NC4: Risk Center - Situation Map

The Situation Map is built on the robust and feature-rich ESRI mapping platform. The Situation Map automatically refreshes the content shown on the map every 5 minutes, and offers enhanced display and navigation features, allowing you to search and quickly display a variety of NC4 Risk Center intelligence items.

Map Icons

The Incident/Advisory and Situation Map use familiar and easy to use icons, including:

  • Pan User-added image to directionally move the map to the east, west, north and south (right, left, up and down) using the arrows. Alternatively, you can use the hand icon that appears on the map when you place your mouse cursor over the map area. When the hand icon appears, click and drag your mouse to move the map in any direction to view adjacent areas
  • Zoom In User-added image click to zoom in and hold down to continuously zoom in
  • Zoom Out User-added image click to zoom out and hold down to continuously zoom out

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Other methods of zooming include:

· Place cursor over the map image, and then use the mouse’s scroll wheel to zoom in or out. You can also use the equivalent device on your laptop control pad to perform this function.

· Place cursor over the map image, and then double click to center and zoom in on the area directly beneath the cursor.

· Place cursor over the map image, and hold down the control/ctrl key and the left mouse button while dragging the mouse to draw a dashed-line box on the map, over the area you wish to zoom in. When you release the mouse button, the map will zoom to the area as outlined by the box.

  • Rotate Clockwise User-added image (Birds Eye view only) rotates the camera angle clockwise around the point of interest. You must be zoomed in closely for this to be enabled.

  • Rotate Counterclockwise User-added image (Birds Eye view only) rotates the camera angle counterclockwise around the point of interest. You must be zoomed in closely for this to be enabled.

  • Return to Global View User-added image zooms the map to its fullest extent which is the world view

  • Previous Map View User-added image view maps that were previously displayed, similar to the back arrow used in browsers

  • Next Map View User-added image view more maps, similar to the forward arrow used in browsers
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The arrow icons for Previous and Next Map View turn from grey to blue when there were maps viewed before and after the map currently being displayed.

  • Refresh/Update Data User-added image updates incident and intelligence information displayed on map
  • Base Map Gallery offers 13 base map options, including a variety of street, topographic, and aerial views from ESRI and Bing.
  • Identify Tool User-added imageenables click-to-identify capability on map data elements. Some externally sourced data elements lack clear identifying information. Selecting the identify tool and clicking these elements displays a pop-up that contains detailed identifying information.
  • Show Address User-added image identifies the address of a location on the map by clicking the desired location
  • Zoom History User-added imageallows for forward and backward navigation through zoom levels and map interactions
  • Popup Lock User-added imageallows for popups to be locked so that they remain open until intentionally closed, either by clicking the close button or by clicking elsewhere on the map.
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The default behavior for popups is to close automatically when the user clicks elsewhere on the map.

The map automatically refreshes every five minutes. Between map refreshes, the halo feature is used to draw your attention to new items on the map display. Halos appear around map icons that were created or updated between the two most recent map refreshes. If locations or incidents/advisories have changed between the most recent refresh and the preceding it five minutes prior, then that icon will be highlighted with a yellow halo. The same applies to a manual refresh of the map.

  • Halo Removal on Refresh User-added image removes all halos when the map is refreshed. This is the default.
  • Halo Removal on Click User-added image does not remove halos each time the map is refreshed. Instead, halos are only removed when one is clicked individually
  • Halo Removal All User-added image for removing all halos

The Situation Map utilizes these additional icons:

  • Search User-added image enables you to search the map by address and/or a business category. Clicking on the search icon opens the window, as shown here:


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Using the search icon tool


    • The two fields and associated buttons on this window can be used in tandem or independently to conduct your search.
    • Use the top field for searching city names, complete or partial addresses, neighborhood names (such as University District, Seattle, WA), landmark names (such as the Lincoln Memorial), or geographical locations or parks (such as the Grand Canyon). Then, click on the GoTo button.
    • Use the bottom field to search for business names (such as NC4) or business categories (such as Hospital). Click the Find button and the results will appear on the map as push pins . This information is pulled from Microsoft Bing. Availability of the information is based on what is available on Microsoft Bing.
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If more than one possible location is found, a list appears below the search boxes. Select the desired location in the list.

  • Clear Search Results User-added image removes results returned from a search from the map view (i.e. push pins are cleared from the map)
  • Acknowledge Proximity Warnings User-added image removes the flashing proximity warning from the map view
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When an incident triggers an Alert Profile, a flashing proximity warning icon may display around some location(s) on the Situation Map. Proximity warnings for a location will be seen by all users who have access privileges for that location.

Proximity Warnings are an alert profile setting enabled by your organization’s NC4 Risk Center Administrator.

Proximity Warnings are typically acknowledged by the Administrator. If you would like information about assigning the right to acknowledge proximity warnings to a general user, please contact the NC4 Support Center.

When you are seeking information about a current incident or your registered locations, the map provides high quality imagery in Road, Aerial or Bird’s eye view options, which are selected from the View Control menu that appears in the top left corner of your screen as shown in this image.

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Situation Map, view options

Showing Map Labels

From the View Control menu, clicking on the word Labels removes all identifying labels from the map such as continent and ocean names, road and landmark names, etc. This selection acts as a toggle, such that by clicking on Labels again, the map will redisplay the identifying labels on the map.

Road Maps

Road maps provide detailed information about roadway names and points of interest. The following image is an example of a typical Road map. Road maps are very clearly labeled with street names and landmarks such as parks, railroads, rivers, etc. Road maps do not show photographic images or specific buildings.

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Road maps

Aerial Maps

The Aerial view of the map, as shown below, is the default view upon launching the Situation Map and/or Incident/Advisory Map. Aerial maps are two-dimensional photographic images originally taken from space satellites. Aerial maps show real views of roads, buildings, landscapes, and more, but do not necessarily reflect current conditions because the photos may be several months or years old. Increasing the level of zoom will bring increasingly more detail to the map, which may vary in clarity, color, or other characteristics. Aerial maps do not show the topographic detail of the Bird’s Eye maps and it may be difficult to read some street names.

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Aerial maps

Bird’s Eye Maps

Bird’s Eye maps, as shown in the following, are three-dimensional photographic images originally taken from airplanes as they traveled above specific metropolitan areas. Buildings, landscapes, and other objects appear at a slight oblique angle in these photographs. You can quickly shift Bird’s Eye maps in any direction to view adjacent areas. The clarity of the Bird’s Eye maps is excellent, as these are very high resolution photographs taken at lower altitudes than the Aerial maps. This makes it easy to recognize buildings and landmarks. They too are often labeled with street names.


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Bird’s Eye maps

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There are 2 levels of zoom available in the Bird’s Eye map mode.

If you get lost while using a Bird’s Eye map, click on the Road or Aerial Map to reset your location to the actual incident site, or click the previous button from the map icon tools (not the browser’s back button).

Bird’s Eye maps may contain some blind spots where objects block the view. The better the population numbers and infrastructure within an area, the better the satellite imagery which is being provided by Microsoft Bing mapping.


Leveraging Maps for a More Complete View of a Situation

Following is an example of how you can use the various maps to improve situational awareness around an incident. The first image shows a typical Road Map over an area in Virginia. If a fire occurred here, it might seem like a fire in a sparsely populated area, not posing much of a security risk.

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Comparing map views to enhance situational awareness (image 1)


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Comparing map views to enhance situational awareness (image 2)

What could be construed as a minor fire when viewed from the Road map could prove to have a much greater impact if the facility, as shown above, were to become involved. By using the Bird’s Eye map of the same area, you can see that it poses a far greater security risk than may have been originally perceived since the area is adjacent to petroleum and propane storage facilities.

The Aerial and Bird’s Eye maps provide you with the ability to gain far more contextual information, and hence situational awareness, than the Road map alone. Additional examples of such benefits include determining whether a traffic accident is near a major freeway interchange, or understanding the kind of area where an incident is occurring (urban, industrial, rural, suburban, residential, or agricultural).

Map Layers

Using the available map layers, as shown following, you can access more detailed information about tropical storms, active real-time incidents, advisories, Global Flashpoints, Locations and more.

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Map layers

Use the checkbox to check/add or uncheck/remove from the map view. You may also use the greater than sign to the left of the layer name to expand it.

  • Tropical Storms data is imported from NWS/NOAA, including the probability cone and the date and time stamps for the storm projections. Related watches and warnings are included as part of this layer.
  • All NIMC Incidents of all severity levels
  • All NIMC Advisories of all severity levels
  • All available Global Flashpoints, and if your organization subscribes to Analytical Briefs, these will be available here as well.
  • Your registered Locations
  • Other views are available, based on if your organization’s subscription includes ActivTravel, ActivMobile or ActivPoint
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Only the locations for which you have view and/or update access privileges for will be shown on the map.


Drilling Down to Details from the Map View

From the map view, you can drill down to more information about the incidents, advisories, Global Flashpoints or Analytical Briefs. Hovering your mouse over an icon on the map will display the incident category and type.

  1. Click once on an icon. The window as shown here displays, providing the incident/advisory category and type (e.g. geophysical and earthquake), the general location (e.g. Santa Monica, CA), and a brief synopsis.

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    Incident/advisory details
  2. Click on Drill Down or the blue arrow to zoom in on the incident area. As the map brings focus to the incident area, a box will also display at the bottom of your screen, providing the most recent incident or advisory update, as shown here.
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    Drilling down to additional incident/advisory details
  3. Clicking on a Location icon opens a popup window, as shown below. Your organization name (or logo if uploaded), location name, address, location type and status, point of contact, and a zoomed in map of the location display. Map controls include:
    • Road (R) map view
    • Aerial (A) map view
    • Bird’s Eye (B) map view (if available)
    • Zoom in and out controls

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      Your registered location
  4. To see a description of the Location, click on the More > button. The location map is replaced with the Location description, as shown.

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    Your registered location description
  5. Clicking the Edit/View button launches the Location Profile for editing.
  6. Clicking the Back button returns you to the prior location window.
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You must have the privileges in order to edit the profile information.

Some members may see a special Attachments/Links feature. If you have this, you will see additional fields when you click on the More > button, including any associated attachment files, website Links, or references pertinent to this specific Location.

Designation of Location Type such as a Site, Building, etc., is required for all registered locations in NC4 Risk Center. Use of the Location Status Codes is optional.

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