Author Topic: Utilization of Remote sensing and GIS in Managing Disasters A Review  (Read 4436 times)

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Author : C. Vijayaraghavan, Dr. D. Thirumalaivasan, Dr. R. Venkatesan
International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 3, Issue 1, January-2012
ISSN 2229-5518
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Abstract -  During the past five decades, natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes, severe storms and tropical cyclones, droughts, wild land fires, and also manmade disasters such as Nuclear disaster, oil spills, and terrorist attacks have caused major loss of human lives and livelihoods, the destruction of economic and social infrastructure, as well as environmental damages. Disaster reduction is both an issue for consideration in sustainable development agenda and a cross cutting issue relating to social, economic, environmental and humanitarian sectors. These important features have to analyze and there is a need to study. Though, in recent years the Open GIS technology standards have been developed by several agencies, which provide the basis for utilization of geographic information services, also gives an opportunity for data interoperability, data integration and data sharing between different emergency management agencies, However finding suitable services and visualization of geospatial information for decision makers is still a crucial task. Objective of this paper is to assess the state of art literature review in different methodologies of utilizing geospatial technology in managing both natural and manmade disasters dedicated by different authors and also to find new direction in this important area.

Index Terms: Natural disasters, Geographical Information system, man-made disasters, Nuclear disaster

A disaster is defined as a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss that exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. Disasters interrupt the society by claiming lives, creating victims and destroying infrastructures and houses. Disasters also have negative impacts on the environment as they affect natural resources. Therefore, considering society, economy and environment as the three main components of sustainable development, disasters have a negative impact on sustainable development which making appropriate management of disaster a necessity.

When a disaster occurs, funds and budgets that have been assigned for development purposes are diverted to respond to that disaster and returning quality of life to normal. It is estimated that 7080% of information is resolvable to geographic location, therefore the nature and characteristics of geographic information (GI), and the way in which it is used, is paramount in managing crises effectively. Therefore spatial data and related technologies have proven to be crucial for effective collaborative decision-making in disaster management. However, current studies show that although spatial data can facilitate disaster management, there are substantial problems with collection, access, dissemination and usage of required spatial data for disaster management. Such problems become more serious in the disaster response phase with its dynamic and time-sensitive nature.

   Disasters may be natural or manmade. Natural disaster like earthquake, flood, tsunami, etc will occur and it is not possible to prevent them. Nevertheless their effect on human health and property can be mitigated effectively if appropriate anticipatory measures based on Geospatial technology in a timely, coordinated manner is planned and implemented in each phase of operation like relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Earthquakes are caused by the motion of tectonic plates - individual sections that make up the earth's surface like panels on a football. Immense strain accumulates along fault lines where adjacent plates meet. When the rock separating the plates gives way, sudden seismic ground-shaking movements occur. The point where the seismic activity occurs is the epicenter, where the earthquake is strongest. The seismic waves usually travel out from the epicenters, sometimes creating widespread destruction as they pass. Earthquakes lead the list of natural disaster in terms of damage and human loss and they affect very large areas, causing death and destruction on a massive scale. Cyclones are the deadliest of all natural disasters worldwide associated with strong winds, storm surges, heavy precipitation and floods. The property damage caused by winds depends on quality of construction and maximum wind speed. Storm surges which are rapid increase in sea-level along the coast due to strong winds driving the water ashore cause maximum damage. When rain falls, it drains down from hillside to streams, along rivers and out into sea. When this rainfall is incessant, the land becomes saturated and the natural drainage system fails. The upper reaches of rivers quickly fill and force the excess water downstream. In the lower reaches water flows slower. Here the river swells and begins to break its banks. This results in flooding of the plains especially the low-lying flat wide areas in the lower reaches of a river.
A tsunami is a chain of fast moving waves caused by sudden trauma in the ocean. They can be generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruption or even impact of meteorites. Tsunamis are not tidal waves as they are not caused by changes in tides. They are most common around the edge of the Pacific, where more than half the world's volcanoes are found. These seismic surges can assault coastlines, often with little or no warning. Tsunamis are rare in the Indian Ocean. The tsunami of December 2004 started with an earthquake off the north Sumatra Coast which generated devastating tsunami waves affecting several countries in South East Asia. Landslides are frequent and annually recurring phenomenon in hilly areas. Outward and downward movement of mass, consisting or rock and soils, due to natural or man-made causes is termed as landslide. High intensity rainfall triggered most of the landslides. As long as landslides occur in remote, unpopulated regions, they are treated as just another denudation process sculpting the landscape, but when occur in populated regions; they become subjects of serious study. Most of the landslides occur due to exhaustive deforestation for the development of urbanization and plantation. In these areas rainwater directly penetrates into the soil and cause landslides.
Among the manmade disasters, probably the most devastating (after wars) are industrial disasters. These disasters may be caused by chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical or other process failures in an industrial plant due to accident or negligence, which may cause widespread damage within and/or outside the plant. The worst example globally was the Methyl Iso-cynate gas leak in 1984 from the Union Carbide Factory in Bhopal which has so far claimed more than 20,000 lives and injured few million personals besides stunting the growth of a generation born from the affected population. This disaster triggered a completely new legal regime and practices for preventing such disasters. With increased emphasis on power generation through nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear hazards has also increased. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been identified as the nodal agency in the country in respect of manmade radiological emergencies in the public domain. Nuclear facilities in India have adopted internationally accepted guidelines for ensuring safety to the public and environment. Apart from this there is also a threat of nuclear disaster through terrorist attack in any of the major cities in India. To overcome this kind of disasters proper decision support system is essential.
Most of the Natural and manmade Disaster management activities can be accomplished faster by the help of Geographic Information system (GIS), a computerized data base, analyze and visualization system of spatial data. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide a range of techniques which allow ready access to data, and the opportunity to overlay graphical location-based information for ease of interpretation.  They can be used to solve complex planning and management problems. The disaster management consists of three important phases as Pre disaster phase (planning, preparedness and mitigation), On-Disaster phase or impact phase (response, recovery, evacuation, etc.) and post disaster phase (Rehabilitation, damage Assessment, providing food and medical facilities, etc). All phases of emergency management (reduction, readiness, response and recovery) can benefit from GIS, including applications related to disaster management systems, a critical element in managing effective lifelines in an emergency. Considering GIS as underpinning technology for spatial technologies and its role in facilitating data collection and storage as well as facilitating decision-making based on spatial data processing and analysis, GIS is a good tool for improving decision-making for disaster management.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) - based methodologies are now being developed for disaster loss estimation and risk modeling. These data can be used not only for real - time damage assessment but also for long term planning of efficient land use measure and adoption of building codes (minimum construction standards) or retrofitting methods. The easy availability of such maps, which include details of infrastructure, roads, hospital, school, shelters, engineering structure etc. simplify disaster management and rehabilitation efforts.
In this paper, we survey the literature to identify potential research directions in disaster operations, discuss relevant issues, and provide a starting point for interested researchers. From the literature review it has been concluded the most of the authors worked on the following unique three phases of disaster.

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