February 9th 2016 - SLUG Meeting DiGISt

The 27th Quarterly Salt Lake GIS Users Group (SLUG) meeting was held on February 9, 2016, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in the Doty Education Center at the IMC Campus in Murray.  There were about 130 in attendance.

This meeting’s pizza lunch was provided by Questar, with drinks provided by Tom Toronto GIS. If you have any business contacts that would like to ‘sponsor’ a lunch by providing food and/or drinks in exchange for their advertising at the meeting, please contact Tom Toronto, SLUG Board member.


Kaitlin Barklow, SLUG Board

·         Welcome to all, thanks to Questar for the lunch and to IMC for the venue.

·         The SLUG Board is seeking a new member. If interested, contact a Board member.

·         The next SLUG meeting willl be on April 26, 2016, at Sandy City. Hope you will be able to attend!

·         We are always in need of presenters. If you would like to present, or suggest someone who you’d like to see present, please contact Neal Fraser, SLUG Board member.

Kate Smith, UGIC Board

Kate encouraged us to attend the upcoming UGIC (Utah Geographic Information Council) conference in May at Bryce Canyon (see http://ugic.info/), and also the Maps on the Hill presentation at the State Capitol (http://gis.utah.gov/signup-for-maps-on-the-hill-2016/)



Emergency Preparations at Questar

Scott Hansen, Questar Chief FERC Complicance Officer

Mark Warner, Questar Chief DOT Compliance Officer

Scott talked about the many things Questar does to plan/prepare for emergencies, especially coordinating with other utilites and the State. There is a great interdependence of the various utilities. For example: Rocky Mtn. Power has mostly switched from coal to natural gas, so if Questar was interrupted, Rocky Mtn. wouldn’t be able to generate power.  He showed maps of the major pipelines (including redundancy) coming into Utah and the Wasatch Front from other areas,  and an overview of how natural gas is extracted, processed, transported, and  delivered.

Mark previously headed up Questar’s GIS for 10 years. He showed live demos of their current GIS field software, and how their people record GPS locations for all building outlines as well as the related gas infrastructure.  This is then uploaded into their GIS and is available immediately for all to see (such as Blue-Stakers), and fully integrated in a day.  All field crews have laptops with their mapping applications for determining best locations to shut off the lines in an emergency.  See Questar's Presentation here.


Geography Humor Segment 

Ray Montgomery, SLUG Board

Ray showed a couple of short funny geography-related advertisements, “Spaghetti Mapping” and “Del-a-Where?” You can see most of the videos we’ve shown at SLUG meetings here: Geography Humor Page


Cottonwood Heights’ use of Amateur Radio Operators for Emergencies

Kevin Sato, Cottonwood Heights GIS Administrator

Kevin talked about how CHARC (Cottonwood Heights Amateur Radio Club) plays a big role in CH’s emergency operations. They hold monthly drills and form one part of the system CH has set up to have reports of damage, injury, or death in an emergency flow up through a hierachy of geographic areas to the city’s EOC. Their GIS then colors in the address points with the status of each dwelling, affording leaders a quick overview of the status of the residents. In tests they’ve conducted, this has worked very well.  Kevin's Presentation.  Cottonwood Height's Emergency Response Brochure.


UMETT (Utah Mapping Emergency Technical Team)

Kate Smith, UGIC Board

Kate talked about UMETT,  a UGIC sub-committee with the aim of enabling GIS professionals to effectively plan for and respond to emergency situations. The group discusses and seeks to implement best practices for effective emergency management including developing procedures, participating in training, sharing data and maps, and collaborating with emergency managers and responders. She also presented and discussed the “GIS in Emergency Management Top Ten”. These are the top ten specific tasks you can begin accomplishing quickly that will help you be more effective in supporting an emergency response.


IMT (Salt Lake Regional Incident Management Team)

Talsan Shulzke, UFA GIS Specialist

Talsan gave some examples of how the IMT has been deployed to assist in emergencies, such as the recent deployment to assist following flooding in Hilldale, UT. Talsan shared some insights from this experience, such as having to digitize data and acquire aerial photography in a very rapid situation, working 16 hour days. He also explained how other interested GIS users may have the opportunity to aid in future deployments.  Contact him for more info (TShulzke@ufa-slco.org)


Thank you to our presenters and our venue. If you have any ideas for a presentation or any other matter, please contact a SLUG board member.  And thanks for your interest and support!