Book cover image for second edtion of the book Chapter 7: Geographic Information Systems and Disaster Response

This is the companion website for Chapter 7: Geographic Information Systems and Disaster Response from the book Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Disaster Management (second edition). This page contains links to any technical video walk throughs contained in the chapter, slides for the chapter, chapter test questions, and other additional materials.

Chapter Abstract

This chapter presents the concept of geographic information systems (GIS) for disaster response. Discussion is first made on disaster response policy in the United States and the National Response Framework followed by discussion of International Disaster Response Laws, Rules, and Principles (IDRL) which are frameworks that guide humanitarian assistance in disaster zones. The geographical aspects of situation awareness are next discussed via case studies on the use of maps and GIS in emergency operation centers and GIS and disaster warnings. Spatial data deluge is next discussed given the massive volume of spatial data generated during disaster response. Spatial data deluge topics include thematic maps, density mapping or “heat mapping”, real-time GIS and Internet of Things (IoT), and a case study of the 2018 Kerala, India flooding followed by a presentation of a disaster response product development framework. A technical discussion is then made disaster damage assessment and tools such as Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS and Survey 123 and Open Data Kit (ODK) Collect. The role of the public for disaster response mapping via crisis mapping and citizen reporting follows. The chapter concludes with a technical exercise on 311 Hurricane Harvey call data heat mapping with kernel density.

Chapter Objectives: Upon chapter completion, readers should be able to:

  • understand the basics about disaster-response policy in the United States;
  • be familiar with concepts related to international disaster response laws, rules, and principals (IDRL);
  • discern various geographical aspects of situation awareness;
  • understand what spatial data deluge means and identify various geographic information systems (GIS) techniques for handling spatial data deluge during a disaster response;
  • understand basic concepts related real-time GIS and Internet of Things (IoT) for disaster management;
  • be familiar with concepts related to disaster-response GIS product development;
  • understand how GIS can be used for disaster-response damage-assessment tasks;
  • be familiar with various GIS technology used for field data collection;
  • identify opportunities for and barriers to incorporating the public and volunteers in disaster-response mapping through crisis mapping.

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