Jan 22, 2010 9:46 PM by David Ortiviz

Puebloan will help coordinate relief efforts in Haiti

A Pueblo man who's an expert in digital mapping and analyzing satellite images will be lending his expertise to help the relief effort in Haiti. Chris Markuson, the Geographic Information Systems Director for Pueblo County, will volunteer for two weeks at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Markuson was one of four GIS experts selected from a number of volunteers across the country. "I was honored and really excited to be accepted," said Markuson.

During his time at the U.N., Markuson will use satellite and online technology to help coordinate relief efforts on the ground in Haiti. "It sounds pretty simple, but in a disaster area like Haiti, there are very few streets you can drive through," said Markuson.

Another important component for Markuson and his colleagues is to figure out how many people are in a certain geographic area, so they can send adequate supplies.

Markuson says GIS technology wasn't available during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "During Hurricane Katrina, too many supplies were brought to the wrong location, and too few were brought to the places they were actually needed," said Markuson.

Markuson is using vacation time from his job, to volunteer at the U.N. He plans to start work on Tuesday. "This is just such a major incident and it's so sad to see the things that are going on in Haiti," said Markuson. "Any little thing that I can do to help, I'm more than happy to do it," he added.


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