Houston, we have a problem

Al the gator wading it out in SW Houston

It’s hard to watch the destructive progress of Hurricane Harvey from afar. Harder still to receive intermittent dispatches from our peers, colleagues and friends who are suffering through the flood… and not to have more immediate and direct means of providing support. One of our colleagues sent pictures of the alligator he and his dogs observed with exasperated bemusement in front of his house yesterday. ¬†Today the animal faere has included an abundance of snakes, toads and “cycling balls of hydrophobic fire ants” bobbing down the stream running where there was a street just 20 hours ago.

Another friend has lost Internet and any other means of communication besides his cell phone which he uses with discretion to preserve battery power in the absence of electricity to re-charge. He’s asked us to watch stream gauges in the vicinity of his neighborhood to help with evacuation decision-making and planning. The request was met with satisfaction here in Portland – a small way to help. We threw together a flow in our¬†nTendril software — it pulls in in USGS stream gauge data and send us alerts as levels change from a watch list of particular gauges. We are now relaying updates, fingers crossed between.

Our crew is on a volunteer list with local agencies working on storm support. Please feel free to email or call (503-235-3579 if you are aware of people or organizations that might benefit from GIS support during response or recovery efforts.

For fellow GIS practitioners, please consider adding yourselves to the volunteer program available through GIS Corps!

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