GLOUCESTER COUNTY, NJ — Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, presented Gloucester County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) with Esri’s Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award on Monday, county officials announced.

Selected from over 300,000 eligible candidates, Gloucester County OEM received the award for its innovative application of mapping and analytics technology, as well as thought leadership in the field of emergency management.

“The Gloucester County Office of Emergency Management has demonstrated impressive work with Geographic Information Systems,” Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said. “This work is innovating the way we respond to emergencies. They’ve implemented several map centric solutions including our damage assessment platform.”

Joe Ward leads GIS intelligence for Gloucester County OEM in conjunction with the planning department and Gloucester County Emergency Management Division. Ward has upgraded Gloucester County’s GIS capabilities and our drone project which can assess emergencies and their impact in real-time.

This platform allows those on the front lines to use a survey-based application, collection information regarding wide-area damage, and submit that information directly to Gloucester County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). From there, decision makers are able to view the impact of any specific area within the county. This is accomplished through a Dashboard viewer within the EOC.

“The GIS intelligence allows us to safely assess the damage across our County during emergencies, so we can act swiftly and respond efficiently,” Gloucester County Freeholder Dan Christy, liaison to the Office of Emergency Management, said. “We have utilized GIS in our COVID response efforts as well. This technology allows us to track cases, map-out testing sites and organize our data in a visual format.”

This year’s Esri User Conference was the world’s largest, virtual GIS event. Gloucester County OEM was one of over 180 organizations in areas such as commercial industry, defense, transportation, nonprofit work, telecommunications, and government to be honored.

This article originally appeared on the West Deptford Patch