University Students Create Spatial Analysis Tools to Help Cities Do More with Data

In this installment of the Innovation of the Month series (see last month's story here), we explore the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Urban Spatial Analytics (MUSA) Practicum and how the graduate students in the program work with city officials to develop data science tools that their clients can use to determine how best to use their resources. The program is led by Professor Ken Steif along with Karl Dailey and Michael Fichman.

MetroLab’s Executive Director Ben Levine sat down with Professor Steif and some of the program’s graduate students to learn more.

Will Your Cell Service Work if a Hurricane Rolls Through the Coast, and Will It Be Enough?

(TNS) — In the 13 years since Hurricane Katrina hit South Mississippi, much has changed.

A quick drive down U.S. 90 is a constant reminder of the past — the things that are new and that have been rebuilt and the places that are memories of life before the storm.

One of the things that changed significantly besides the landscape is technology. Facebook was in its infancy in 2005, having been launched the year before the storm, and most social media users were using MySpace. It would also be another two years before Apple released the iPhone and helped to usher in the era of smartphones and tablets.

California Wildfire Survivor Bills Pass Senate Committee

Four bills sponsored by the California Department of Insurance that the department believes will strengthen consumer protections for wildfire survivors have passed the Senate Insurance Committee with unanimous, bipartisan votes.

Assembly Bill 1772 would extend the amount of time a home or business owner has to rebuild an insured property from two to three years after a declared wildfire emergency and receive the full replacement costs to which they are entitled.

2014 Napa Quake Could be Linked to Groundwater Changes, Study Shows

Research suggests the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked California wine country in 2014 may have been caused by an expansion of Earth’s crust because of seasonally receding groundwater under the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

The vineyard-filled valleys flank the West Napa Fault, which produced the quake that killed one person, injured several hundred and caused more than $500 million in losses.

Reader Q&A with Gary Sigrist: 5 Layers of School Safety

As campus security industry professionals have seen, particularly in the last few months, there isn’t just one thing schools can do to keep their students and faculty safe. School safety is a multi-layered approach that involves participation from all members of a school’s community.

Last month, Campus Safety hosted a webinar led by Gary Sigrist, a retired school district safety director and current CEO and president of Safeguard Risk Solutions, to discuss the different layers of security needed in schools to protect students and staff from violence.

WCRIB: California Workers’ Comp Written Premium to be Down Again This Year

Lower workers’ compensation rates in California will bring down written premium once again this year, according to a forecast from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.

That revelation is expected in a full report on the state of California’s workers’ comp system is due out in about a week, but David Bellusci, WCIRB executive vice president and chief actuary, gave a rundown of what to expect during the group’s annual conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Employers Waking Up to Costs of Employees Falling Asleep on the Job

An employer with 1,000 employees can expect to lose more than $1 million each year in missed workdays, lower productivity and increased healthcare due to employee fatigue, according to a new survey.

About one-third of all employers report employee injuries and near-misses due to worker fatigue, the National Safety Council survey also found. Half said they have had employees fall asleep on the job.

Three Emerging Technologies with Life-Saving Potential

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 was the most expensive year on record for disasters in the U.S., estimating $306 billion in total damage. The FBI also reported 2017 as having the most incidents and the most people killed in any one year by active shooters.

With this rise in crises across the United States, data and technology have an increasingly important role in improving emergency management departments across the country. Approximately 240 million calls are made to 911 in the United States each year, with at least 80 percent coming from wireless devices, yet many emergency management systems still operate on legacy systems made for wireline phones. As a result, people in need are unable to easily share precise locations or send media messages to responders, making emergency communication and resource coordination more costly and difficult.

Oregon Earthquake Simulation Reveals Dangers

Researchers at Oregon State University say bridges and roads in the northwestern resort city of Seaside should be prioritized for improvement after a simulation discovered they would have higher mortality rates in an earthquake and tsunami.

Researchers found that the bridge on Broadway Street over Neawanna Creek would result in the most fatalities, The Daily Astorian reported.

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