Mayor Unveils Online Mapping Tool for Disasters

Gaylord Opryland Hotel on May 5, 2010. (photo by George Hornal/TDOT)

Gaylord Opryland Hotel on May 5, 2010. (photo by George Hornal/TDOT)

In response to the historic flooding in Nashville two years ago, Metro Government has unveiled an online mapping tool to help residents find their way around during a disaster. City officials believe it could be a national model.

The Nashville Emergency Response Viewing Engine – called NERVE for short – maps out road closures, food distribution centers and emergency shelters.

Mayor Karl Dean walked reporters through how to use it.

“Here we have pulled up directions to a nearby shelter. They take road closures into account.”

Such information was available in May of 2010, but Dean says it wasn’t in a user-friendly format.

The online tool was developed by the Metro Planning Department, which also created an internal version that tracks river levels. Nashville officials say they’ve been in discussions with other cities interested in creating their own disaster mapping software.

The NERVE website is only updated when an actual emergency is in progress. A version for smart phones and iPads is due out later this year.

Dean Says Flood Cleanup Remains Incomplete

Nashville non-profits and city officials are patting themselves on the back for how much has happened to overcome the flood, which caused more than a billion dollars in damage. Some programs are now winding down.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee collected more than $15 million after the flood, much of it from benefit concerts by Garth Brooks. All that money, according to the organization, has either been spent or earmarked. And at the end of May, the so-called Flood Recovery Network will cease to exist.

The United Way’s local president – Eric Dewey – says Nashville has accomplished in two years what might take another city five.

“What we’ve done as a community really is something marvelous.”

Mayor Dean says he – too – is proud of the city. But he says many remain in need.

“We recently got two new applications for help with housing, so I don’t think there’s going to be a definitive moment where we can say ‘we’re done,’ because I don’t think we are.”

One of the slower responses has been the buyout program for homes that are in floodways. In the first batch of roughly 300, only a third have actually been torn down.

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