It’s been a bit since I rolled out an edition of “5 Cool Things“, so I figured since I saw so many cool things at ESRIUC this would be a perfect chance to pen an update! Enter The Sand Table – This was one of those “WOW” displays that attracted a crowd and left you thinking to yourself, “I gotta get me one of those!” The company, Simtable, provides digital sandtables to the wildfire, emergency management, defense and urban security communities. Combining existing GIS data with next generation agent-based modeling and ambient computing SimTable provides a straightforward easy to use approach in incident response and training. Customized models of communities and populations provide a truly interactive experience in all-hazards simulations. The demo showed us how the sand on the table (think kids sandbox) could be moved around and shaped to model a 3D environment, then a series of map layers were projected onto the sand resulting in a very realistic environment to better grasp the situation. What was really cool was the ability to then light the sand on fire with a lighter and then view a real model of the spread of the wildfire based on various environmental and geographic conditions (wind, slope, aspect, etc…) It truly was impressive!