April 2, 2008

Flickr Group Issues

Can anyone assist here?

I have a flickr account. I've uploaded photos to my account.

I can see the WRIT 4662W page in flickr.

How do I get my photos to the 4662 page?


March 2, 2008

More I-35W Bridge Info: MPCA Conference

This past Wednesday and Thursday (2/26-27) I had the opportunity to attend the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Air, Water, and Waste Environmental Conference. Three presentations were offered that included information pertinent to our work in this class. What follows are my notes, and MS Power Point files for all are supposed to be online for every presentation within a matter of days.

Continue reading "More I-35W Bridge Info: MPCA Conference" »

February 20, 2008

35W Bridge Model from U of MN

The University was contracted to construct a model of the previous 35W bridge to be used in the NTSB investigation. Reports about the model aired on local new shows last night in addition to reports about the debate in the state legislature over transportation funding.

MODEL OF FORMER I-35W BRIDGE, built by civil engineering junior Rachel Gaulke, is being sent to Washington, D.C. today. The 1/200th-scale model will be used by engineers at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), for various presentations to help visualize and explain information related to the bridge collapse and its causes. NTSB contracted the U to produce the model because of its familiarity with the bridge. The budget for the model was about $6,000, including labor and materials. Read the news release and watch the video on the construction and presentation of the bridge model.

February 18, 2008

Article in Sunday's Star Tribune (2/17)

So, I was reading the Star Tribune on Sunday and saw this article about the kids on the schoolbus and life after the 35W bridge collapse. I was really touched by it. The article title (which suits well) is "One day at a time for Waite House kids". I could not imagine what they went through. Nonetheless, this article is full of hope.

I also added it to our

NOTE: You may or may not be able to access the URL/web address via Star Tribune site. I was able to access it without logging in the first time. Thereafter, it asked me to log in.

February 10, 2008

Comcare - Informed Emergency Response

Check out this video if you get a chance -

Interesting tie-ins to our discussions on open communication...and the 35W collapse.
Part of a Clinical/Public Health Informatics course presentation last week.

February 9, 2008

I-35W Bridge Presentation

This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation about MN/DOT's Photogrammetry Unit response to the bridge collapse. A summary of the presentation is below. This may sound dry, and I may be biased by profession, but there were some great technical achievements and a good anecdote or two as well.

Presenters: Pete Jenkins and Dan Ross, MN/DOT; and Miles Strain, AeroMetric. AeroMetric is a major private aerial photography and mapping firm that maintains strong partnerships with MN/DOT and many other governments and agencies at all levels, and is a recognized leader in the field.

At 6:05pm 8/1/07, bridge #9340, the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River, collapsed. By 7:30pm, AeroMetric had contacted MN/DOT to offer all of it's capabilities in generating new imagery for the emergency response and rebuild efforts. Around the same time, Gov. Tim Pawlenty had publicly stated that the bridge would be rebuilt as soon as possible, and Pete Jenkins at MN/DOT had received authorization for all necessary action and expenditure to facilitate the rebuild effort. MN/DOT and AeroMetric personnel met and established a contract by handshake early on the morning of 8/2.

By approx. 2pm on 8/2, operating for MN/DOT, AeroMetric's helicopter was over the site and took over 300 high-quality digital aerial photographs from every possible angle of the site. Incident Command including airspace authority was not 100% unified at that time, and upon landing, AeroMetric's photographer and pilot were briefly detained by State Patrol officers who had followed and landed behind them in another helicopter. The proper authority was established in fairly short order and the crew was released and delivered the photos, which were rapidly put to use by all parties involved in the response.

By 8/3, the FBI, NTSB, and others were all involved on site in Minneapolis, placing additional demands on coordination and making physical and data security a greater factor for all responders. A second mission by airplane took extremely high-resolution photography and LIDAR scans, and flew directly to a processing facility in Ohio to expedite completion. This photography and the LIDAR data enabled MN/DOT and federal agencies to generate an incredibly high-accuracy three-dimensional model of the terrain. The photos and model were essential to the emergency workers, cleanup crews, and rebuild teams alike. Additional flights continued over the following weeks, providing frequent updates on the changing ground conditions.

There is much more, but I'll cut the technical review short in the context of this blog. In addition to the data itself, the raw speed of the response for this highly technical work and the ability to coordinate the efforts of AeroMetric and multiple layers of government was very impressive. I'd also like to point out that, as you may recall, rebuild plans were finalized and a bid awarded faster than just about anyone expected (mid September) - this work conducted by the Photogrammetry Unit and AeroMetric was pivotal in making that possible.

Unfortunately, the highest resolution photos are not publicly available at this time due to ongoing investigations by the FBI and NTSB. MN/DOT's official bridge website contains downsampled versions of much of this data, as well as more information about the process. A link to the presentation itself (.ppt) should be online soon, and I will update this blog when that goes online.