New Orleans, Louisiana Leverages Web-based and Mobile Technology to aid in Response and Recovery Efforts
In September 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated most of New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast communities. After the hurricane, one of the City’s most important tasks involved damage assessment of the City’s 110,000 damaged commercial and residential buildings. Although inspecting these structures was going to be a daunting task, officials in the Department of Safety and Permits had one important advantage—all of the critical building, permit, and other land information data were intact since the data was stored off-site in the Accela Automation database.
Working collaboratively with the City, Accela enhanced the application to facilitate recovery activities including information gathering, mobile inspections of damaged buildings, and reporting to the Mayor’s office, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Automating the damage assessment process expedited the Department’s work tremendously. Inspectors are moving about five times faster than they could with a paper-based system and Result are uploaded daily to provide city officials with immediate reporting. In addition, color-coding of damage (red, yellow, green) is mapped automatically by the system, providing important visual analysis of most heavily damaged areas.