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Technology and Innovation in a Crisis

The power of Geographic data in Disaster Response

Disaster Response Management (DRM) is the Coordination, assessment, planning, and swift action to mitigate and address the impact of disasters on communities, infrastructure, and environment.  DRM is broken down into four key phases:  Prevent, Prepare, Respond and Recover.

Geographic Information Systems/Services (GIS) is the technology that combines geographical information with different types of data, allowing organisations to visualise, analyse, and interpret data related to specific places.  The Geospatial "language" can be broken down into six key areas:  


Understanding Where, Measuring Size, Shape, and Distribution, Determining How Places Are Related, Finding the Best Locations and Paths, Detecting and Quantifying Patterns and Making Predictions.

GIS and geospatial analysis are indispensable tools for decision makers dealing with the humanitarian response to disasters. They enhance and enable data driven, evidence based decision-making, improve resource allocation and collaboration across the four phases.


GIS enables organisations to assess and map disaster risks by analysing factors such as terrain, climate, population density, and vulnerability.

Geospatial data allows for the creation of early warning systems. By monitoring indicators like crop health, rainfall patterns, and population density, humanitarian agencies can anticipate future crises and take preventive measures.

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GIS assists in allocating resources effectively. It helps identify suitable locations for food distribution centres, emergency shelters, and medical facilities.

Geospatial analysis tracks supply chains, including food distribution routes, storage facilities, and transportation networks. This ensures timely delivery of aid during disasters.

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GIS provides real-time situational awareness. Humanitarian workers can visualise affected areas, assess damage, and prioritise response efforts.

Geospatial data helps target aid where it is most needed. For example, mapping malnutrition rates allows agencies to focus on areas with high vulnerability.

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Geospatial analysis identifies livelihood opportunities. For instance, mapping suitable agricultural land helps farmers resume food production.

By analysing historical data, GIS informs long-term resilience strategies. It helps communities adapt to climate change, improve land use, and enhance food security, for example.

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Learn More

Here you can see explanations of how GIS and geospatial analysis can help at each phase of Disaster Response. From understanding where something is right through to predicting the future.

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