Mapping saves lives and properties during emergency situation

Understanding the geographical location will give you insights for better emergency preparedness

A map is an awesome application that has been widely used by different organizations. When it comes to public safety, industry leaders still found that GIS-based mapping is integral especially when it comes to managing emergency situations and natural disasters. With data visualization, teams of disaster respondents are able to quickly respond even before a disaster hits a certain area. Thus, we can say that by effectively using maps, lives and resources are saved.


Mapping – Important Tool in Emergency Responsiveness


Many industries believe that 2012 is the year of GIS. This is believed to be so because more and more people today have gone to appreciate geographical information system especially when it is use in line with mapping technology. This same technology has been applied by public safety organizations before, during and after an emergency situation hits. There are four main avenues where this technology has proved to be very instrumental – Preparedness, Management, Risk Mitigation and Response and Recovery.


We will begin tackling the first avenue, probably the backbone of every emergency responsiveness teams – Emergency Preparedness. The following articles will deal with other main avenues where maps are used by public safety and local government units.


Emergency Preparedness


Preparation before a disaster hits an area is challenging. After all, this is where you can find the first steps of planning. Before GIS technology has come to be widely accepted, most departments in public safety had wasted government investments, time and effort to create plans that eventually proved to be inaccurate. The result always brought frustrations both to the affected areas as well as to disaster responders.


When they started to use mapping applications they found out that they have saved lives – both their own staff and that of others, natural resources and public and private properties. There are ways where mapping helps in emergency preparedness.


Data Management


Since maps used are based on data found in Excel spreadsheets, managing data becomes easier. Computers can store even big bulks of data. When there is a need to update a file, maps can be updated instantly as well. In this way, cataloging every columns or headers of the data is more accurate.


Situational Awareness


Mapping does not only mean understanding the geographical location but it is also responsible in providing awareness to people involved. Situational awareness can be done by different agencies and departments. Communication is thus enhanced. With better communication, deployment of emergency supplies and equipment can be easily optimized.


There are trusted online mapping solution providers that can be utilized by each department. As the staff is on the go, no longer will they be carrying paper maps. Instead, they can have their maps available on their laptops, computers or even in their mobile devices. The result is a more organized department among the staff.


In the next parts of this 4-part article, we will be discussing more reasons why map utilization is important in emergency situations. You may have asked yourself a couple of times before: What’s the systematic approach used by public safety departments to effectively apply GIS data? Do they follow a comprehensive cycle  for emergency situations? The answers will be dealt with in the next parts.