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Case Study: Emergency Information Management System

When the President of the United States declares an area (state, county) a national disaster, the Federal Response Plan (FRP) is put into motion. The FRP is composed of twelve federal agencies, each with its own domain area of expertise. FEMA collects inputs from the other agencies, and combines and disseminates all information concerning the disaster. Collecting, clarifying, and disseminating information has been a manual process, producing presentation materials and reports.

Nautilus Systems conducted a requirements analysis for FEMA to provide a collaborative means of collecting, consolidating, and disseminating critical information concerning a disaster. Nautilus Systems collected requirements at four separate Disaster Field Offices (DFOs) and at Response and Recovery, Mitigation, and Information Technologies Support organizations at FEMA Headquarters. A facilitator approach was used to create interactive sessions for the requirements collection at the DFO level. This approach provided quicker identification of processes, data sources, and workflow patterns.

The identified requirements were then matched to the Federal Response Plan directives. The data requirements and their sources were mapped to support the disaster response, recovery, and mitigation phases of disaster management. Products (reports , narratives, maps, and tabular reports) generated from this information was identified and cataloged for process documentation.

Nautilus Systems developed and successfully deployed an initial operating capability of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Information Management System (EIMS). EIMS delivered access to geographic information and automated situation reports through several major disasters.

The deployed systems support connectivity to the FEMA WAN backbone and to state and local services. It also provides for automated generation and distribution of Situation Reports (SitReps), automated document management of all local reports and correspondence, scrubbed geographic information system (GIS) data, and a remote GIS mapping capability. The system also automates aerial photo reconnaissance requests, verifying authorization, availability, and analysis requirements.


The FEMA EIMS facilitates rapid building and maintenance of disaster operations plans, and provides consistent, integrated command (decision support), control (logistics management), and communication (information dissemination) throughout all phases of disaster management. The remote GIS capability provides the ability to support multiple disasters with a central GIS team, conserving scarce resources.

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