Editor’s note: During public emergencies, quick response and recovery is critical. That’s why forward-thinking organizations are investing in tools to help them prepare for situations in advance, including mapping technology. Read more about the six ways Maps are Going Google.
Over the thousands of years people have lived in cities, we’ve developed sophisticated infrastructure to keep things humming. Generally, we’ve gotten pretty good at creating safe places where people can work and live. So when it comes to running cities in the year 2014, what could go wrong? Rolling blackouts, spikes in population, and natural disasters drive home one very important point: We can’t control the unexpected. We can, however, plan for it.
Take Pedro Junqueira, CEO and Chief Operating Officer of the Center of Operations (COR) in Rio de Janeiro. As Brazil’s second-largest city gets ready to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Pedro needs to keep this vibrant city safe and running smoothly. He heads a team of 400 people who constantly monitor the city’s activities — while integrating the efforts of nearly 90,000 employees from 30 agencies, including the Mayor’s Office and the Municipal Guard.
With all of these different teams working together to minimize public risk, it’s crucial that communication be efficient. To gain a complete real-time picture of what’s happening, Pedro and his team are implementing maps to visualize information from various organizations and present it on a screen in the command center.
Like Pedro, government and business leaders are tapping into the richness that real-time location data can bring to operations. From the Red Cross to Florida Power and Light Company, a growing number of organizations are using maps as part of a solution to:
- Spot potential crises, alert citizens to possible danger, and keep emergencies from becoming disasters.
- Provide the public with up-to-date, critical information, such as evacuation plans, road closures, and shelter locations.
- Coordinate rescue and relief efforts by seeing up-to-date status of teams, volunteers and citizens.
- Verify employee whereabouts in affected areas and more efficiently communicate with remote workers.
Preparedness starts with having a game plan everyone understands and can implement quickly. Today, corporations, small businesses, and municipal governments have access to practical map solutions that can ease their day-to-day operations and help them run better. We can’t control the weather or prevent every single crisis, but we can take measures to plan for the unexpected.