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Yosemite All Hazards Region Geospatial Coordination Group (YAHR): Enabling Effective Interagency Coordination and Communication across Pairings of Complementary Digital Platforms

Authors: Madeline Brown*,
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Geographic Information Systems, Socio-Technical Networks, Wildland-Urban Interface, Yosemite National Park, Emergency Response, Interagency Coordination, Complexity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 2:25 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Virtual Track 10
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Interagency communication is critical in our era of intense climate change driven natural disasters. Understanding how to facilitate interagency coordination and communication in digital-social realms may improve emergency preparedness and response. Yosemite All Hazards Region Geospatial Coordination Group (YAHR) formed in response to siloed inter-agency communications during the 2018 Ferguson Fire. Yosemite National Park is spread across four counties, multiple scales of jurisdiction, and varied federal lands managers. Jurisdictional boundaries create barriers to effectively communicating public-facing information. YAHR is one of a kind in its socio-technical network formation for emergency communication centered on a National Park.
This ongoing case study asks, “How do agencies communicate across digital platforms to improve emergency preparedness and response?” The case study investigates spatiotemporal trends in communications mirroring onset speeds of natural disasters from rapid (wildfires) to creeping (atmospheric rivers). Slack analytics, content analysis of discussion threads, regional natural disaster timelines, and interview responses are analyzed and compared to identify communication patterns and subsequent impacts to public-facing emergency preparedness and response communications.
The formation of YAHR, supported by the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG), has facilitated rapid data sharing across the ArcGIS Online platform, improved interagency communications for Geographic Information Systems specialists, facilitated relationships between law enforcement and GIS personnel, as well as enabled improvement of individual county public information maps. By understanding trends in digital communications across lawscapes, YAHR may pave the way for other socio-technical networks to improve their emergency preparedness and response.

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