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How GIS Can Help in Natural Disasters, Health, and Climate Change

GIS laters diagram Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have revolutionised our ability to understand and respond to some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system that analyzes and displays geographically referenced information. It uses data that is attached to a unique location.

From its crucial role in the management of public health emergencies and natural disasters to their application in climate change research, GIS offer an invaluable perspective that transcends disciplinary and geographical barriers.

This news article delves into the multifaceted influence of GIS, in line with the annual celebration of GIS Day, highlighting its importance and global application.

Image source Wikiversity:

Innovation in Response to Health Emergencies and Natural Disasters

The adoption of GIS by organisations such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has marked a before and after in the response to public health emergencies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GIS was fundamental in mapping the spread of the virus, analysing trends, and directing resources to the most affected areas. flood map

The ability to visualise the prevalence and transmission of the virus in real-time has been essential for formulating effective intervention and mitigation strategies.

Furthermore, the utility of GIS extends beyond health emergencies, proving to be equally vital in the management of natural disasters.

Specific tools developed for the prevention and management of these disasters allows the real-time identification of areas exposed to natural threats such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods.

The integration of scientific and official data from organisations like NOAA and USGS, along with information on populations and critical locations, such as hospitals, has optimised disaster preparedness and response in the Americas region.

image source: USGS×571.jpg

About the use of GIS in Climate Change

In the field of climate change research, GIS has provided a lens through which we can examine the complexity of our planet. Researchers from disciplines such as geography, geology, ecology, oceanography, and meteorology have adopted GIS to collect and analyse remote sensing data, revealing crucial patterns and trends in the fight against climate change. data dashboard image

Climate change is currently characterised by an increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature and the intensification of extreme weather events. It represents one of the greatest global challenges of our time.

GIS allows scientists to monitor these changes with unprecedented precision, facilitating the analysis of large data sets to identify trends, assess impacts, and predict future climate scenarios.

GIS also plays a key role in the development of mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change.

Climate change mitigation means avoiding and reducing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to prevent the planet from warming to more extreme temperatures.

Whereas climate adaptation means taking action to prepare for and adjust to the current and projected impacts of climate change.

For example, GIS enables the modelling of the impact of different land use policies on carbon sequestration. It allows the assessment of the viability of renewable energy projects. It offers tools to visualise the potential impact of sea-level rise on coastal communities. Additionally, GIS tools provide a platform to effectively communicate the risks and solutions of climate change to a global audience, including policymakers, urban planners, and the general public.

Image source: Teaching the Future Project

Looking to the Future: GIS and Sustainable Development

GIS mapAs years pass, the integration of GIS into decision-making related to sustainable development becomes increasingly critical and widespread.

GIS not only allow us to visualise and understand current challenges more effectively, but it also offers a solid foundation for future planning. This includes everything from natural resource management and biodiversity conservation to urban planning and emergency response.

The ability of GIS to integrate and analyse data from multiple sources and at various scales makes it an indispensable tool for addressing sustainable development goals.

The transformative impact of GIS on our society is undeniable. As we face increasingly complex environmental and public health challenges, GIS emerges as an essential tool in our arsenal.

Image source Wikimedia Commons: