LaSalle County Uses Collector for ArcGIS for Digital Damage Assessment

LaSalle County has responded to many natural disasters in recent years, including the Utica tornado outbreak of April 2004, the Streator tornado outbreak of 2010, and the Marseilles flood of 2013. All of these events resulted in County staff collecting data using paper forms.

Damage Assessment Becomes Digital

In 2015, the LaSalle County EMA, Supervisor of Assessments, and Bruce Harris & Associates, Inc. began designing a digital solution. Together, they quickly identified ArcGIS Online, and Collector for ArcGIS as the obvious technology to use. Collector gave the County the flexibility to collect data on Android, Apple (iOs) and/or Windows devices. Using the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Initial Damage Assessment Forms as a guide, Bruce Harris & Associates and LaSalle County designed a geodatabase that would allow the County staff to collect the data in the field. This same data would then be used to fill out the forms when staff returned to the office. This geodatabase was ultimately used in Collectorfor ArcGIS for field data damage assessment.


On the evening of June 22, 2016, the rural area around Seneca and Ottawa was hit with an EF-1 and an EF-2 tornado. The following day, LaSalle County Supervisor of Assessments, EMA, and Bruce Harris & Associates Inc. used the digital system to perform the initial damage assessment. Collector for ArcGIS was used to collect all the necessary data, as well as take photos of the damaged properties.


Can this solution help my organization?

Collector for ArcGIS can be used by any agency with an ArcGIS Online Organizational Account. Collector allows users to capture data, including photos, in a matter of minutes. Photos can even be stored as attachments with direct links to their proper location, in order to remove the challenge of matching photos and addresses. LaSalle County found that Collector was able to capture more data than their paper forms. You may also find that Collector goes beyond the limits of your organization’s paper data forms. Bruce Harris & Associates Inc. would be happy to assist your organization in finding ways to streamline and refine your organization’s processes. For more information, click here, or contact us at (630) 761-0951. Other links: