Innovating with spatial data
When a major disaster strikes a developing country, it is important to estimate the impact from the disaster quickly to prepare for recovery. Spatial Impact Assessment (SIA) can be undertaken to obtain rapid assessments of the impact prior to, or in parallel to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) undertaken in the field by the government that is supported by the UN, EU, and the World Bank. Apart from generating a first-order impact estimate, the results from the SIA can also be used to validate the outputs from the PDNA.
Over the years, the SIA team has established relationships with worldwide organizations that can produce post-disaster spatial data that range from:
- satellite (optical, radar) data
- aerial photography
- Digital Elevation Models (DEM)
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imagery
The SIA team also works with scientists that have developed methodologies to assess the hazard impacts, as well as volunteer organizations that can facilitate crowdsourced damage assessments and social media analysis. These partnerships allow the SIA team to continuing advancing and adjusting the methodology to align with new technologies.
Choosing the optimal partners and methodologies
A few different country conditions affect how the SIA team undertakes an assessment:
- Pre-event data availability
- The country’s existing capacity to handle geospatial data
- The country context,
- The nature of the event
Working with different data producers and value-adding organizations, the SIA team facilitates the assessment of direct, physical damage to cash crops, transportation assets (roads, bridges), forestry, and the housing sector using these spatial datasets.
Photo credit: Banner image, European Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR),; Thumbnail on Initiatives page, NASA
- Conference: Geo-information Technologies for Natural Disaster Management & Earth Observation for Global Changes (EOGC 2015)
- 3rd International Training Workshop on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation
- 2016 Understanding Risk Forum
- OpenStreetMap volunteers map Typhoon Haiyan-affected areas to support Philippines relief and recovery efforts
- Advanced satellite software takes guesswork out of predicting flood risk, yields & forest protection
- Understanding Risk in an Evolving World – Emerging Best Practices in Natural Disaster Risk Assessment (Publication)
- Drones and Aerial Observation – New Technologies for Property Rights, Human Rights, and Global Development (Publication)
- Understanding Risk in an Evolving World – A Policy Note (Publication)