GEOG 858
Spatial Data Science for Emergency Management

Overview & Checklist


map of hurricane Sandy showing insurance claims
Snapshot of a map made by USA Today shortly after the event to reveal the long-term efforts necessary for New Jersey to recover from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Credit: N.J. Department of Insurance, Census Bureau, USA TODAY research


This week, we will focus on how geospatial approaches and technologies can support the final phase of emergency management - recovery. After response efforts have ended, recovery efforts can begin in earnest. GIS and related geospatial tools can be used to plan near-term infrastructure repairs and to identify candidate organizations and communities to receive long-term aid and assistance through grants and infrastructure projects. Recovery projects frequently involve close interaction with disaster victims who want to rebuild and return to 'life as usual." This poses challenges and opportunities for geospatial practitioners and those who consume information from geospatial analyses. We will discuss these topics and others throughout this lesson.

four stages of emergency management with Recovery highlighted. Other stages - Mitigation, Preparedness, and Response. Recovery is described in more detail below.
Credit: © Penn State University is licensed under 


The rebuilding or improvement of disaster-affected areas

  • Debris Management
  • Return essential services
  • Food and water
  • Temporary housing
  • Economic assistance
  • Insurance claims and rebuilding
  • Business aid

What You Will Learn

By the successful completion of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • explain and compare multiple ways in which geospatial analysis can be applied to disaster recovery efforts;
  • identify strengths and weaknesses in current geospatial approaches to disaster recovery;
  • evaluate, describe, and discuss trends and advances in cloud and mobile computing and how they are impacting geospatial systems for emergency management;
  • develop a solid first draft of your term project.

What You Will Do

Lesson 6 is one week in length. To finish this lesson, you must complete the activities listed below.

Lesson 6 Checklist
To Read
  • Lesson content on disaster recovery and related geospatial approaches and technologies
  • Chapter 7 – Geographic Information Systems and Disaster Recovery (pp. 213-230) from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Disaster Management
  • Schumann et al. 2020. Wildfire recovery as a “hot moment” for creating fire-adapted communities. Internaional Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 42:101354.
To Do
  • Reading and Live Discussion of Journal Articles
  • Emerging Theme Discussion
  • Term Project: Complete your First Draft

Please refer to the Course Calendar for specific due dates.


If you have questions about the content or lesson activities, please post them to the General Questions and Discussion forum in Canvas. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help a classmate. If your question is of a personal nature, please email me directly through Canvas.