California Earthquake Clearinghouse information sharing efforts recognized as a Best Practice

The California Earthquake Clearinghouse is very pleased to announce that our information sharing efforts are recognized as a Best Practice by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, Geospatial Management Office, in their Geospatial Concept of Operations. The citation states “The homeland security and defense community has recognized your effort and contributions as geospatial best practices. A best practice represents a geospatial method, technique, capability or resource that provides superior support to the mission; and is used by the geospatial community as a benchmark for success. An overview of your tremendous efforts have been included on the Homeland Security Geospatial Concept of Operations community website.”

More information:

2015 Clearinghouse Exercise After Action Report Available

The California Earthquake Clearinghouse participated in the 2015 National Level Exercise (NLE) that used the ShakeOut Scenario of a M7.8 earthquake on the Southern San Andreas Fault. The California Earthquake Clearinghouse used the 2015 NLE as an operational exercise to foster inter-agency data collection and collaboration among Clearinghouse partners, with an ultimate goal of developing an information collection plan for earthquakes. While the National Level Exercise focused on the southern California region, the Clearinghouse defined a much smaller area of interest in the Cajon Pass Area.

For more information, view the exercise page and the After Action Report / Improvement Plan.

M5.1 La Habra EQ – SpotOnResponse Map

The Clearinghouse has activated a low-level virtual Clearinghouse in response to the March 28, M5.1 La Habra EQ in Southern California. As part of this activation, SpotOnResponse, is a situational awareness tool that helps researchers in the field communicate with the Clearinghouse and first responders, is also activated. The SpotOnResponse map below contains data and observations related to the March 28, M5.1 La Habra EQ in Southern California. Scroll down for more information about how to get started with SpotOnResponse. The map functionality is still a work-in-progress–if you have problems using SpotOnResponse, please send a message to

Getting Started with SpotOnResponse

SpotOnResponse is a web based application and will run on any web browser. There may be slight differences in appearance due to each browser. (The screenshots below are from Google Chrome)

This overview is broken down into three sections. Use the links below to jump to the desired section.
Logging In
Area of Interest and Setting Location
Creating a point of action or Responding to an Incident

Logging In

The login page ( is shown below. If you already have a username and password that you used in the last Clearinghouse ShakeOut exercise, now would be the time to login. If you do not have one yet, click “Click here to register for access” to create an account. You will be prompted to enter a project code, please enter userClearHouse, then click “Check Code” to proceed to fill out your user information.
login page
There are a few terms that need to be defined:

  • Area of Interest – the area around the user where Incidents will be shown
  • Incident – an event/situation that a user feels should be investigated or brought to attention
  • Update – for any Incident, additional information or comments can be associated with the Incident

listing page
Once logged in, the first page will be the listing page. This is the main page for SpotOnResponse. There are a few things to point out on this page:
Each number corresponds with the number on the figure above.

  1. Layers – This button controls what you see on the map. You can toggle to see team members in the area, polygons (shake maps, etc), Incidents, Alerts, Updates, Traffic, Weather, and Icons.
  2. Settings – This button will allow you to change your information on your profile or to set your location.
  3. Create New Item of Interest – This button allows for the creation of one of many types of alerts, incidents, or labels that can be placed on the map for others to check out.
  4. Center Map – This button will center the map back to the Area of Interest.
  5. Refresh – This button will refresh SpotOnResponse.

The Red and Yellow bars are in your immediate and general area, based on your Area of Interest.

Area of Interest and Setting Location

Click on the Settings button in the top left corner and select profile. The profile page is shown below.
profile page
Here you can edit your personal information along with the organization you are affiliated with. Here, the password can be changed as well. There is also a field that asks for the Area of Interest in miles. The Area of Interest (AOI) will be the area around the user on the SpotOnResponse map where they will see incidents (in this case the AOI is set for 100 miles). Anything outside the AOI will not be shown. You can always change the AOI to see more incidents. Once you are done changing your information or setting the AOI, click submit and the listings page will be brought back up.

On the same settings button, there is also an option to set your location.
profile page
If the location on the SpotOnResponse map does not accurately reflect the your position, your location can be set manually by selecting to turn off the GPS on the top left corner. There are three options for setting your location. If the latitude and longitude of the location is known, simply input it in to the fields. If they are not known, you can look up the coordinates by searching for the address and the fields for lat and long will be populated automatically. The third option is to double click on the map and the lat/long fields will be populated. Once the new location is satisfactory, click “Set Location” and the new location will be saved. Note in the picture above, the original location has the marker set in San Francisco. The new location where the marker will be placed is Oakland.

Creating an Item of Interest or Responding to an Incident

Once the location and Area of Interest is set, the map will be populated with Incidents within the Area of Interest. By going to Layers button, different features can be toggled on the map.
The red and yellow bars at the bottom of the screen are all the Incidents within the Area of Interest. An incident will be red if it is within two miles of your current position.

To create an Incident/Item of interest
profile page
Selecting the create new Item of Interest button in the top left corner will begin the process to create a new Item of Interest. Items of Interest include:

  • Incidents*
  • Action Plan*
  • Alert (CAP)
  • Command
  • Hospital/Health
  • ICS Forms
  • Infrastructure
  • Resources
  • Situation Report
  • SOP & Task
  • Shelters

*For ShakeOut 2012 only Incidents and Action Plans will be used

The process to create an Incident is the same as creating any other Item of Interest. Fill out the subject line and description of the item. The location for the incident will be the location where you are making the Incident is located. If you is not near actual location of the incident, a change in location will be required.(See setting location). Once the incident/item of interest is created it will be populated on the map.

Responding to an Incident
Clicking on any of the Incidents in the list will bring up the page for that Incident. Also, selecting a marker on the map anad clicking on details will bring up the Incident page. In this example, the Zynga incident was selected.
profile page
The first thing that should be noted is that SpotOnResponse will highlight a route from your location to the Incident. Also there are several important buttons in the top menu.

  1. Observation – this button will bring up options to add an update to this incident, set your location, and check-in
  2. External Reports – here you will be able to access field tools and forms from other organizations (ie. USGS, EERI, etc)
  3. Back – this button will bring you back to the listings page

The blue bars towards the bottom are Action Updates. These updates range from noting that someone has checked in or that someone has made a comment on this incident. These updates are organized from the top to bottom, top being the earliest and the bottom being the most recent. The map also shows these updates as a blue markers with a “U”.

To check-in, click on the observation button and select check-in. The check-in will appear at the bottom of the Action Updates as you join the team.

To add an Action Update, click on the observation button and select update. The following screen will appear.
profile page
Once the fields are filled out, there is an option to attach a file or URL to the update. The files need to be the local device. After the update has been filled out, click “submit” and the update will appear at the bottom of the Action Update list. If a file is attached to an update, it will appear with the update as seen below.
profile page
Just as each incident on the listing page had its own page, so does each Action Update. This page shows the details and description about the update. The files attached to the update will also be shown.

Finally, if the Incident has particular interest with other organizations like a ground failure for the USGS or structural collapse for EERI, there are external reports that can be filled out. By clicking on the external reports button in the top left corner, there are currently a few forms available for data collection. Here is an example of the USGS Field Tools form. More information on this tool can be found here.
profile page

Emergency Response Spatial Tools Technical Interchange

Presented by:  California Earthquake Clearinghouse, Cal OES, City of Walnut Creek, City of Berkeley, CA National Guard, NAPSG Foundation, FEMA, DHS, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and NCRIC

Date: April 17, 2014

Location: Oakland City Center (BART accessible)

Register now for an important session focusing on helping local first responder agencies use and share spatial incident response data with other local agencies and with regional, state and federal agencies in California.  The focus will be “How to share data and to make maps for information in my agency and for decision support”.

Software applications (both desktop and mobile) and procedures to share incident response related data in a secure environment have already been developed as a result of several federal DHS initiatives and state efforts.  In California, these tools, data, and procedures have been successfully demonstrated during recent California Earthquake Clearinghouse exercises held in 2012 and 2013.

This session will share results from those exercises and will train participants in the use of state and federally-developed emergency response tools, data and resources, which will advance your region’s ability to prepare for and respond to an eventual major natural disaster or event.  Participants will learn how to input their own incident information, as well as how to access and combine these compilations of information with their own spatial systems and data

Participation in this interchange will help your agency improve its ability to share incident-related information securely.  You will have the opportunity to put these improved skills to the test in the Clearinghouse component of the 2014 OES May Cascadia exercise.

You don’t have to be in CA to participate in the session. It will be made available via the web.  There is no cost to attend.


click here to register

2013 Golden Guardian Exercise

2013 Golden GuardianThe California Earthquake Clearinghouse will be conducting activities as part of the 2013 Golden Guardian Exercise and encourages all members to participate. The exercise will take place on May 15th, 2013 from 11 am – 2 pm. A virtual clearinghouse will be established and the Clearinghouse, its partners, and its members will be sharing observations and data during the exercise. Beginning at the end of April, there will be four opportunities to attend a training session that will provide more details about how to participate. More information will be posted on the Clearinghouse website as it becomes available. If you have any questions about the exercise please contact

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