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In the aftermath of the EF3 tornadoes that destroyed or damaged over 200 homes, including South Lincoln School, State Rep. Pat Marsh recognized the technology available at the state and local levels to assist the recovery effort.
Marsh knew the importance of aerial photography and coordinated the resources of the Aerial Surveys Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Tennessee Emergency Management Association with the Lincoln County EMA and Lincoln County Tax Assessor Paul Braden to obtain aerial photography of the affected area.
Marsh knew that G-Squared, a Fayetteville-based photogrammetry firm, has earned a stellar reputation for providing rapid response immediately following spring 2010 and 2011 natural disasters in Tennessee and Alabama. In May 2010, G-Squared provided rapid response aerial photo coverage of the flooded communities of Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Goodlettsville and Hendersonville. In 2011, the firm provided rapid response in the wake of EF4 tornadoes in several Alabama counties.
Lindsey Galyen, owner of G-Squared, offered to process the TDOT-acquired digital photography at no cost to the state or the county to produce a high-resolution record of the destruction.
G-Squared was in the process of providing its annual update of the Tuscaloosa County, Ala., base map when the Lincoln County disaster occurred. Doster McMullen, Tax Assessor of Tuscaloosa County, told Galyen to suspend work on Tuscaloosa’s mapping efforts in order to produce the Lincoln County photographs as quickly as possible. McMullen recognized the importance of G-Squared’s efforts to document Tuscaloosa County’s severe destruction in 2011 and knew how Lincoln County and Tennessee officials and landowners would benefit from the aerial imagery for damage assessment, to document insurance claims and request federal assistance.
G-Squared delivered high-resolution images to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Lincoln County Tax Assessor and Lincoln County EMA. The images allow the officials and crews to zoom in to the photos and see areas of damage that may not be as obvious on the ground. The tornado tracks can be determined not only by the obvious personal destruction of residents’ property and homes but also the destruction of the wooded areas and fields littered with debris.
“It is easy to underestimate the level of damage and destruction when the storm occurs. Rapid Response Aerial Imagery has been proven to aid state and federal agencies in proper documentation and storm damage assessment that assists in monetary compensation for the community and the property owners,” said Galyen.
To facilitate damage assessment, G-Squared built a web portal (www.gsqmap.com/tornado/) containing before and after images of the tornado path.
G-Squared was established in January 1999. G-Squared’s clients include engineering firms, universities, municipalities and counties across the Southeast. All production work is performed at their 5,000-square-foot production facility at 20 Ardmore Highway, Fayetteville.