GEOG 588
Planning GIS for Emergency Management

Summary

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In this lesson, we have learned about the first stage of emergency management - vulnerability assessment. We focused attention on how GIS can be used to conduct risk mapping analyses to identify places where populations and critical infrastructure are vulnerable to disasters.

An effective vulnerability assessment requires answers to the following questions (among others, of course):

  • Who is at risk? How many people will be affected?
  • What is the spatial and temporal extent of the vulnerability?
  • What capacity does the population at risk have for coping with the disaster?
  • What is the range of possible victim scenarios given different conditions?

When planning a GIS system for emergency management, one must consider the analytical tools and data sources necessary to answer these questions. Often, decision makers need information on potential human and financial losses to make their case for resources to mitigate against disasters.

In the next lesson, we will shift focus toward situations in which a disaster is imminent and GIS is called upon to help prepare for potential impacts. Even in the best case scenarios, there is often very little warning (and sometimes no warning at all) prior to a disaster, so there is a serious need for efficient and effective GIS systems to evacuate citizens and stage response resources.

Tell us about it!

If there is anything in the lesson materials that you would like to comment on or add to, feel free to post your thoughts in the Lesson 3 Questions and Comments Discussion in Canvas.  For example, what did you have the most trouble with in this lesson? Was there anything useful here that you'd like to try in your own work?