GEOG 588
Planning GIS for Emergency Management

Reading Assignment


This week, I'd like you to read and discuss a few reports and slideshows that describe the earthquake and how GIS was used to respond and recover from its impacts.

  1. READ: Kirby E,  Whipple K,Harkins N (2008) Topography reveals seismic hazard. Nature Geoscience 1(8): 485.

    This paper describes how topography and knowledge of geomorphological processes can reveal areas of seismic activity.


    What are ways that this type of analysis could be integrated into the process of emergency management hazard assessment using GIS? How would you ensure that the results of this sort of analysis would be understandable and actionable by non-experts in the community?

  2. READ: Brown, D., Saito, K., Liu, M., Spence, R., So, E., Ramage, M. (2012) The use of remotely sensed data and ground survey tools to assess damage and monitor early recovery following the 12.5.2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering. 10:741-764.

    This is a summary of what a group of scientists observed from two field studies of ongoing recovery efforts in the impacted region. This group collected and leveraged a range of remote sensing data and other sources in order to map recovery efforts (and their progress) in the wake of the disaster.

  3. READ: Rapid Assessment of Earthquake Damage (you may need to use Internet Explorer to view this slideshow, sorry! It works OK for me in Firefox but I can't guarantee it'll do the same for you) prepared by the China Data Center at the University of Michigan.

    This slideshow was prepared shortly after the disaster to estimate the impact the earthquake had on people and infrastructure. It is valuable to see what people 7000 miles away in the United States were able to estimate given existing datasets and GIS tools. The relevant info is provided in both Chinese and English, so don't be afraid when you first see it that it won't make any sense to you - the maps are really the main feature here that I want you to spend some time examining.


    How easy do you think it is to take output from current GIS tools and quickly condense it in a format like this slideshow so that decision makers and other outsiders could be brought up to speed about a disaster situation? What would you add to GIS tools to make this task more efficient? How likely is it that decision makers and other interested parties can readily make use of what they see on maps shared in this manner?

    This presentation was developed several years ago now - what do you notice that's changed substantially in terms of mapping technology (and analytical expectations) since 2008?