Introduction to Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) for Operational Planning and Decision Making in Disaster Risk Management
The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is sometimes called the “World’s Hazard Belt” as it is prone to disasters, from both natural and man-made hazards. Natural hazard under the group of Climatological (cyclones and droughts), Geological and Tectonic (earthquakes and tsunamis) and Hydrological (floods and tidal surges) origins are very frequent in the region. According to the UNESCAP, around 50% of disasters from natural hazards occurring in this region are climatogenic and seismogenic in nature.
During the past five years, the region experienced tsunamis and earthquakes in Indonesia, severe droughts in Madagascar, floods and landslides in India, seasonal cyclones in the Islands of the Indian Ocean, and many more calamities. The 2008 Super Cyclone in Myanmar and the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami will forever be etched in public memory. The loss of lives as well as the damage to property and the natural environment is incalculable. The domino effect on poverty, famine, societal imbalance and other resultant tragedies cannot be discounted. Management of disaster risks is particularly urgent in the IOR because it is home to small island nation states and developing littoral countries with high population densities, which are hit much harder due to the lack of resources and assets to handle the calamity. Moreover, the region is also witnessing an increasing link of natural hazards to climate change with increasing sea levels and rising water temperatures. Disaster Risk Management (DRM) is therefore an area of collective interest to IORA Member States. (cit. IORA/DRM)
Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) can be a very useful tool in support to the whole DRM cycle starting from the preparedness to response, recovery and reconstruction. GIT has proven to be efficient for implementing DRM activities at national, regional, and local scales. Quantifying risk and expected future losses are a key step in any DRM program. Also, the outputs and scenarios of a risk assessment contribute to structuring overall risk reduction policies and planning. Geospatial risk assessment can be performed with GIT tools and techniques which can quantify risk and identify the locations in need of risk reduction measures. The role of GIT does not stop there; in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, satellite based rapid response analysis enables the emergency response agencies to respond in a better and coordinated way.
For this regional 1-week training, brief introductory sessions on Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) will be delivered along with extensive hands-on practical sessions on relevant GIT applications identified through the initial training needs assessment (online survey). The introductory sessions will recall information from the first training related to the basic concepts and terminologies on Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) as well as introduce participants on the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software to identify, access, collect, organize and analyse geospatial data. The hands-on practical sessions will focus on GIT methodologies and preparation of outputs to support operational decision making in DRM.
At the end of the course, participants should be able to:
- Recall the basic concepts and terminology related to Geospatial Information Technology (GIT);
- Apply basic methods and functionalities of GIS software (QGIS) to manage and analyse spatial data;
- Identify, search, collect, organize geospatial data/information;
- Apply GIS methodologies and tools for improved DRM;
- Explain the advantages and limitations of using geospatial information in DRM; and
- Prepare support products and maps for improved DRM planning and decision making.
Modality: This is a 4-day full-time face-to-face technical training divided into 9 modules.
Expected Workload: 24 hours
This face-to-face course will consist of lectures and GIS lab exercises using GIS datasets and real case scenarios, whereas 70% of the training content will focus on lab exercises while 30% will be lectures and discussions.
The course is designed to accommodate no more than 40 participants consisting of selected regional experts from IORA Member States, GIZ, the IORA Secretariat and Dialogue Partners (subject to availability and at own cost). Nominees should have professional experience in DRM in their respective countries and have successfully completed the first part of the programme (online introductory course). No previous practical GIS experience is required to attend this course although some data and information management related experience may be useful.