Using GIS in Emergency Response and Disaster Management

Esri offers the latest online information about wildfires happening in the US.

It is believed that the effects of global warming on temperature, precipitation levels and soil moisture are bringing us more natural disasters such as typhoons and wildfires. How could Geographic Information Systems (GIS) help us develop better contingency measures and ensure higher preparedness in emergency response? GIS-based Common Operational Picture (COP) would be the solution.

A COP can be used by the management personnel in emergency to access a collection of role-based applications used when responding to an incident or a disaster. It focuses on workflow and allows each group of first responders from different groups to access and contribute to a common operational dataset through a shared services catalog, which can be easily accessed by smartphones. To cite the example of California Wildfires happened in November 2018, the suffering is widespread as 48 people were killed, more than 130,000 acres was burned and 7,600 single-family homes were destroyed. Esri has created a real-time portal to help rescuers gain access to a live feed and sensor data through the Disaster Response Program. The portal also provides access to dashboards with multiple wildfire activity maps across the United States, including the California Fire Situation Awareness dashboard.

A map shows damaged or destroyed structures in wildfires.

A mega typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong and made massive damages in September 2018. A COP is important for the rescuers and officers to receive the latest information during and after a disaster as the government has mentioned the same in a paper submitted to the Legco for discussion that the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) will further develop the platform for various departments in relation to natural disasters.

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