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Web-GIS applications in Disaster Management - application to the Tsunami

Athar Siddiqui Ragini Bhate J G Krishnayya Systems Research Institute Pune 411037 <info@sripune.org> <www.sripune.org>

Presented at:

National Seminar on GIS application in Rural Development with focus on Disaster Management at NIRD, Hyderabad - 9-11 March, 2005

Tsunami - a massive Disaster

 Equivalent to impact of several Cyclones  Took away thousands of lives  Destroyed many many houses  Left the survivors on a long road for rehabilitation

Tsunami What is it?


 Tsunami is a Japanese word which means ` harbour wave . They are generated when the ocean floor shifts vertically, usually due to an earthquake.  When a shift in the ocean floor displaces the water above, the body of water travels as a huge wave to regain the equilibrium.  In deep water, a tsunami can travel at ~700 km/hr, but it gets slower near the coast and water mass rises up to 50m.

Destruction caused by Tsunami

Taken from: TOI Dec 27, 04

A tsunami can strip coasts of sand, uproot trees, wipe out towns. Traveling 100s of meters inland, it can flood coastal towns

We couldn t stop it, but we can provide relief as fast as possible be prepared for such calamities so as to minimize the destruction and repair the damage and restore livelihoods

What specifically can we do?

GIS comes into the picture


We know that any planning and management process requires data as a support to take decision. If the data is on paper or even in computers in tabular format, it can t be as useful as data represented on maps because this can enable us to create various thematic analyses ad hoc. It is said that A Picture is worth a Thousand Words

Need of Web GIS in Disaster management


Accessibility and dissemination of timely and accurate information Centralized Control: A web GIS can disseminate information from a control room which can reach everyone. Authenticity and accuracy are guaranteed. Only one map needs to be maintained at the server. Changes made in the map are reflected everywhere No need for a GIS Software with the users No need for training the users in GIS Instant Feedback and updation: The current status can be updated from moment to moment
Web-based GIS play a vital role in this aspect providing timely and right information to the concerned people and the emergency managers for taking necessary actions

Next few slides show the creation of base maps and showing different features in different layers

[The map used in this example was made by the French Institute, Pondicherry in 2000, under a UNFPA project on Population in South India]

Villages shown in Red are the most affected ones because they are about 5 km away from the coast. Villages shown in Blue can provide help to the affected region as they lie within 5 to 10 km belt from the coast.

A base map showing the coastal region.

Map-Querying, ad-hoc, on-line


Important information of the map objects can be instantly accessed by placing the cursor on the objects.

Categorizing Villages

Possible Shelters

Hospitals and medical facilities

Point-and-Click shows the medical balance. Before the event, only the resources would be shown. After the event we would update the Patients field. More points would be added as and when emergency clinics and First Aid posts are set up.

8-Km Isochrone around Hospital

The 2x2 km grid cells give an idea of the geographical distribution of Population. (Gives an idea of the potential number of refugees.)
(map created using the GC-GeoMiner module; size of grid is up to the user)

Over-served and underserved areas. (In this case for Medical centres - we need some more emergency clinics.) The same analysis could be done for Food godowns and distribution centres, etc.

A 1 km Buffer Zone around Creeks / river beds; locations requiring study

59 Villages are found to be in the 1 km x 12 km buffer up the river beds.

Hosting the maps on the Internet

A Web GIS

All screen-captures were made with MS Internet Explorer. There is no use of a GIS at the user-site. We could be using a PC-based, laptop-based or palmtopbased browser.

Maps on a web browser on a Palmtop

These pictures show a simulated GeoConcept Pocket GIS working on the Compaq palmtop. We are, however, recommending that the palmtop be used with only a browser.

The base-map. Each button is labelled. Clicking on it will bring up a specific map.

Result of pressing the Medical Facility button

Service Area of a Hospital

We spelled out the name of a village; the map was recentred on that village; we clicked on it and the attribute-data appears below.

Quick Navigation on the map

Various positions on the map can be saved which can be accessed with a single mouse click

Viewing a map at different zoom levels : More features may


appear as you zoom in.

Possible Shelters

The High Schools, Middle Schools etc. and other Pucca constructions can be identified. They can be potential shelters.

Villages which are far from the coast might still be affected because they are near the rivers. A 1-Km buffer on each side of the river bed.

Showing the Population density by using a Grid can be useful in identifying what are likely to be the worst-affected areas

These areas are densely populated and are very near the coastline

The slides shown are only a few examples of using GIS especially WEB-GIS - in Disaster Management with special reference to Cyclones and the Tsunami. A similar case could be made for GIS-aided management of other natural disasters, such as Earthquakes and monsoon flooding. Effective use of GIS in advance of any actual event enables one to plan the pre-deployment of things in the right place telecom equipment, shelters, medicine, jeeps; also to micro-manage information in the post-disaster period - identify the most vulnerable locations; direct traffic onto the routes that are open, etc.; and finally to provide monitoring and evaluation support in the long-term for rehabilitation.
Systems Research Institute
17-A Gultekdi, Pune-37 www.sripune.org e-mail:geoconcept@vsnl.com Ph# 020-24260323