NASA implements HazNet system

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Published: October 20,2009

Tags: disaster preparedness, federal agency, space program

HANCOCK COUNTY — The “all-hazards network” system, HazNet, developed through the Innovative Partnership Program at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, is being implemented across the space agency.

HazNet incorporates maps, reports, Internet-derived data and real-time sensor input into a geographic information system (GIS)-based display to provide organizations and officials with comprehensive information during emergency and disaster situations. It also allows organizations and officials to communicate, collaborate and share data during such events, enabling a coordinated response.

Based on five years of research and thousands of hours of testing, the HazNet system was developed by NVision Solutions Inc., a Stennis-based company that worked with NASA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, among others, on the project. Most of the funding for development came through NASA programs, including the Small Business Innovation Research program.

“This tool ushers in a new era of information gathering and sharing between federal, state and local agencies across multiple geographies,” said Craig Harvey, chief operating officer for NVision. “We view NASA as a key partner in its development.”

Through the NASA partnership, the HazNet system was implemented in neighboring St. Tammany Parish, La., and Hancock County, where Stennis is located. A contract was awarded last year to install the system at three NASA locations – Stennis, Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. At Stennis, the system was unveiled with the opening of the facility’s new Emergency Operations Center in June.

This year, an SBIR Phase III contract has been awarded to install the system throughout NASA centers, and Stennis will host emergency operations personnel from those facilities for a November training session.

The goal is to provide a real-time common operating picture for responders, so breakdowns in communication and gaps in knowledge will not hamper emergency and/or disaster response.

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