[Geowanking] Gulf Oil Spill Disaster GIS data locked behind BP Corporate Firewall

P Kishor punk.kish at gmail.com
Tue Jun 15 15:45:24 PDT 2010

On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM, Rich Gibson <rich.gibson at gmail.com> wrote:
> Ian,
> The key lesson of open geospatial data is that we don't know what creative
> things people will do with open data.
> Out of respect for you I will try and soften this, but your writing 'there's
> nothing you can 'do' with it to change the state of affairs' represents a
> lack of cluefulness on your part.

>From his posts here, and from what I have learned of Urban Mapping, I
think Ian is a great guy, far from clueless, so I would love to hear
why he said there is nothing one can do with open data. I do agree
with Rich... the beauty of open data is that we don't know what can be
done with data in the future. It is open to all sorts of
possibilities, all sorts of creative applications. It is this
serendipitous use that makes open so compelling.

> Rich
> On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 11:34 AM, Ian White <ian at urbanmapping.com> wrote:
>> you are kidding, right? if there was ever a need for open geospatial data,
>> this is most definitely not it. much as it would be nice to have, there's
>> nothing you can 'do' with it to change the state of affairs. contrast this
>> with access to transit, crime, base map, environment, etc........
>> ==
>> Ian White :: Urban Mapping Inc
>> 690 Fifth Street Suite 200 :: San Francisco CA 94107
>> T.415.946.8170 :: F.866.385.8266 :: urbanmapping.com/blog
>> On 15 Jun 2010, at 11:15, gis pundit wrote:
>> This is very disturbing. If ever there was a need for open geospatial
>> data, this is it.
>> I wonder what possessed the Federal & State Agencies to agree to upload
>> their only copies of the location data their responders are collecting in
>> the field to a BP-controlled GIS server?
>> If it wasn't so illegal, I'd say that BP corporate firewall was just
>> begging for a few good hackers to "fix" this problem  :)
>> >-------- Original Message --------
>> >Subject:        FW: Letter on BP Oil Spill GIS Appears, Disappears
>> >Date:   Tue, 15 Jun 2010 09:17:14 -0400
>> >TO:     NWCG GIS Task Group
>> >
>> >FYI
>> >
>> > >http://www.scientificblogging.com/chatter_box/bp_gis_and_mysterious_vanishing_open_letter
>> >
>> >http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/54563
>> >
>> >Introduction:
>> >
>> >Andrew Stephens and Devon Humphrey, both Geographic Information Systems
>> >(GIS) professionals with 40 years combined GIS experience, were the
>> >primary architects of the GIS Unit and lab at Incident Command Post
>> >(ICP) Houma. Mr. Stephens has 20 years GIS experience, teaching GIS to
>> >organizations worldwide, and is an expert in GIS deployment, start-up,
>> >training and workflow design. Mr. Humphrey has 20 years background in
>> >Oil Spill GIS with Texas General Land Office, where he was on the
>> >development team of an award-winning oil spill GIS. He has also been an
>> >instructor since 1994 at the National Spill Control School at Texas A&M
>> >University, Corpus Christi. The ‘Spill School’ is named in the Oil
>> >Pollution Act of 1990.
>> >
>> > >**----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------**
>> >Deepwater Horizon GIS Data Concerns
>> >From: Andrew Stephens and Devon Humphrey
>> >Date: June 9, 2010
>> >Subject: BP control of GIS data
>> >
>> >To Whom It May Concern:
>> >
>> >Executive Summary
>> >
>> >This letter is being submitted to make it known that several key factors
>> >of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command
>> >Structure (ICS) are not being met in the Unified Command process of the
>> >BP Deepwater Horizon Incident. Specifically regarding the treatment of
>> >Geographic Information System (GIS) data, current configuration and
>> >process limit, or exclude completely, the flow of information about the
>> >extent and status of the disaster to government entities, emergency
>> >responders, and the public.
>> >
>> >GIS is essential to the oil spill response effort and to the recovery of
>> >public resources. Almost every map and geographic display representing
>> >the Deepwater Horizon Incident is sourced by GIS data. Current GIS
>> >management processes indicate that BP is treating GIS data as
>> >proprietary information, and these data are currently being stored
>> >behind the BP corporate firewall. It is our understanding that public
>> >agencies, for example, The US Fish and Wildlife Service and The
>> >Louisiana National Guard, are literally submitting the only copy of
>> >agency field data, via wireless-enabled mobile GPS devices, directly to
>> >a BP GIS server behind the corporate firewall in Houston. Examples of
>> >these data are; dead bird and fish locations with photos, boom
>> >placement, engineered construction barriers, including dates, and other
>> >descriptive information and photos.
>> >
>> >State Emergency Operation Center (EOC) staff, Parish EOC staff, and
>> >other Emergency Responders and Recovery Specialists do not have access
>> >to these GIS datasets, contrary to all NIMS guidance, protocols and
>> >principles.
>> >
>> >Per NIMS, redundancy of incident information is to be managed jointly,
>> >and fully accessible by the Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC), the
>> >State On Scene Coordinator (SOSC), and the Responsible Party. Technology
>> >allows implementation of this design to occur instantaneously and
>> >automatically (see attached diagram). The intent of this letter is to
>> >inform The President, the National Incident Commander, the FOSC, the
>> >SOSC, and the public, of the need to establish and enforce NIMS
>> >compliant access policies over all Deepwater Horizon oil spill GIS data.
>> >
>> >The Geospatial Intelligence Officer (GIO) and the GIS Unit Leader, who
>> >proposed NIMS-compliant GIS architecture to Unified Command, and
>> >supported access to these GIS data, have been removed from the Houma ICP
>> >by BP IT department managers.
>> >
>> <ATT00001..txt>
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Puneet Kishor http://www.punkish.org
Carbon Model http://carbonmodel.org
Charter Member, Open Source Geospatial Foundation http://www.osgeo.org
Science Commons Fellow, http://sciencecommons.org/about/whoweare/kishor
Nelson Institute, UW-Madison http://www.nelson.wisc.edu
Assertions are politics; backing up assertions with evidence is science

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