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NLT Announces FEMA Contract and Collaboration With Planet

New Light Technologies (NLT), a specialist in integrated science, technology, and mission support, has been awarded a 5-year contract with the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) to enhance the delivery of training and exercises through the development and integration of new web-based mapping, geospatial, and analytical capabilities.

The CDP is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and provides advanced hands-on all-hazards training to emergency responders from across federal, state, local, tribal, territorial governments, as well as international and private sector organizations on a fee for service basis.

NLT’s support will enable the center to accelerate modernization and enhance training capacity to prepare the nation for the most challenging threats.

Located in Anniston, Alabama, the CDP offers unique federally chartered facilities for training responders for real-world incidents involving chemical, biological, explosive, radiological, and other hazardous materials. At its Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological Training Facility (COBRATF), the center offers the only civilian training program for toxic chemical agents and biological materials. The Advanced Responder Training Complex (ARTC) prepares responders for a range of man-made and natural hazards in urban and common community settings. The Noble Training Facility is the only US hospital offering disaster training for healthcare professionals including exercise and simulation areas, an emergency operations center, clinical ward, and an isolation ward for ‘patients’ with highly infectious diseases.

In support of the contract, NLT will develop and host an interoperable cloud-based platform to deliver online mapping and visualization tools that enable highly interactive multi-user exercise and simulation capabilities for CDP instructors and students for the first time.

“Modern web, geospatial, and data visualization software enables us to see the world and phenomena in three dimensions and in real-time. By integrating these capabilities, the CDP will be able to develop more realistic exercises and provide responders a range of new tools to understand dynamic threats as they unfold over time and space,” says NLT Program Manager Rob Pitts.

NLT has also announced a collaboration with Planet, a provider of near-daily high-resolution data and insights about Earth, to provide FEMA with imagery to support enhanced situational awareness for effective disaster response.

Emergency managers require up-to-date information throughout the lifecycle of an incident on the conditions of impacted communities in order to make decisions about where and how to respond. Planet’s high-cadence and high-resolution satellite monitoring capabilities and image archive can provide ongoing regional coverage, enabling disaster risk mitigation, rapid response, and informed recovery.

Through this collaboration, NLT works directly with FEMA to integrate Planet’s near-daily PlanetScope imagery into its disaster response program to assess damages and plan recovery following incidents such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Working together, Planet and NLT rapidly deliver imagery through API and cloud-based platforms to streamline data access and integration with disaster response systems and commercial software platforms such as ESRI and Google Earth Engine.

“We are happy to be partnering with New Light Technologies and FEMA to provide critical information for natural disaster response and resilience efforts,” said Nelson Imade, Planet Federal Account Executive. “Our satellites keep a watchful eye over our planet, equipping our partners to be able to respond to and prepare for disasters more quickly, helping to save lives and mitigate economic impact.”

The NLT team utilized PlanetScope to evaluate predictive deep learning models of tornado damage, examine the impacts of the New Waverly floods in Texas, and conduct visual assessments of infrastructure damage caused by winter storms. Planet’s SkySat satellites have also been employed by FEMA on a tasking basis to gain enhanced high-resolution insights to complement the near-daily datasets. This advanced visual coverage supports the organization’s ability to keep impacted communities safe and informed.

Through its extensive fleet of earth observation satellites, Planet offers near-daily images of every terrestrial location on Earth, supporting a robust dataset of global change. This data is particularly useful for disaster management as evaluators can gain a before-and-after look at key regions within 24 hours of catastrophic events and effectively target relief efforts. Through Planet’s archive imagery dating back to 2009, this time series data will also support FEMA’s ability to mitigate risk and plan for climate resilience and adaptation, revealing regional patterns and global change.

Serving FEMA aligns with Planet’s continued growth and long-term mission to support global communities by revealing near-daily global change. Earlier this year, Planet entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV, a special purpose acquisition company, to become a publicly-traded company. As it joins the public market, Planet will become a public benefit corporation (PBC), in which its mission will be encoded into its corporate DNA, obligating Planet’s directors to stay true to their mission as part of their fiduciary duty to their stockholders. Planet’s public benefit purpose is: “To accelerate humanity to a more sustainable, secure and prosperous world by illuminating environmental and social change.”

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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