Mapping The Debris To Help Rescue Workers

(New York-WABC, September 24, 2001) -- The landscape where the Twin Towers once stood has been so disfigured that rescue workers often don't know which building debris represents which tower. Where buildings once stood there are now just huge mounds of rubble. To help workers with the clean up new maps have been drawn up in an attempt to help chart the way. Lauren Glassberg reports.

Glenn Sekins, Map Designer: "Right here is the very first generation of maps to provide information."

The maps started out as basic quick sketches to get a sense of where everything once stood. From there Glenn Sekins knew that in order for the urban search and rescue crews to do their job they would need details.

First photos of what was the World Trade Center, then photos of what was left of the area. Every day new maps are created at the FEMA headquarters at the Javitz Center, every day there are new details.

There are grids that divide the devastation into quadrants. Some maps show where fires still burn while others the highlight the damage. There are nicknames for various piles of rubble like "punch," which is an area that looks like it has been punched in. Also, there's the "widow maker," a spot as ominous as it sounds. There is even a spot called the "potato chip."

Sekins: "The potato chip is the outside layer of one of the towers that is in the shape of a, like, Ruffles potato chip. When you look at it, it's curved, and it has got ridges."

The maps also denote potential dangers, but with all the attention to detail, and all the searching, this has been heartbreaking work.

Sekins: "The frustration is, we're here to save lives and what people have to live with later is that they feel guilty because they did not pull anybody out."