Virtual USA and the NISC

History of NISC-FRG Partnership for Virtual USA

In May 2013, the NISC and DHS S&T’s First Responders Group formed a partnership to transition elements of the Virtual USA program to the NISC. The NISC built on existing work with FRG and practitioner stakeholders on identifying ways to expand upon the program’s information sharing capabilities. On June 24, 2013, the NISC and Esri announced a partnership to utilize ArcGIS Online for Organizations as an additional technology to the Virtual USA suite of tools. Since then, the NISC and Esri have been working together to build a platform to support information sharing within the ArcGIS Online architecture. On September 30, 2014, the Virtual Library and the data links it contains were decommissioned. The code for the Virtual Library and its widget, along with legacy guidance materials, will be archived by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) First Responders Group (FRG). In 2015, the NISC launched an updated member portal, that includes a variety of ways to access Virtual USA program information, including live data shared by Virtual USA participants, lessons learned from Virtual USA pilot programs, abilities to test drive operational capabilities that have been developed as a result of the pilot programs and more. The new member portal augments the Virtual USA program and makes information easier to share, access, and use.

Screenshot of the now-decommissioned Virtual Library

Screenshot of the now-decommissioned Virtual Library

The current access point to Virtual USA data, apps, and information is via the NISC member portal


Virtual USA Web App

Available in Javascript and Flex formats, this web app is designated to facilitate access and discovery of content available in ArcGIS Online. A key focus of Virtual USA is to standardize data publication and improve discovery and access to data at every level. In support of this effort, the NISC supported the CAPSTONE-14 exercise led by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC). CUSEC states worked with the NISC to test and evaluate peer-to-peer information sharing using local and state information published on ArcGIS Online. The CAPSTONE-14 exercise took place in June, and the Virtual USA web app is one of the lasting legacies of the exercise- instructions on accessing the app are below.

To get started, please complete our brief ArcGIS Online Web App Request Form.