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An app for that

Carlton County GIS Coordinator Jared Hovis created an app that shows where flood damage occurred in the county. contributed screenshot 1 / 3
Information is added to this app at each storm damaged location. The new app is being used for the first time with the most recent storm damages. The app helps make the process more efficient and easier for county workers to find information immediately. contributed by Jared Hovi2 / 3
This screenshot shows an example of how county workers can use the new app to take photos of an area damaged by a storm. Once they take the photos, they add information about the area, such as the amount of the damage etc. contributed by Jared Hovi3 / 3

Gov. Mark Dayton said he was impressed with an app created by Carlton County GIS Coordinator Jared Hovis that shows where flood damage occurred in the county.

Dayton had requested a meeting with Carlton County departments to see the extent of the damage from recent storms.

The last bout of rains caused a narrow ribbon of damage in southern Carlton County from Moose Lake to Wisconsin, according to Emergency Manager Steve Van Kekrix.

The rural areas had several road washouts including at county state aid highways 11, 8 and 6.

In the past, county workers had to drive to each area, write down information, take photographs and go back to the office and decipher their notes to enter the information. When state or federal representatives visit the county to determine if it qualifies for financial aid, the information is presented by the county to help make their case.

Thanks to the new app, the process has been streamlined and is much more efficient. Now, when county workers visit the area where the damage is, they use the app and take photos and enter the information at the site.

Once the information is added, the app saves a running summary of the costs of the damages in the county. A pinpoint shows where each entry has been saved, so it is easier to see an overview of where the damaged areas are located.

"It's a one-stop shop," Hovi said. "I am ecstatic how well this works." He added that he will be making some small tweaks and changes as the app is used. This is the first run for the new app.

"Jared did an awesome job making the app," Van Kekrix said.

He helps coordinate the county, townships, state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, bringing them together to discuss the damages and cost estimates to repair the damages.

The estimate for the most recent emergency damages is $1.3 million.

He quickly adds that it's not only Carlton County that has been hammered by rains, but the entire state has been pounded. The recent rains have cause damages in 36 counties and one tribe.

Carlton County has seen three floods in the last six years.

After seeing some areas have issues each time there is a flood, the county is planning on performing hazard mitigation- or in layman's terms fix the area to prevent the damage from occurring again.

For example, on the County State Aid Highway 23 project a culvert washes out each time a flood event occurs. Instead of replacing or fixing the culvert, this time, a bridge will be built over the area.

Another perk of the new app is when an employee is entering information into the app at the site of the damage, other employees in the office can see the information as it is being added.

When it is time for a meeting with state or federal representatives, they can find all of the information in one place.

FEMA will meet with the county to assess the storm damage Thursday, July 19, at 10 a.m.

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