• Lucas Tinoco (Brazil)

The role of geospatial data in disaster risk reduction and emergency response

Geospatial Data can be used for disaster management. These data work in disaster risk reduction, as well as in emergency response. The disaster management cycle uses geospatial data in its four phases: Planning and Mitigation; Preparedness; Response; and Recovery. The first phase is called “Planning and Mitigation”. In this, mitigation needs can be determined and prioritized when potential emergencies are recognized. With the usage of Geospatial information, officials are capable of pinpointing hazards and accessing the evaluation of the risks and consequences of these disasters. Values at risk are quick and efficiently displayed via GIS while using the existing database linked to GIS’s geographic features.

Next, is the “Preparedness” phase. This stage includes all the activities that prepare for actual emergencies. GIS is used to supply answers to questions related to the disaster. For example, what is the amount of paramedics required, which logistics units are needed, and where all of these should be located? GIS is important because it displays real-time monitoring of the emergency. It also measures radiation, earthquakes, etc. The third stage is called “Response”. The Geospatial data can be used by decision-makers, helping them understand the scope of the damage. As well as to identify the positions of people that may be injured, trapped, or in need of medical support and rescue.

Furthermore, geo-information can be used to analyze critical infrastructure or buildings (such as hospitals) that is or could be damaged or destroyed which is essential for its restoration. These decision-makers can prioritize different actions. Finally, geospatial data can support emergency supply chain management. The final stage is “Recovery”. GIS can be used to locate all the damaged facilities, identify their type and amount of damage, and then begin to establish priorities for action. Long-term progress and terms can be tracked and displayed using a GIS. Furthermore, the prioritization for big restoration investments can be made possible with GIS’s information. Geospatial technologies used in disaster management are increasing because of the globally rising number of earthquakes, storms, and hurricanes. Technology advances such as HD cameras and sensor technologies help in the processing of old and new data which can be used to create more efficient disaster management plans.

There are many benefits of using geospatial technology for disaster management. First, spatial information and its applications provide the power to monitor, assess, predict, visualize, prepare, and respond to increase situational awareness. Second, the integration of mapping, satellite imagery, GPS and interactive GIS helps capitalize on different methods and technologies to create more efficient disaster management plans, develop strategic support systems, and establish new networks. Third, the spatial applications create an opportunity for national disaster agencies to forecast and communicate early warning information. Furthermore, they can help with inventory and resource management, evacuation plans, vulnerability analysis, early damage assessment, simulation, modeling, etc. Finally, GIS techniques, surveying, and mapping tools help disaster management by creating a model for visualization of the disaster’s effect, which can be used to mitigate the extent of the disaster.