September 29, 2010 By Andy Opsahl
Emergency Management magazine visited the San Diego State University Immersive Visualization Center (Viz Lab), a Navy-sponsored organization that produces geographic animations for first responders around the globe.
Viz Lab geographers and technologists aim to create a shared visual experience for field responders and those located in the command center. The animations achieve this with 3-D representations that give command center employees truer-to-life images than flat maps. Numerous defense agencies and other types of government organizations maintain relationships with the Viz Lab and send imagery they collect at disasters to the San Diego organization.
This empowers the Viz Lab to fuse imagery from numerous sources to give responders a level of situational awareness that often evaded them in the past. The end result is an ability to approach disasters more proactively, deploy responders more usefully and move civilians to safety more quickly, according to Viz Lab staff.