Role of GIS in Disaster Management

Topics: Emergency management, Geographic information system, Emergency service Pages: 7 (1912 words) Published: February 13, 2014
Role of GIS in Disaster Management
What is GIS?
A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework. A GIS can be thought of as a system that provides spatial data entry, management, retrieval, analysis, and visualization functions. The implementation of a GIS is often driven by jurisdictional (such as a city), purpose, or application requirements. Generally, a GIS implementation may be custom-designed for an organization. Hence, a GIS deployment developed for an application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose may not be necessarily interoperable or compatible with a GIS that has been developed for some other application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose. What goes beyond a GIS is a spatial data infrastructure, a concept that has no such restrictive boundaries. Applications

GIS is a relatively broad term that can refer to a number of different technologies, processes, and methods. It is attached to many operations and has many applications related to engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics, insurance, telecommunications, and business. For that reason, GIS and location intelligence applications can be the foundation for many location-enabled services that rely on analysis, visualization and dissemination of results for collaborative decision making. Top Five Benefits of GIS

GIS benefits organizations of all sizes and in almost every industry. There is a growing awareness of the economic and strategic value of GIS. The benefits of GIS generally fall into five basic categories: Cost Savings and Increased Efficiency

Better Decision Making
Improved Communication
Better Recordkeeping
Managing Geographically

Emergency Management Phases

Emergency management activities can be grouped into five phases that are related by time and function to all types of emergencies and disasters. These phases are also related to each other, and each involves different types of skills.

1. Planning
2. Mitigation
3. Preparedness
4. Response
5. Recovery

Use of GIS in Disaster Management

All phases of emergency management depend on data from a variety of sources. The appropriate data has to be gathered, organized, and displayed logically to determine the size and scope of emergency management programs. During an actual emergency it is critical to have the right data, at the right time, displayed logically, to respond and take appropriate action. Emergencies can impact all or a number of government departments. Emergency personnel often need detailed information concerning pipelines, building layout, electrical distribution, sewer systems, and so forth. By utilizing a GIS, all departments can share information through databases on computer-generated maps in one location. Without this capability, emergency workers must gain access to a number of department managers, their unique maps, and their unique data. Most emergencies do not allow time to gather these resources. This results in emergency responders having to guess, estimate, or make decisions without adequate information. This costs time, money, and—in some cases—lives. GIS provides a mechanism to centralize and visually display critical information during an emergency.

Most of the data requirements for emergency management are of a spatial nature and can be located on a map. The remainder of this section will focus on how data is acquired, displayed, and utilized in all aspects of public safety programs. This paper...
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