Geospatial Community Aid Emergency Management

In an article from ArcNews Online entitled “Geospatial Responses to Disasters: The Role of Cyberspace”, the role of the internet, online users, and geographic information systems become integrated to help bring disaster relief to those who most need assistance.  With natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis becoming more frequent, national and international emergency management teams are looking for ways to be better prepared and better respond to victims by utilizing new and upcoming technologies. Cyberspace offers methods to strengthen emergency response with digital databases and geospatial technologies. The cooperation between technology and input from online communities, or public participatory technologies, can provide valuable information and data visualization of up to date reports on relief efforts.

“Increasingly, cyberspace plays a role in geospatial responses to disaster in the following ways: (1) revealing the role of virtual communities in disseminating information via new and innovative means (e.g., mobile phones, mashups, crowdsourcing); (2) illuminating the need for interdisciplinary approaches to address disasters where geospatial approaches and technologies are at the forefront; (3) identifying efforts to improve communication through spatial data; and (4) developing long-term strategies for recovery efforts, risk reduction, restoration, and monitoring programs” (ArcNews Online).

Despite its various advantages, there are still other challenges that lie ahead of full implementation. These challenges include: the lack of universal accessibility, data availability, data validity, inconsistent evidence-based performance, and many others.

For more information or to view the full ArcNews article, click here.

Information and picture taken directly from:

ArcNews Online (http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/summer10articles/geospatial-responses.html)

Gretchen Grajo, VERTICES intern

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