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ICT And Disaster Risk Reduction: National And International Perspective

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Rapid urbanization and industrialization are leading to the environmental degradation such as deforestation. As a result natural disaster is becoming more extreme and the losses of lives and properties also increasing in a large amount. So, an effective step is necessary to minimize the effect of the extreme events. To mitigate the severity of the event needs timely and accurate information. To ensure the information in timely and accurately advanced technologies is needed. Some of them are traditional GIS, GPS, GNSS and other spatial technologies. Recently scientists focusing on the Web GIS and other internet based technologies as they are easily accessible and updateable.


Hazard is a natural event which interacts with the socio-economic factors and transferred into the disasters and harms communities normal activities and they need to take help from the outside of the community to deal with the situation. Because of fossil fuel burning and other activities disaster’s severity and frequency are increasing rapidly, such as, flood, fire, sea level, landslides etc. To save human being from the bad effect of these events, preventive measures need to take. Have to manage the disaster, disaster management have four phases which are mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. To manage disaster needs timely and accurate information but by using the traditional method (radio, television, etc. ) it is not possible. That’s why advanced technologies such as spatial information technologies including GIS, GPS, WebGIS, GNSS, VGI etc are using in various countries of the world. Except WebGIS and VGI others are traditional but these two are more advance and easily accessible. Web GIS is a common platform to share knowledge, innovation, technologies, ideas about the natural events. Here experts or other people related to the event could share their views. VGI is a citizen based information system, ordinary people shares their information about the event by using mobile cameras and sensors. It also linked with the other characteristics such as date and time, status, type, size, and available vehicles to help. Through the internet world is connected as a global village, as a result web based technologies will be explored more in near future and time long away as well.

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Problem Statement

Rapid urbanization, deforestation and use of fossil fuels increasing the global warming and which is leading to climate change. As a result climatic pattern is changing over world leading to frequent and severe disaster such as cyclone, flood, sea level rise, salinity intrusion. These events are leading to severe causalities such as loss of lives and properties. To save lives and properties from these events need proper disaster management efforts. In case of disaster management information availability and authenticity is very much necessary. To ensure this information and timely communication with other stakeholders information communication technologies is a vital source, such as, conventional technologies (radio, tv, etc) and advanced technologies (GIS, GPS, RS, Web GIS). Absence of the timely and available data will be leading to response delay which will lead to more damages and loss of lives.

Rationale of the study

There is no room of error in the disaster response. A few second late or miss-interpretation of the situation will be leading to more deaths and causalities as well as the damage of assets. To ensure timely and accurate decision or measures in disaster situation, timely and authentic information is needed. Considering this issue, purpose of the study is to know the scope of ICT in disaster management and its use in various countries of the world.

Literature Review

Manfré et al. (2012) have discussed in, “An Analysis of Geospatial Technologies for Risk and Natural Disaster Management” about the uses of various ICT systems over world which is mentioned below;

Natural Disasters are leading to billions of dollars in infrastructural damage and disruption in social and economic activities and brings trouble to human lives. Some advanced technologies such as GIS, GNSS and Remote-sensing are popular in disaster management. It works in all phases of disaster management. In pre-disaster phase it works with the mitigation and preparedness. Mitigation is the efforts which mitigate or reduce the vulnerability and preparedness is related with facilitating preparation before the event. Post disaster activities are divided into response and recovery. Response is done immediately after the disaster but recovery needs more time to return the community in normal life. It could be applied on landslide and flood prevention. For landslide some steps could be followed such as identification of the vulnerable areas. To identify standards and relationships between variables, remote sensing is used in GIS. Combination of geological, geomorphological and climatological information with risk assessment could be done to get important planning subsides. To analyze landslide, land cover map is used as layer in GIS comparing with the other layers such as topography, geology and geomorphology. Hydrological model and methodologies are used to explain the flood area scenarios and maps. Flash-flood and floods are mapped by the combination of morphological information with digital elevation models and hydrological models in GIS. Hydrological model integrated with real-time rainfall data to monitor rainfall. During the Tsunami in 2004 MODIS satellite image resolution was moderate. As a result land cover type determination was not possible, only rapid assessment of severe damage of land resources was possible. China used Beijing-1 satellite after earthquake to identify the land cover areas.

Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) and Phased Array Type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) data of earthquake area were analyzed to identify the landslides areas. GPS data was used to in prevention and management measures in natural disasters, as it provides precise geographic location information. To monitor geophysical phenomena such as landslides, earthquake, GPS techniques is popular. Sensing Node Network System is used in Japan and it is an example of detecting slow mass movements. During tsunami 2004, portable navigation receivers were used to map the tsunami in Escotra Island, Indian Ocean. Geo-pictures was used, it helps to get the missing information from the remote sensing. GIS, GNSS and Remote-sensing are used to gather information about the climate change, by collecting information about geological and geomorphological controlling factors. Aerial photography survey, Digital Elevation Model is integrated with the pre-disaster data for Response efforts.

The Importance of Web-Based Data-Sharing Systems to Facilitate Risk and Disaster Management

Spatial data and associated technologies are important to manage disasters effectively. One challenge in disaster management is data sharing. Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) made this easy to access in data by the experts and the institutions related to disaster management activities. SDI will produce, update and manage data in a web-based platform. It is mainly formed by the integration of different datasets. Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INS/PIRE) is for the European country to give access in the geo-information. Metadata is the most important part to use it in the management activities. SIAPAD (Andean Information System for Disaster Prevention and Relief) was developed in Colombia, is a pioneer system for sharing spatial information. Beside the traditional data such as remote sensing, GNSS and cartographic maps, non-professionals from the citizens who use internet are producing data. This is known as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) which is using in recovery efforts. They used GPS, phone cameras with sensors to provide data at the time of Hurricane Katrina.

Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in Natural Disasters

To identify affected areas, locate and recognize necessary objects, plan actions to mitigate the problem, and route rescues, relocations and the distribution of food/medicines to the affected areas, spatial data could be used. It makes the communication faster and reduces the time waste. During the earthquake in Haiti collaboration with civil society to generate map was possible because of advanced technologies such as, GPS, Web 2. 0 and mobile phones. It is produced by the general citizens, collectively and voluntarily and no qualification is required. Number of this type of webpage is increasing rapidly such as WikiMapia, OpenStreetMap, Mapufacture, GeoCommons, TerraWiki, FixMyStreet, and WhoIsSick, among others, this so-called wikification. It also covers four functions similar to GIS such as, data acquisition, storage, modeling and mapping/visualization.

In 2009, Fire took place in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Then the VGI generated information about the event immediately. They marked the fire with dots sign in the Google Maps API and it was connected to features such as date and time, status, type, size, and available vehicles to help among others. Brazil is currently distributing volunteer data on natural disaster through the internet. As there is a question about the quality of VGI data, so, it could be accessed through following a workflow. The conceptual model holds the following process: (1) Collection of data from various sources of social media, (2) Syntactic validation and formatting as per the necessity of later phases of processing, (3) Enhance the data with more information (4) Combination with SDIs available, and (5) Dispersal of data. Kelvin et al (2015) mentioned in, “ICT in Disaster Risk Reduction: The Kenyan Experience” about the viability of ICT tools in disaster risk reduction in Kenya by using Kenyan experience.

Research Gap

ICT Policy 2009 encourages enhancing Disaster Management to be transformed from conventional response and relief practice to a comprehensive risk reduction practice through using ICT. In spite of this, there is no clear defining aspect of ICT and emergency telecommunication into SOD (DMB 2010). So, there is a scope to work on it such as, how could ICT be integrated into SOD.


In case of disaster condition availability of timely information is important as like the food, water and medicine in that critical situation. It has a great contribution in early warning systems, catalyzing the process of preparedness, response and mitigation. Advance technologies such as GIS, RS contributes to ensure quality analysis of hazard vulnerability, capacity assessment as well as guide to development projects planning, helps to planners to select the mitigation measures.


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