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Mapping Aids in Emergency and Disaster Management (Part 2)

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

Geographical maps are necessary tools in times of calamities and disasters.

With proper data collaboration thru map usage, disaster responders can effectively prepare for any emergency situation.

From the previous article we have detailed the invaluable benefits of using geographical maps for emergency situations. Emergency preparedness is something that can be done effectively with proper collaboration of data and communication between emergency responders. This article exclusively explains the key role of maps in disaster management such as natural disasters or unforeseen events.

During those times, disaster respondents need organization and collaboration. And geographic maps are fit for the purpose. GIS-based maps help them unearth each layers that the data are telling them and collaborate as a response team.

Geographic Approach That Management Applies

Emergency responders face many different challenges. Having a geographic approach in managing emergency situations and natural disasters may be a bit difficult if the team has not systematic approach to respond. Mapping data leads them to plan ahead, analyze the situation, and quickly respond even right before calamities may impact a location.

Below are the core capabilities of emergency management where maps are instrumental:

Data Management

This is the planning stage. Each member of staff is responsible to collect huge amounts of data relevant to the disaster or emergency situation. Data are collated and entered onto an Excel spreadsheet. It contains pertinent information for disaster response such as the name of the location, population, latitude and longitude, bay areas, and others. Once the data is already geocoded on a map, responders can now easily see the big picture telling them different stories about the location.

Data Analysis

Each map layer has a significant story to be told. When analyzed layer by layer, disaster respondents are able to plan accordingly. They can now draft their action plans step by step concerning:

·         Preparedness

·         Mitigation

·         Response

·         Recovery

Developing a comprehensive emergency management also includes risk and hazard analysis so the entire team can do their utmost to effectively respond and quickly recover in the shortest time possible.

Execution of Plan

This is where important data is turned into actionable intelligence. Understanding how geographical locations can be affected and what routes to take in cases of emergency can be easily done when data visualization is present. Once every layer is understood, each member of emergency teams and disaster response units are now able to execute accurate series of actions even before a disaster impacts the area. They should already be able to assign tasks by identifying the supplies needed, and then collecting those supplies and disseminating information


Disaster response units and staff face a challenging role when it comes to emergency operations. All updates coming from the headquarters should be communicated and shared with all members of the public safety team especially those in location. Maps shared on the internet and even on mobile phones are really helpful compared to paper maps. GIS maps can be updated real-time for better communication among members. Collaboration of ideas can also be done in a more efficient way.

The next part of the series will be dealing on how mapping is instrumental to Emergency Mitigation. How many properties and investments are at risks? How many lives are at stake? What can emergency responders deal with impending crisis in such short a time? These and more will be tackled next.



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