Depiction – Decision Support for Crisis Mapping

I got word from my colleague Jim Benson at Modus Cooperandi that Depiction just launched. Depiction is a GIS based simulation (what-if-mapping) tool that can quickly building data visualizations and run them through a variety of scenarios using the following three easy steps:


  • Location: Select a geographic area, then download or import satellite images, street maps, digital images, spreadsheets, shape files, or even live reports.
  • Integration: Your data immediately becomes interactive, influencing the behavior of other elements. You can add, edit, or even create new elements and make rules to govern the interactions between elements in your Depiction.
  • Exploration: Organize and display data where and when you want it. Measure, count, annotate and more.

I really like the ideas that this platform brings together: crisis mapping, simulation and decision support. Being able to play out what-if scenarios is key to making more informed decisions. For example, this interactive component allows users to identify the best route for an evacuation or the delivery of relief supplies should the primary route become inaccessible.  The platform can also receive live reports via email and have them mapped in real time.  I hope the developers will add an SMS component. In any case, Depiction brings crisis mapping closer to serious gaming.

One scenario the group makes available for free trial purposes is a tsunami hitting India. “Depiction provides a what-if scenario map to explore the functionality of the platform. The scenario shows imagery and data for Nagapatnam, India, including a what-if look at a 15-foot tsunami inundation. All of the data in this tsunami scenario is freely available from the internet.”


Finally, I also like the fact that their tutorials are all video based, far more compelling than a text-based manual.

Patrick Philippe Meier

3 responses to “Depiction – Decision Support for Crisis Mapping

  1. Patrick,

    Thank you for the excellent write up.

    You always amaze me. 🙂


  2. Patrick, this is really neat! I used to work for a small critical infrastructure preparedness firm that was based on a program coming out of one of the national laboratories, not nearly as sophisticated as some of these technologies. Many of the most recent ones coming out now are really sophisticated. I’m enjoying reading about all of them. Thanks!

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