NORTH MYRTLE BECH, S.C. (WMBF) - The city of North Myrtle Beach was able to estimate the damage caused by Hurricane Isaias within one day of the hurricane thanks to a new program that made the whole process digital.
Before this program, the city planning department would go out with the classic pen-and-paper approach to note any damage around the city. Then, they'd take those numbers and put them into an excel spreadsheet.
This new technology, which utilizes iPads, not only makes that process more efficient, but according to one official, it makes it more accurate.
The assessors can take pictures at the scene and immediately upload them. That means the city's chief building inspector can see the picture right before the data gets entered, and can confirm or change the damage estimate.
Additionally, the software also breaks down the type of damage, whether it be residential, multi-family, commercial, etc.
“The GIS stuff, we can share it with the county, we can share it with the federal government,” said Suzanne Pritchard, a city senior planner. “It’s all collected, and we can share it broadly among all agencies.”
Most of the North Myrtle Beach damage from then Hurricane Isaias on Aug. 3 was isolated to the Cherry Grove area, so the city got to try out this software on a smaller data size because they only assessed Cherry Grove.
Now, they’ll be ready to use it full scale for the next natural disaster.