ABOUT GIS: Scientists can use Geographic Information System (GIS) software in many applications, including flood forecasting. The information can also be customized to show information vital to firefighters, emergency planners and farmers. A GIS allows users to create layers of relevant information atop a map to form a comprehensive picture of events. In disaster response situations, people must be mobile and have immediate access to information. A GIS can be adapted to software that uses programs called intelligent agents, enabling mobile devices to function smoothly even if they cannot always access a wireless network. The agents monitor changes in the network and store and secure data in the event of a network disruption. Such programs can run on any type of mobile device, use any type of wireless network, and even establish their own ad hoc networks in the event that all other available networks fail, all of which can make a big difference during a disaster.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FLOOD WATCHES AND FLOOD WARNINGS: Generally, a watch indicates that conditions are favorable for flooding, that a flood is possible. A warning, however, indicates that flooding is imminent or occurring. Weather forecasters can tailor these alerts for flash floods, river floods, and other causes and environments.
The American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America and the American Physical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.