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By : Sisi Z., Peter van O., Edward

Within the management of urban disasters, geo-information systems (GIS) are used in any of the phases of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery as most of the required data have a spatial component. Examples of GIS-based decision support systems on mitigation are found in simulation models of floods and earthquakes. In the preparation phase all kinds of spatial observations and models can be used to predict which areas will be threatened. To prepare for adequately responding in case of an actual disaster, these systems are capable of developing realistic scenarios that are used within training and virtual reality (VR) systems. During the actual response phase geo-information is used intensively: for getting an impression of the environment, for routing, for obtaining up-to-date information about the actual situation, etc. In the recovery phase, there is often a high public and political interest to judge the situation - comparing the pre- and post-disaster situation - and to set priorities for the rebuilding. Despite this potential of GIS-based support for urban disaster management, the use of these systems or even the utilisation of geo-information itself is still very limited in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The emergency management is usually done with paper maps that are seldom up-to-date. Useful systems to support decision makers in any of the phases of disaster management are nearly completely lacking. To improve the work of decision makers and rescue teams, different premises have to be archived in relation to: meta-information to provide insight on the availability and usefulness of the geo-information itself, the technical equipment of the rescue teams (i.e. communication devices and field computers), and the up-to-date information from the affected areas (images, observations, reports). This paper suggests a framework for "urban and urgent" disaster management to facilitate the work of police forces, fire departments, ambulances and government coordinators in disaster situations by extending and improving the utilisation of geo-information. Within a pre-disaster situation, geo-information support management further can assist planning for prevention and mitigation.
Keywords : Geo-Information, Geo-DBMS, Interoperability, Positioning, Urban Disasters

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