Utilizing GIS maps are essential in emergency operations.

Emergency responders usually equate using maps to saving lives.

The first three parts of this article series kept us all abreast on how mapping applications have evolved to become one of the prime instruments in any case of emergency and disasters. We have learned how maps can assist disaster responders to emergency mitigation, preparedness and management.

Now here comes the last part, which is how mapping is essential in emergency response and recovery. Like all other core capabilities of emergency response teams, dealing with how disaster responders in recovery is equally important. This is the part where the plans and strategies which were plotted will be executed. One mistake and everything else will fail. That is why it is very important to strictly stick with the plans based from analyzing the geographical areas where a disaster hit.

Field Operations

One of great advantages of mapping  is that maps  can be shared to others thru an online system. Those involved in planning and strategizing can quickly share their thoughts to those responders who are engaged in field operations and vice versa. Thus, they can create a better system in helping people affected by any crisis.

Another great thing about GIS-based maps is that new data  can automatically be updated on the map for real-time reporting. Unlike using paper maps or traditional maps, emergency responders no longer need to repeat the process of drawing a new set of maps all over again.

Recovery Operations

Saving lives and assets are the primary goal of any emergency disaster responder. But when dealing with recovery operations, it is not enough that they have determination and strength. More than anything, they need to have quick thinking. What can help them achieve this is by understanding GIS maps.

Whether disaster responders deal with short-term or long-term recovery, GIS-based maps can be used in:

Collecting new data to understand the geography better
·         Assessing the impact brought by emergency situations
·         Determining where recovery resources can be obtained
·         Determining where and how recovery resources can be provided
·         Identifying here public assistance sites can be put up
·         Determining alternate transportation routes
·         Monitoring construction and re-construction efforts
·         Planning continuity plans for local government operations
·         Disseminating information

Now that we have already covered all core capabilities where maps are truly essential to emergency situations, we can now have a better insight where and when to apply mapping applications. Whether they are used in analyzing risk reduction and mitigation, in emergency preparedness or in management, we cannot stress enough how important maps are. We may not have any control of any natural disaster or man-made calamities. But as long as you utilize map usage accordingly, it can serve as your shield against many forms of damage that emergency situations may bring.