The Impact of GIS Technology on Disaster Response

August 10, 2021

Natural disasters are an inherent threat to any community. When a region is geographically vulnerable to floods or earthquakes, there must be necessary efforts to reinforce the safety and durability of nearby structures. This is where Geographic Information Systems (GIS) comes in.

Using GIS technology to Improve Disaster Response Method

Most people view technological advancements as effective means to raise our lifestyles to more comfortable heights. Although most people view these benefits as luxurious and contemporary needs, technology can also supplement the most basic need of human beings: safety from natural disasters. 

GIS software allows urban planners to collaborate more efficiently and identify potential approaches to Comprehensive Emergency Management (CEM). Through CEM, it’s possible to have better projection models to assess spatial data to prepare for natural calamities. By collaborating with cloud GIS softwares, severe casualties and damage caused by natural disasters can be avoided.

In this article, we’ll share three ways in which GIS prevents potential disasters in geographically vulnerable areas.

1. Development of Mitigation Strategies

Mitigation strategies are necessary to prevent loss of life and property damages during natural disasters. This is why the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates with local governments, states, and even native tribes regarding short and long-term disaster management plans. 

By utilizing GIS software, it’s possible to present flood hazard mapping updates to create a Risk Map program. These updated and dynamic maps can identify potential flood risks in different regions. Since it’s possible to update the map as environmental conditions change, FEMA can publicly share these maps to reinforce up-to-date and effective emergency management strategies.

2. Anticipation of Natural Disasters

GIS software doesn’t just work for one specific institution; different sectors can greatly benefit from this new form of publicly-sourced data. For example, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) supports natural disaster responses by working with different disciplines. This includes coordinating with sectors of geology, real estate, biology, hydrology, and more. Since these specialists have niche backgrounds, it may be confusing to speak in one industry language that is inaccessible to others. For this reason, GIS software is readily accessible and easy to interpret even for non-technical users.

The USACE uses GIS software to communicate real-time information with different agencies and collaborate on time-sensitive missions. By sharing digital overlays of hydraulic models, consequences models, and flood inundation mapping, the affiliated institutions are aware of a specific area’s vulnerability to disaster. GIS provides a bridge to map different sciences and disciplines to work towards the common goal of saving lives and preventing harm to structures.

3. Information Dissemination

Incoming threats from natural disasters typically come from national mapping agencies and local news organizations. Unfortunately, if any of these institutions become compromised, the public will have a difficult time accessing information necessary for immediate emergency response. 

With technology continuously progressing, the accessibility of crowdsourced geographic data makes it easier to supplement authoritative sources. This allows different disaster response agencies to depend on other sources when traditional means of sourcing signs of incoming threats are unavailable.

Using Cloud GIS Software to Prevent Disasters

It’s a common misconception that digital and tangible innovations can’t work hand-in-hand. For example, most modern cars are equipped with smart sensors and prediction systems for better and safer practical use. This blending of software and hardware improves user experiences drastically. By interpreting and analyzing GIS data, urban planners, commercial property investors, and even small residential communities can prepare for natural disasters’ challenges.

With Ellipsis Drive, we provide professionals with the proper platform for sharing data to ensure the safety of different industry projects. Through our convenient digital tools, both technical and non-technical users can view, edit, and interpret geospatial data to craft more effective disaster response procedures. Create a free account now and learn how easy it is to simulate spatial data!

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