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Virtual Alabama is Worth a Visit

May 18, 20082 mins
Business ContinuityIT Leadership

Everyone’s talking about Virtual Alabama. Well maybe not everyone, but at least the Homeland Security crowd that cares about new ways to leverage Google Earth to integrate geospatial applications, databases, and more. This is cool stuff with federal, state, and local governments getting onboard.

Government Computer News (GCN) recently ran a story on the Long Arm of Virtual Alabama. Here’s an excerpt:

Launched in November 2007 by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, the project uses Google Earth as its visualization engine and delivers data and query tools to more than 1,200 state and local officials, from county sheriffs and assessors to firefighters and health care providers. And it’s not just state and local. More than 35 federal agencies also have access to Virtual Alabama…

So how do you get there? The Virtual Alabama portal  is packed full of information, including an ability to request an account. You can even view sample imagery.

There are even blogs popping up about Virtual Alabama.

Federal Computer Week (FCW) was “Wowed by Virtual Alabama.”  Here’s a quote from them:

It is difficult these days to be really wowed by an application. We have seen so much, we often expect the unexpected. Then along comes Virtual Alabama…

So when tornadoes struck Alabama earlier this year, officials used the system to view the damage, even comparing before and after images. Officials also were able to pull in data that showed the location of potentially hazardous materials that might have been disturbed by the tornadoes.

I think this mashup is a view into the future for all of us in government and private sector emergency management. Our GIS team in Michigan is starting to do similar things, and I know other states are as well.

But my hat goes off to my friends in Alabama. Nice job for leading the pack in this area right now.

After you visit, come back and leave a comment on what you think.


Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist and author. During his distinguished career, Dan has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, including enterprise-wide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan State Government. Dan was named: "CSO of the Year," "Public Official of the Year," and a Computerworld "Premier 100 IT Leader." Dan is the co-author of the Wiley book, “Cyber Mayday and the Day After: A Leader’s Guide to Preparing, Managing and Recovering From Inevitable Business Disruptions.” Dan Lohrmann joined Presidio in November 2021 as an advisory CISO supporting mainly public sector clients. He formerly served as the Chief Strategist and Chief Security Officer for Security Mentor, Inc. Dan started his career at the National Security Agency (NSA). He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US / UK military facility. Lohrmann is on the advisory board for four university information assurance (IA) programs, including Norwich University, University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), Valparaiso University and Walsh College. Earlier in his career he authored two books - Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD For You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. Mr. Lohrmann holds a Master's Degree in Computer Science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and a Bachelor's Degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

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