GIS in Disaster Management

Thanks, MM, Intro to GIS

Emergency management is a crucial task that often does not receive adequate attention from both government and society. In the recent years, many nations have suffered from disastrous aftermaths of natural disasters that could have been prevented had there been more preparation and funding. Although damage and destruction is inevitable, it is possible to minimize the effects by having a well-developed disaster management plan. Now more than ever, GIS has become a key tool in disaster management. The first step to producing an emergency management plan is gathering data from variety of sources. While branches of government agencies releasing certain data is necessary to build a foundation for a plan, it is also essential to integrate these different data. Merging and display of multiple data becomes possible with GIS. GIS can produce visual outputs, such as a map, from numerous data inputs various information derived from government agencies.

The Sichuan Earthquake, which devastated the Chinese population this May, is a prime example of how damage can be minimized by the usage of G.I.S. in disaster management. Rescue teams were able to rapidly locate and transport people and food aid and other supplies reached where needed. Data, provided by the National Geomatics Centre of China, were used for base maps for numerous purposes. The Centre also was able to access satellite imagery from other sources. Finally, ESRI China played a crucial role in aid and support by integrating government information with their technologies. Situations such as these truly enlighten the society as to the importance of sharing and storing data.

Learning from benefits of a well-planned relief strategy, increasing numbers of governments have began devote resources to disaster management. The most recent development in this field is The Great Southern California ShakeOut Drill, which was the largest earthquake preparedness exercise in U.S. history. An imaginary earthquake was situated along the San Andreas Fault, where a large earthquake would most likely occur in that area, with a significantly large magnitude of 7.8. GIS technology was used to build a base of information where the location of resources and aid could be determined immediately in case of a natural disaster. Furthermore, it helped to predict the extent of potential damage by simulating the real-life geography of the area and how the landscape would be affected by the earthquake.

Comments are closed.