GIS use for disaster management

GIS use for disaster management
Photo by NOAA / Unsplash

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is the system that supports virtually any operation involving geographic information to capture, edit, manipulate, analyze, model, visualize, publish, and store. Geoinformation Science (GI Science) addresses the fundamental issues of GIS, forms the knowledge base that can be used by GIS, and the research that will enable the next generation of GIS. GIS data are used in business and everyday life, such as mapping, analysis of accidents and hot spots, urban planning, disaster management and mitigation, flood damage estimation, natural resources management, planning, and community management. GIS helps users to understand patterns, relationships, and geographic context.

Natural disasters have impacted human life since decades, such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. GIS integration has improved planning, response times, collaboration, and communication in the most complex dynamic circumstances in the civil protection framework. Large-scale disasters require extensive geographic information on affected regions, infrastructure, and resource requirements. Advances in GIS have provided authorities with the opportunity to work together more efficiently and effectively.

Information on natural disasters has traditionally been obtained from national mapping agencies, news organizations, and emergency organizations operating in the vicinity of the event.  The program is specifically intended to provide personnel the first aid with concise and up-to-date information at all stages of natural disaster assessment. Emergency Response Experts can combine pre-disaster road, population, and land data into one clear map format. The event may be natural, but the reconstruction after the destruction is the responsibility of the victim. By combining today's technology with business continuity management knowledge, GIS can mitigate some of the surprises and fears associated with sudden natural disasters. Because multiple institutions or organizations often work together in an emergency. GIS-trained responders can quickly upload information and share it between command centers in the city or around the world. Immediate access to valuable information will form the basis of future GIS processes.

As technology continues to connect the world, geographical data is seen as a powerful means of augmenting relevant data when otherwise that data is unavailable, out of date, or incomplete. In the research project Evolution of Copernicus Emergency Services (E2mC), designers developed a component called "Witness", allowing data to be recorded, analyzed, and saved. Many Emergency Management Agencies have successfully used this application in many real-world emergencies, such as the earthquake in central Italy and the 2016 Haiti hurricane (Havas, 2017).

Restoration provides government agencies and organizations a way to access natural conditions and update data and systems to reflect geological changes resulting from natural disasters. One of these technologies that enable a clear and accurate spatial representation of the Earth's surface is LiDAR or photodetection and ranging (National Ocean Service, 2020). LiDAR was used during Hurricane Sandy, one of the deadliest and most devastating hurricanes of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Coordination by NOAA and USGS enabled the collection of high-resolution bathymetric and topographic elevation data. LiDAR data has been used to support studies aimed at hurricane recovery and construction, recording changes in surface elevation due to storm surge, validating storm surge forecasts, and environmental assessments. Elevation data developed by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 was added to the 3DEP and evolved into NOAA's "Digital Coast," an easy-to-use, centralized collection of cost-effective information with high precision (GISContributor, 2017).

Mitigation refers to the stage in which measures are taken to avoid the possibility of a natural disaster. This may include implementing management plans in vulnerable areas, such as construction restrictions in flood-prone areas. Broader methods can be implemented to avoid the adverse effects of the inevitable events, especially in locations prone to natural disasters. Preparation is an essential part of business continuity management. GIS can provide valuable information in the event of a real emergency. Some "what if" questions can be answered through preparatory training. The response increases when the responder goes through the GIS training session, and the second puzzle needs to be eliminated. Providing competent two emergency response teams before an incident can minimize confusion in real-world crises.