January 2022 Technology Work Group Notes

Good afternoon,

The following items were covered at the January 2022 UASI Technology Work Group meeting:

  • Technology Administrators gave updates on their systems.
    • Johnson is currently at the Jetty User Group meeting at TRG’s offices in Cypress. They are demoing new features and other improvements, and he will have more information in February. The EPI Systems Needs Assessment should be resuming soon.
    • Pacheco advised that permissions for Partial Admins (Sentinels) have been adjusted to facilitate permissions and user audits. The ArcGIS Plugin is installed and undergoing testing. A training schedule has been published and sent out to the region, to include both basic user and administrator trainings.
    • Pacheco will be working with TDEM to get more information on TDEM’s Resource Request Web Form (used by school districts, hospitals, and other groups that lack WebEOC access for submitting STARs). For now this form is only for COVID-related requests but it could be expanded in the future.
    • Alvis reported that the GIS Work Group is still soliciting input on its survey (https://houstonuasi.com/regional-gis-work-group-survey/). The GIS Work Group met after the Tech meeting ended, and the plan was to talk through projects for the 2022 calendar year.
    • Feldman briefed the group on updates to the Haystax mini-maps on Asset pages (which will later be added to the larger system map). He also informed the group that he is participating in a DPS pilot to use ESRI’s Survey123 app for state CI/KR data collection.
  • Pacheco briefed the group on the updated WebEOC Governance Document. Extraneous information has been removed and updates were made to account for changes since the last revision. The final draft can be accessed online at the link above, and barring any further comments or concerns will be submitted for approval by RCC at its March meeting.
  • Earlier this month, Jonathan Wiggins met with chairs of work groups under RCC to identify projects that work groups can tackle during the current calendar year, with a specific focus on Strategic Plan Implementation Steps or items cataloged as gaps in the SPR. The Technology Work Group has three items. Individuals interested in assisting with any of these should reach out to the project leads identified below.
    • In order to support regional situational awareness and common operating pictures (especially in light of current technological capabilities), a catalog of available data sources is needed, along with efforts to standardize reporting and allow sharing of data between jurisdictions via automated processes. Erik Schenk from City of Sugar Land IT will take the lead on this effort.
    • As mentioned at previous meetings, a catalog of technology systems in use in the region (grant-funded or otherwise) is already in development. A small group, led by Gabe Lavine, is currently documenting these systems in a Microsoft Teams channel. Anyone else who wishes to contribute should reach out to Gabe for access.
    • In the spirit of the 2022 WebEOC Training Calendar that was already announced, the Work Group should develop a list of technology trainings available during the year, to include potentially a standing tech training time with rotating topics, and developing new trainings for items that lack training options. This effort will be done in partnership with the Training and Exercise Work Group. Ian Feldman will facilitate this process.
  • Feldman briefed the group on FEMA’s new National Resource Hub, which takes three existing FEMA technologies and hosts them for free under a single brand. FEMA’s goal with these systems is to further encourage adoption of common terminology and typing of resources and personnel to support emergency response and mutual aid. The three systems included are OneResponder (a personnel credentialing system which supports the new EMPG requirements for credentialing emergency management personnel), the Resource Inventory System (based on the pre-existing IRIS, though this new implementation currently lacks the organizational granularity and some of the permissions present in the previous system), and the Resource Typing Library Tool (which was previously integrated into IRIS and is now integrated into RIS).
    • The region had previously explored a regional resource inventory tool, but ran into issues related to hosting costs. The NRH and RIS would seem to solve this issue, though some hurdles remain. One of those is that all items entered into RIS are visible to all other users across the country; there is no ability to restrict who sees resources. The system also does not currently support the ability to grant limited permissions to others within your organization (for example, to let your Police Department manage its resources without being able to edit Fire Department resources), but this feature could be coming back in the future.
    • The system is currently opt-in (jurisdictions must request access). There is no current FEMA or State requirement to use it for either grant-funded or regular equipment or personnel. That said, the region has needed a common system for grant-funded equipment.
    • Lavine suggested that we promote this as a regional solution to address the Resource Inventory gaps that have existed since TRRN was retired. Feldman will draft a proposal to send to RCC for consideration, and Sugar Land will create an account for their jurisdiction to further test the system. It is anticipated that as part of this process demos will be offered to other UASI committees (if requested) and regional jurisdictions.
    • Interested individuals can learn more and request access at https://preptoolkit.fema.gov/web/national-resource-hub, and FEMA is offering overview webinars, all of which are listed at https://preptoolkit.fema.gov/web/national-resource-hub/events.
  • The next meeting will be on Thursday 24 February 2022 at 1:00pm via Microsoft Teams. An agenda and call-in information will be sent closer to the meeting date.