Disaster Management Practices Using ArcGIS, ArcIMS, ArcSDE and Sql
Emergency management is a dynamic process. Emergency preparedness for disaster management is the process of preparing, mitigating, responding, and recovering from any emergency situation. Individuals and organizations responsible for emergency management use different tools to save lives reduce human suffering and preserve economic assets before, during and after any catastrophic event. But nowadays, correct and timely information is a critical part of any successful emergency management program. The unique tool for emergency purpose is a web enabled Geographic Information System (GIS), which could provide accurate and timely information.
Generally, disasters are characterized by the scope of an emergency. An emergency becomes a disaster when it exceeds the capability of the local resources to manage it. Disaster is an event “… meeting at least one of the following criteria: kills 10 or more persons; affects 100 or more persons; leads to a declaration of state of emergency; or leads to call for international assistance.” Disaster also involves humanitarian emergency, humanitarian actions, mass causalities etc. Effective disaster management requires rapid decisions and actions on behalf of relief workers. The scope of disasters is large (in terms of the number of people affected) and also the most important thing is the lack of resources to manage disasters.
Disaster management in developing countries exists within a complex political, social and economic environment, where a coherent and coordinated approach can be difficult to implement. As such, large-scale high magnitude – low frequency disasters will continue to overwhelm local disaster managers, prohibiting effective management, particularly during the response phase. Although most natural disasters cannot be prevented, disaster losses can be minimized when appropriate actions are taken which utilize the latest technology and real-time spatial data/information. Through GIS and remote sensing we can make data / information available, and answer questions concerning the spatial and temporal dimensions for disaster management.
In today’s information technology disaster management rely on IT tools such as GIS, electronic mail, document sharing, web and database access. GIS database can be accessed for damage assessment or to locate critical infrastructure such as chemical facility that needs to be inspected and secured. High resolution images or video sent in a real-time situation from a remote location can allow experts to assess damage. Henceforth, GIS integrated with IT presents significant opportunities to greatly improve the effectiveness of emergency management.
Recently, the internet is gaining popularity as a mechanism that can facilitate the exchange of information/data (spatial and non-spatial) in time to warn a disaster. Initiatives such as the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) provide evidence of the importance and the value of disaster – related information, as well as the need to obtain and share it effectively. The aim of GDIN is to “provide the right information, in the right format, to the right person, in the right time to make the right decision” (GDIN, 2005). Spatial decision support systems, commonly considered as application specific software solutions (Rinner, 2003), are used in solving complex spatial problems where alternative decisions needs consideration. Wellar (1990) and Crossland et al. (1995) showed that the use of GIS as a type of Spatial Disaster Support System (SDSS) reduced the decision time and increased the accuracy of individual decision-makers, while Peng and Tsou (2003) the power and benefits of GIS. Integrating these technologies in an online, GIS based SDSS has the potential to increase the use and accessibility of spatial data, as well as the accuracy and efficiency of decision making, thereby improving the effectiveness of disaster response.
Hence for emergency preparedness and disaster management, GIS domains such as ArcGIS, ArcIMS, SQL Server and ASP were integrated and explored. Modules pertaining to emergency management were also developed by integrating the knowledge of experts, managers, programmers and developers, web enabled GIS techniques were used to manage nuclear, chemical, natural and many other disasters. These web enabled GIS based applications provides salient features for hazard alert, emergency response, emergency management, leverage investment, facilitates emergency alerts, periodic situational updates, community notifications, service disruptions, interagency coordination, e-Government solution and so forth.
Results and Discussion
Web Technology for Emergency Management
GIS system integrates ArcGIS, ArcIMS, SQL Server and ASP domain networks to form a we-based emergency preparedness / management system. Both spatial and non-spatial were kept in GIS database. Coding for information retrieval, search capability, feature extraction were carried using ArcIMS and ASP. All the Objects, Methods, Modules and Components available within the software environment were utilized effectively, coded and programmed. The application is developed as a web enabled GIS on Microsoft Windows Platform. In all the applications for disaster management, Maps are the primary output of the system which, when displayed on computer screens, are more dynamic, potential and versatile (Alexander, 1991). This system complies with Coppock (1995) who points out that the technological developments intended for use in developing countries must be kept simple, considering the skills (both technical and bureaucratic) and resources available. The tools available in the webGIS applications and its features towards emergency management are formulated similarly.
The Author is a Project Manager in Stesalit Inc.
Park Management in Ghana Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) And Remote Sensing Technology (African Studies)
This book provides information for effective management of natural resources, especially national parks using GIS and remote sensing technologies to guide policy development in managing protected areas of Ghana. Some lessons and constraints are drawn from developed and developing countries to understand how GIS and remote sensing technologies could assist with park management.
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