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  • Writer's pictureTreisTek

GIS in Disaster Management

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

3D GIS is an advanced technology and plays a vital role in modern disaster management. This technology combines geo-spatial data with hardware and software that can analyze spatial, temporal and attribute data which is utilized to produce important disaster related decision making information.

GIS application can be useful in the following activities

  • Creation of hazard inventory maps

  • Locating critical facilities

  • Creating and managing associate related database

  • Vulnerability assessment

When the disaster strikes, data has to be collected for both short-term and long-term objectives. To respond disaster scenarios 3D GIS executes in the phases of disaster management life cycle.


Using GIS, we can pinpoint hazards and begin to evaluate the consequences of potential disasters. When hazards like earthquake or flood or volcano are viewed with other map data such as streets, pipelines, buildings, power lines, and storage facilities, disaster management officials can begin to formulate mitigation, preparedness, response and other possible recovery needs.


Disaster mitigation is an effort to reduce the impact of hazards. GIS helps to gather the geological data to understand the extent of damage that may occur, facilities required to reinforce construction or relocation, and facilities available in high hazard areas. Mitigation targets on fire-safe roofing materials in wild land fire hazard areas. Values at risk are displayed quickly and efficiently through GIS.

GIS identifies specific slope categories in combination with certain species of flammable vegetation near homes that could be threatened by wildfire. It also identifies certain soil types in and adjacent to earthquake impact zones where bridges or overpasses are at risk. With the help of GIS, the likely path of a flood based on topographic features or the spread of a coastal oil spill based on currents and wind are discovered.


Actions that are taken before the disaster to prepare for response and recovery come under this phase. At this phase, a lot of entities involve in the development of plans, finalize the strategies to protect the lives, reduce infrastructural damage and improve critical disaster response time. The hazard forecasting, early warning, training program for native people on how to tackle the disaster, relief, rescue and rehabilitation are planned here.


3D GIS is a disaster response tool. Aerial photographs, UAV, satellites and immediate disaster site survey are the available real-time data in response phase. This will further combine with existing site data set to create an updated 3D disaster simulation model with the layers of various emergency services.

Disaster plan is designed to protect life and property, and control secondary damages occurring due to the disaster. 3D GIS based disaster model rapidly evaluated with various assessment tools and an updated disaster plan is presented to deal with current calamitous situation.


Recovery phase comes after disaster. It can be short-term or long-term. In this phase, the activities concentrate on bringing people back to their original or normal life. Recovery starts with initial recovery which satisfies basic personal and community needs. Long term recovery plan covers reconstruction operations and rehabilitation measures.

GIS along with GPS locates each damaged facility, identifies the type and amount of damage, and begin to establish priorities for action. Long-term recovery restores all services to normal or better. GIS assists in identification and provides accountability of funds allocated for recovery.

GIS helps to accelerate the recovery process efficiently and helps safety teams, residents and businesses to be back on their feet. The thoughtful application of a GIS can take much of the panic and surprise out of disasters.

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