Need for baseline data characteristics for GIS-based disaster management systems

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Title: Need for baseline data characteristics for GIS-based disaster management systems
Authors: Laefer, Debra F.
Koss, Alison
Pradhan, Anu
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Date: Sep-2006
Online since: 2010-08-09T14:20:54Z
Abstract: An effective disaster management system requires collection of baseline data that is comprehensive, accurate, timely, and accessible. Without these four characteristics, an effective, economical, and task-oriented disaster management system cannot be achieved. One of the major problems faced by New York City during the September 11, 2001 rescue operations was the lack of readily available, integrated data indicative of the city’s extensive and multi-layered infrastructure. Since a single repository containing above ground and subsurface information reflective of buildings, utility lines, and transportation networks was not available, data sets owned by various governmental and non-governmental organizations had to be collected prior to initiating any computer-based search and rescue operations (Flax et al. 2003, Huyck and Adams 2003). The enormity, complexity and temporal criticality of this task highlighted the acute and immediate deficits of currently available spatial information for disaster management. An effective system must integrate data for all facets of disaster planning and management, including photographs, architectural and structural drawings, current Geographic Information System (GIS) maps and text descriptions of major building features (e.g. building location, structural system, condition). All relevant data must be affiliated with a single GIS-based disaster management system. The value of developing a layered, integrated, GIS system for disaster management has long been recognized (Goodchild 1996). Yet, the extensiveness, inter-relatedness, and distributed ownership of America’s infrastructure directly taxes the limited resources of most communities to adequately maintain up-to-date and easily accessible knowledge of the most rudimentary aspects of their buildings, bridges, roads, and utilities. Beyond knowledge for maintenance, permitting, and zoning authorization, such information is essential for disaster management. To better track these substantial infrastructure needs, there is an ever-increasing reliance on computer tools and databases to better develop, use, and maintain computer systems. Specifically, infrastructure management information systems (IMISs) are being created with ever-greater rapidity, at all levels of the public and private sectors (Uddin and Engi 2002, Uddin et al. 2003). An IMIS is not simply an extended set of GIS layers, a database, a master city map, or an electronic warehouse of construction details, but instead a powerful new spatial analysis tool for disaster management with strong potential to impact the areas of urban planning, earthquake engineering, homeland security, and risk analysis. The IMIS, being a tool for preventative measures and improved mitigation methods, has the potential to lessen the impact for natural and man-made disasters (Rozdilsky 2001). A highly functional IMIS can query information both tabularly and graphically by assigning extensive attribute data to the graphical representations of the infrastructure elements through a multi-phase oriented database (Fig 1). Thus, a spatial query is possible for various items, such as identification of all buildings built before 1920, within a sub-geographical area, possessing more than five stories, and having cast iron balconies. The resulting subset can then be accessed as a list or in a two- or three-dimensional (3D) view. To achieve such a system, the IMIS must be designed and developed for a baseline, locational referencing system so that data, including text, drawings, maps, and photographs, as well as typical attribute data (e.g. geometry, material properties) can be positioned within its framework.
Funding Details: Other funder
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineers
Journal: Journal of Urban Planning and Development
Volume: 132
Issue: 3
Start page: 115
End page: 119
Copyright (published version): 2006 ASCE
Keywords: Disaster management systemIntegrated dataGeographic Information SystemInfrastructure management information systemsBaselineDatabase
Subject LCSH: Emergency management--Geographic information systems
DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9488(2006)132:3(115)
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Urban Institute Ireland Research Collection
Critical Infrastructure Group Research Collection
Civil Engineering Research Collection

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