International conference puts GIS guru on map

Emergency services employee wins first-place data award


Dave Sekkes, the emergency planning coordinator for the Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES), won a first-place data integration award last month.

The emergency planning coordinator for the Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES), Dave Sekkes, was honored at the ESRI International User Conference last month with a first-place award for Best Data Integration, a county news release said.

One part of the ESRI conference, held this year in San Diego, Ca., was a  Map Gallery, an opportunity to share Geographic Information System (GIS) work by showcasing innovative printed maps in 13 categories.

The award that Sekkes received, Best Data Integration, judges entrants on the general quality and effective data integration, according to relevance and select variety of chosen data sources (surveying, remote sensing, GPS, etc.) and data formats (raster, vector, text, etc.) to the problem-solving and map-making processes; and a cohesive presentation of the integration (explanation, illustration, etc.), the release said.

In Chester County, Sekkes is the primary GIS user in DES. His work showcased an analysis of the Marsh Creek Dam inundation zone using recently acquired building footprint data. The inundation zone on a map shows the area that would be affected by flooding should a dam breach occur. The data outlining existing structures indicated that more buildings and people were at risk of being affected by a dam breach than previously anticipated, the release said.

Sekkes utilizes GIS to provide analysis and mapping support in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during activations and to the department as a whole during daily operations. Additionally, he provides technical support for department information-technology initiatives. Sekkes has worked with GIS in Chester County since 2002, beginning with the Health Department; he joined DES in 2008.



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