GEOG 588
Planning GIS for Emergency Management

Writing Assignment


The emergency management community has significantly increased the educational resources available to practitioners. Go to the main website for the FEMA training program if you haven't seen it yet.

On the FEMA training program website, click on ISP Course List from the menu on the top right. The course list is quite extensive and they have been updating it significantly in recent years. This will be a good resource for you if you remain actively involved in the emergency management domain. There is also information in here that will help you when you write your term project for this course.

If you've already completed the Reading Assignment, you've read about Hazard Analysis from the Emergency Planning independent study program. If you haven't read it yet - you'll need to do so in order to complete this assignment - you can find the assignment on page 4.

This FEMA lesson identifies 5 steps in the Hazard Analysis Process.

  • Identify Hazards
  • Profile each Hazard
  • Develop a Community Profile
  • Determine Vulnerability
  • Create and Apply Scenarios

Lesson 3 Writing Assignment Description

For this lesson, your assignment is to apply the hazard analysis process to a university of your choice. Assume you have been hired by the university to conduct a risk assessment to help the university determine whether or not they should invest resources in emergency response GIS. The university does not have a good idea of what ANY of the vulnerabilities are, so you are starting from a blank slate. Your task is to demonstrate whether or not there is a need for the university to provide funds for a more complete project. If the administration determines there is a need there, you will be asked to submit a formal proposal. Therefore, the information you compile should be suitable for persons without familiarity with emergency management practices, GIS, geodatabases, or vulnerability analysis.

  1. First, briefly identify plausible hazards to the University you've chosen.
  2. Next, select one of the hazards and complete the Activity: Profiling a Hazard. Since many of you have experience with natural disasters, this is an opportunity to choose a human disaster or terrorism event.
  3. Continue through the activity and write a short scenario for the hazard that you have profiled.

The list of hazards could grow enormous if you included every single critical infrastructure element of the university. Therefore, keep it general. The scenario that you develop should be one that describes the risk and the associated problems if the event occurred, highlighting the vulnerabilities at the university. You should be able to summarize the information from steps 1-4 into the final story, or scenario. The final scenario should be 300 - 500 words in length. If you write 2000 words I will be reduced to tears, so be kind to your professor. This assignment is worth 15 points toward the writing assignment portion of your course grade.

Lesson 3 Writing Assignment Submission Instructions

Save your files in the following format:

L3_assign3_firstinitialLastName.doc (or .jpg or .pdf or .tiff).

For example, my file would be named "L3_assign3_arobinson.doc" - This naming convention is important, as it will help me make sure I match each submission up with the right student.

Submit your assignment to the Lesson 3 Writing Assignment dropbox in Canvas. See our Canvas Course Calendar for specific due dates.

Lesson 3 Writing Assignment Grading Criteria

For this assignment, I will assign grades with the following rubric. For each of the three main criteria, I will assign points on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being excellent and 1 being very poor. I define "Impact" as the strength and logic of the arguments and analytical insights you provide with your writing. I define "Content" as the level of understanding and knowledge of relevant topics you demonstrate with your writing. I define "Clarity" as the readability and organization of your writing (including formatting and appropriate graphic design where applicable).

Impact, Content, Clarity: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Satisfactory, 2 = Poor, 1 = Very Poor