Maps and the Geospatial Revolution

Discussion Prompts


Where Do Disasters Happen, And How Can Maps Help?

In the mapping assignment for this lesson you've been working with data on Earthquakes and Tornadoes. These aren't the only types of disasters that receive attention from mapmakers, and nearly every government agency or NGO that deals with disaster management has a wide range of geospatial needs in such circumstances. For our discussion this week I'd like to focus on disasters and the kinds of things we can learn about them from using maps and geospatial technology. Here are some prompts for this week's discussion:

  • Identify the most frequent natural hazards in the region in which you live and work in terms of damage to infrastructure and human impact (injuries and fatalities)
  • Compare these hazards to the ones that happen most frequently in another region
  • Describe a natural hazard that you have personally witnessed, and talk about the scales at which the natural hazard had an impact (local, regional, global – some disasters impact all of these in some way), make a map to show what you experienced.
  • Find and share examples of good (or bad) maps about recent disasters. Describe what you think makes them work well (or not work at all), and propose your vision for better disaster mapping in the future. What would need to happen to make your ideas possible?