Book cover image for second edition of the book Exercise 8-1: Sustainable Debris Removal with Networking Analysis

This is the companion website for Exercise 8-1: Sustainable Debris Removal with Networking Analysis from the book Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Disaster Management (second edition). This page contains video walkthroughs of the exercise, datasets associated with the exercise, and other additional materials.

Follow this link to access Exercise 8-1: Sustainable Debris Removal with Networking Analysis datasets:

Exercise 8-1: Sustainable Debris Removal with Networking Analysis

Skill Level: intermediate

Estimated time to complete: 2-3 hours

Additional resources needed: an Internet-connected computer, a zip tool, ArcGIS Pro 2.x (with Network Analyst license) or QGIS 3.x., Exercise 8-1 datasets you can download here.

Purpose: the purpose of this lab will be for you to gain experience and knowledge with generating service areas and routes related to a disaster-recovery event using networking-analysis tools.

Additional notes:

ArcGIS Pro and QGIS have different ways of conducting network analysis using different underlying forms of datasets. This exercise focuses on using two common types of networking analysis – service areas and routes – to give you a starting point in understanding network analysis basics. Datasets used in this exercise were compiled from public and open data sources, further demonstrating the value of open data for GIS for disaster management that you first learned about in Chapter 3.

Landfills and recovery point data used in the exercise were downloaded from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Disaster Debris Recovery Tool which “provides information and locations of over 6,000 facilities throughout Region 52 and surrounding states capable of managing different materials which may be found in disaster debris.”3 These datasets were converted from the Esri File Geodatabase format to shapefile format for use in QGIS.

Street centerline road network data were downloaded as a shapefile from the Open Government St. Louis County, Missouri, open data website. An Esri network was then created from the original street centerline data. The Esri network dataset will be used for the Esri task descriptions, and the original street centerline shapefile will be used for the QGIS instructions.

Disaster spot locations were determined based on looking at news reports of flooding events that happened during the 2015 St. Louis floods. Numerous areas around metropolitan St. Louis were impacted by the 2015 floods, and the two disaster spots used in this exercise by no means represent the total impact of the 2015 disaster. The two spots were included in this exercise as they were within the street network provided with this exercise so they can be used in routing algorithm development.

Learning Objectives: after completing the exercise, you will know:

  • how to filter datasets using SQL to conduct focused analysis;
  • how to generate service areas using network analysis tools;
  • how to generate routes using network analysis tools.

Deliverables: if you are completing this exercise for a class assignment, you can submit a screenshot of your response to the instruction questions as well as answers to the discussion questions.

Overview: located in the Midwest United States, St. Louis is a major US city located on the famous Mississippi River. The city of St. Louis and its surrounding metropolitan region is no stranger to floods. One particularly significant flooding episode was in late 2015 when record rainfalls caused historic flooding in the city of St. Louis and its surrounding areas as well as other portions of the Midwest United States.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) report Planning for Natural Disaster Debris highlighted the 2015 St. Louis metro area flooding as a case study on communication and collection and segregation for collecting household hazardous waste (HHW), e-waste, orphaned containers, and construction and demolition (C&D) debris from flooded areas. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (2019) even highlights how GIS was used for communication and the coordination of recovery, highlighting several ideas you have heard in this chapter (8) and other parts of this book:

Communication between EPA and state and local officials facilitated the establishment of sites for the collection, staging, and disposal of debris. In response to the flooding in the St. Louis Metro Area, EPA deployed a suite of mobile and web-based GIS technologies designed to provide federal On-Scene Coordinators, state partners, and regional managers with a common operational picture of the response. This incident was the first major incident where mobile collection devices were utilized; their use proved to be highly successful. The technologies also built on public outreach, providing information in a web-based forum. Engagement of the community was essential for debris segregation.

Quote from United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) 2019, D16

In this exercise, you will conduct some basic network analysis based loosely on events that happened during 2015 Missouri floods and as highlighted in the EPA Missouri 2015 debris cleanup case study. Specific technical tasks and steps will refer back to the EPA case study accordingly to provide context for why a given task would be done.


  • Page 346: Task 3, Step 1: additional filtering for electronic recycling centers. For the ArcGIS Pro instructions, quotes are not needed for number 1 in the clause ‘And’ ‘Electronic’ is equal to ‘1’. The correct clause is: ‘And’ ‘Electronic’ is equal to 1
  • Page 351: Task 4, Step 2: generate route lines for e-waste disaster debris recycling recovery. For the QGIS Pro instructions, ignore the instructions that state Vector layer with start points: EPA_Recovery_Centers (aka your filtered dataset from Task 3, Step 2), the correct start points are Exercise_8_1_disaster_spots as specfified later in the instructions.

For detailed exercise instructions, purchase the book from Routledge Press »

Exercise 8-1: Sustainable Debris Removal with Networking Analysis

ArcGIS Pro Walkthrough (Part 1 of 2)

ArcGIS Pro Walkthrough (Part 2 of 2)

QGIS Pro Walkthrough (Part 1 of 2)

QGIS Pro Walkthrough (Part 2 of 2)

Additional Resources

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