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Thread: Question about relationship between GIS and disaster relief

  1. #1
    May 2011

    Question about relationship between GIS and disaster relief

    Questions: Although when I think of my interests (the U.S., Africa, or the Pac Islands) I'm unsure why I'd want to focus on Latin Amer. Is there a program that focusses more on the places I'm interested in, and more on GIS, which I would think would be needed for disaster relief?

    Concern: Need to take classes to boost my GPA to even apply for a BS program. Suggestions? My grades are not great! This feels pretty intimidating...

    "Masters in Community & Regional Planning": I don't see how I need planning. Am I wrong? Does everyone need it?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    I wondered if you might not be better served by a program in Human Geography or something similar. They have some overlap into disaster relief and, of course, use GIS extensively. In fact, when I searched "Human Geography Disaster Relief GIS," I found this article: https://titles.cognella.com/download.../sample_id/84/

    The link downloads a pdf document titled "GIS, Human Geography, and Disasters" and seems to focus largely on Katrina (though I did not read it). Anyway, a place to start. Check out the bibliography to see if it gives you some idea of what other fields overlap into disaster relief.

    My experience is that US planning schools are not really approach problems in the same way the international development community does (which would include disaster relief, displaced people, refugee issues, etc.) even though they deal with some similar issues.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Jul 2009
    Colo Front Range
    Quote Originally posted by LeeAnn View post
    and more on GIS, which I would think would be needed for disaster relief?
    Disaster planning and mitigation, not relief. The relief part would use info and analysis done in the planning part. Relief is about triage and mobility and stabilization.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    In the last few years I have been doing planning or economic development work within several disaster-impacted communities. This kind of work is not very different from planning elsewhere, although there is more work around what "used to be" versus creating new. For instance, do we return single family homes to the coast, or allow high-rise condos? Do we build a new downtown or try to recreate the old one? Cities grapple with questions about use, and may try to resolve long-standing problems since they can start with an almost-clean slate.

    Who does this work? Initially it is FEMA. Over time, FEMA personnel are replaced by private companies contracted to work with the community. These private companies do not only do this kind of work, though. They do all kinds of planning. Actually, the companies that get these contracts are most likely to be the big engineering firms who typically get rich off federal contracts. AECOM, HNTB, etc.
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