Our Mapping for Emergencies (MfE) service supports the resilience community and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year at no cost to the user. Quick access to reactive geospatial support at any time, including outside normal working-hours is a key feature of MfE.
We’ve been running MfE for over twenty years and been called into action many times over that period. We’re often supporting localised responses to major incidents which occur at very short notice and are generally short-term. Recent examples include Toddbrook Reservoir and heavy snowfall in Cumbria.
On 1 August 2019, a major incident was declared at Toddbrook Reservoir in Derbyshire. Several days of heavy rain had resulted in high volumes of water flowing over the spillway, partially dislodging concrete slabs.
Spillways are structures that either form part of a dam, or are found just beside one. They are used, when a reservoir is full, to pass floodwater safely, and in a controlled way, over a dam, around it or through it.
The beast from the east dominated headlines this month, with snow causing traffic issues, school closures and disruption across the country. In Cumbria, the depth of the snow and challenging terrain resulted in significant issues accessing some communities. Cumbria’s multi-agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (SCG), made up of partner agencies, secured military assistance to help access the most isolated communities, many of which had been cut off from all supplies for five days. We were asked to assist the SCG under Mapping for Emergencies (MFE).
One of our technical consultants, Kevin Topping, knows the power of geospatial in these situations only too well. Since joining OS last autumn, Kevin has been working with local resilience teams across England and Wales, showing how geospatial data can help in emergency planning. He ensures that authorities are aware of the data available under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) and how to best make use of it, including calling for extra assistance from OS under MFE.