an elegant and intuitive interface, it requires no GIS experience to operate.

Anyone using a Mac desktop or iOS device can download and try the sample maps included in the app. ArcGIS Online subscribers, trial users, and those with a Portal for ArcGIS account can simply download the app, sign in, and begin exploring their maps and data. An Android version of the Explorer for ArcGIS app will be available in a later release.

For more information on Explorer for ArcGIS, visit

Learn ArcGIS: Esri Embraces New Vision for Teaching and Learning GIS

Adena Shutzberg,


Learn ArcGIS is Esri’s new website for teaching GIS to both new and existing users. It embraces a new corporate-wide goal of teaching through problem solving rather than via rote “button pushing.”  Executive Editor Adena Schutzberg has an exclusive look at both the educational vision and the site itself.


Learn ArcGIS is Esri’s new website for teaching GIS to both new and existing users. The site taps ArcGIS Online, apps and datasets and serves as a portal to other teaching and learning opportunities from the company. Executive Editor Adena Schutzberg has an exclusive look at both the educational vision and the site itself.

A New Vision for GIS Teaching and Learning

What is this new vision for teaching and learning GIS? Aileen Buckley, a cartographer/writer and team member on the project, cited three unique aspects to Learn ArcGIS during an interview in late June. First, Learn ArcGIS embraces a new corporate-wide goal of teaching through problem solving rather than via rote “button pushing.” Careful readers of Esri content might have noticed the term “problem solvers”   was used in Esri’s ConnectED press release announcing free access for U.S. K-12 schools to ArcGIS Online.

Second, unlike other GIS teaching and learning solutions, Learn ArcGIS requires, for the most part, just an Internet connection. Students access the publicly available Learn ArcGIS website and use a free ArcGIS Online account as a member of the Learn ArcGIS organization. Christian Harder, a writer and information designer on the team, noted students can be up and running in minutes. Some of the content uses ArcGIS for Desktop; students who do not have access to the software are encouraged to download a free trial version.

Third, the problems and examples students will tackle and explore are real. The Learn ArcGIS team is tapping other Esri teams as well as its users for real world problems and datasets. One of the projects (which each consist of one or more lessons) takes advantage of Anne Knowles’ work on Gettysburg’s Civil War battles. The intricate story map encourages users to explore the idea of “line of sight” for a specific purpose: understanding if military leaders could actually see the enemy from their positions.  Click to read more.

ArcGIS Pro: Not Ready for Education Yet

At dinner on Friday night I did a quick poll of my companions working in GIS asking what they knew about ArcGIS Pro. They knew it was “like” ArcMap and supported 2D and 3D but that was about it. The Esri Q&A noted “It is for anyone who works with geospatial information.” I attended a hands on workshop to try to make sense of this new product. 


Beta: We talked about and worked with beta 4 released just before the conference. There will be two more betas before the code if frozen for release.

Timing: First release coming with ArcGIS 10.3 in Q4 of this year.

Home address: ArcGIS can sit next to and run alongside ArcMap, but it only runs on a 64-bit platform.

Data support: Accesses data in ArcGIS Online, data published from ArcGIS server, shape files, and geodatabases except personal geodatabases, which are 32-bit.

Why?: It’s time for a new type of software. ArcMap is 15 years old and limited by its 32-bit history. ArcGIS Pro, developed for 64 bit platforms can take advantage of up (perhaps more than) 8 GB of RAM and is thus faster than ArcMap. And, it’s time for a modern ribbon interface (right).

3D: ArcGIS Pro can view and edit 3D without the 3D Analyst Extension. However, there are no 3D analysis capabilities without the extension.

10 Reasons Why I Ignored Your Resume

Mike Volpe in

This article is part of DBA, a new series on Mashable about running a business that features insights from leaders in entrepreneurship, venture capital and management.

A lot of people want jobs in marketing, which is great news for those of us currently hiring. However, after a decade of screening, interviewing and onboarding marketers, there are still some mistakes that I constantly see. Here are examples of some mistakes you should avoid.

1. You use a Hotmail or AOL email address
Marketers should see into the future, not live in the past, so unless you’re applying for a job as a historian for 1999, I would suggest updating your email address, perhaps to a Gmail address. Bonus points if you use an email address associated with your own custom domain because it shows you know something about using the web and technology.

2. I can’t find you on Google
You don’t have to be popular like Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson, but you should be present enough on the web that I can easily find your LinkedIn profile, content you have created, your Twitter account, or your personal web page just by typing your name into Google.

3. Your last tweet is from 2011


Sending a tweet.

Don’t tell me you’re a digital guru if you haven’t tweeted in the last three years. You don’t have to have a million followers (though I’ll pay closer attention if you do), but you do need to be participating in the conversation on a regular basis by sharing other people’s content and staying current. A few tweets a week is enough; a month long lapse is unacceptable. I’d rather see you using one network well and not have accounts on the others, than have accounts everywhere and use none of them effectively.

4. Your public Facebook photos resemble “Frank the Tank”
Doing keg stands when you’re young is cool (believe it or not, I did a few back in the day) but there is literally no excuse for any of them to be in your public Facebook profile. Shirtless or bikini photos have no place in your public-facing profile on any network, so plan accordingly unless you’re applying to be Will Farrell’s stunt double; in which case, best of luck to you.

5. Your LinkedIn photo is a selfie
LinkedIn is, by definition, a professional network. To that end, I think it’s fair to expect your photo there to be professional-looking. Do you need a glamour shot or Annie Leibovitz-quality image to get hired? Absolutely not. But you should be looking straight to the camera, show your entire face (emo, shadowy portraits are cool for Instagram but not for LinkedIn), and be appropriately sized for the channel.

6. The only number on your resume is your phone number


Marketing is no longer arts and crafts — you need to be measurable and efficient to succeed. As a result, if your resume doesn’t include a single quantifiable metric to show your accomplishments, you’re likely not going to be a good fit on a marketing team today.

7. You speak exclusively in business babble
Tell me what you’re doing and what you have done in a clear, concise manner — limit the business babble. No one wants to read about how you “leverage responsibilities to meaningfully impact the organization’s directional strategy.” Tell me what you marketed, sold or championed within your company and how it moved the needle — no gobbledygook required.

8. You haven’t written anything since college
Your writing sample should not be a college term paper. Now there are countless channels to publish your work, so whether you self-publish through LinkedIn, post to Medium, or just keep your own blog current, you should be able to provide a current work sample that doesn’t have your college professor’s edits all over it. Every single person on our marketing team does some form of content creation, so we need people who are exceptional and committed to publishing or producing content early and often.

9. You applied for 15 positions on our team
Being eager to join a company is a good thing; being desperate is not. Invest the time to craft a cover letter and resume tailored to the job you truly want rather than trying to boil the ocean by applying to dozens of jobs in the same category. Not sure which position is a fit based on your skill set? Shoot a quick clarifying email to the hiring manager or recruiter before applying: Doing so may help you choose the right fit based on your experience and interests.

10. You forget to use Ctrl + F
Everyone knows spelling errors are unacceptable, but it’s amazing to me how many cover letters we get addressed to the wrong people or referencing another local company instead of HubSpot. Finding the time to create 100 different cover letters is nearly impossible, but you should have tailored cover letters and resumes for the types of positions you are applying for and invest the time and energy to ensure the company name, hiring manager and position are correctly spelled and positioned throughout your application materials.

Job hunting is hard, so don’t make it harder that it has to be. Do yourself a favor and don’t give a company a reason not to hire you before you even get to the interview. Marketing has changed, adapt your job search strategy accordingly!