GEOG 588
Planning GIS for Emergency Management



This week, we focused on how GIS can be used to prepare for a disaster. Different disasters present different types of opportunities for preparation - some, like terror attacks or earthquakes provide little or no warning time at all. Others, like hurricanes or other severe storms, may offer a window of opportunity where GIS can be used to coordinate evacuations and other types of preparation efforts (sandbagging levees, for example).

One way to prepare for disasters that offer little or no warning is to develop spatial computational models of disaster impacts and use a GIS to run simulations of hypothetical emergency situations. In this lesson, we looked at how the USGS uses PAGER to quickly estimate damage from earthquakes. When planning a GIS system for emergency management, it may be very useful to allocate time and resources toward disaster modeling efforts to simulate situations that present very little advanced warning.

In the next lesson, we will shift our attention to the response phase of emergency management. In the immediate time following a disaster, GIS will be called upon to develop a situational picture and to allocate first responder resources. In lesson 5, we will delve into a wide variety of challenges that are associated with disaster response and GIS.

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 4 Comments and Questions 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?