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World appl. programming, Vol(5), No (6), June, 2015. pp.

101-104

TI Journals

World Applied Programming


www.tijournals.com

ISSN:
2222-2510
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved for TI Journals.

A Review of Geospatial Data in Management of Natural Disasters


Mohammadali Shorbi *
School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Islamic Azad University, Maybod Branch, Iran.

W.M.A. Wan Hussin


Professor of Geomatic Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
*Corresponding author: mohammadali_shorbi@yahoo.com

Keywords

Abstract

Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI)


Natural disaster management
Geospatial Information System (GIS)
E-government

The use of geospatial data and related technologies has increased rapidly in strengthening natural disaster
management and play a vital role in decision making and post-disaster activities (response, rehabilitation and
reconstruction). Thus is necessary to increase transparency in terms of decision makings as it contributes to
better governance. Taking that in consideration, there are however, substantial problems with regard to data
availability, accessibility, dissemination and usage of geospatial data for post-disaster activities. Based on
this situation, the goal of this study is to review the impact of Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) as a
framework for facilitating natural disaster management. The use of geospatial data for the design and
implementation of a GDI model as a framework and consideration of GDI development factors as a solution
to improve the quality of decision-makings and increase efficiencies and effectiveness at all levels of natural
disaster management and its contribution to the efficient administration of natural disasters have been argued
and discussed at all levels. The results obtained from this study have shown that development of GDI and
practical utilization of geospatial data in natural disaster management moreover improving, reinforcement
and facilitate the management of natural disaster, can lead to financial feedbacks, establishment of close
relations between academic and industrial centers, improvement of management, creation of new businesses
and facilitating the achievement of e-government.

1.

Introduction

Natural disaster management, especially decision-making and coordination of post-disaster activities (response, rehabilitation and
reconstruction) can be improved and facilitated by the practical use of geospatial data and related technologies. Geospatial Information System
(GIS) has been used as the technology for the reinforcement and facilitating post-disaster activities by decision-makers, using the features of
geospatial data processing and analysis. As a matter of fact, the organization involved such as the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) can have
better decision-making during disaster and post-disaster using GIS technology. Therefore, there is a need for geospatial data sharing between
involved organizations and EOC for coordinated decision-making and related activities. In this regard, with attention to time-sensitive nature of
disaster and the need for high interaction between decision-makers, exchange and data sharing should be conducted through a network (e.g.
Geoportals and web-based GIS systems) in order to occur at the minimum of time. The goal of this study is to review the impact of geospatial
data infrastructure and related technologies as a framework for reinforcement and facilitating natural disaster management. It is proven at various
levels that the use of geospatial data for the design and implementation of a Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) model as a framework and its
consideration of GDI development factors is a solution to improve the quality of decision-makings and increase efficiencies and effectiveness at
all levels of natural disaster management and contributing to the efficient administration of natural disasters.

2.

The Concept of Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI)

The concept of Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) has first emerged in the mid-1980s around the need for cooperation and sharing of
spatially-related information across a nation [16].
The term Geospatial Data Infrastructure is often used to denote the relevant collection of technologies, policies and institutional arrangements
that facilitates the availability of and access to spatial data [4].
GDI provides a basis for geospatial data discovery, evaluation and application for users and providers within all levels of government,
commercial sector, non-profit sector, academia and citizens in general [4]; [17].
Taking this into consideration, the purpose of GDI is to share location-based digital geo data that are is existence in many areas of public
administration and the economy via internet services. A GDI includes the rules, laws, standards and the data that are used to improve the
accessibility of geospatial data. A GDI does not only contain the technical communication regulations for data models and interfaces between
developers, providers and users; it contains the entire political, technical and organizational measures to provide geo data and to access and
exchange them. For instance:

In Germany, the Geospatial Data Infrastructure North Rhine-Westphalia (GDI-NRW) that was a 3-year initiative of the Land North
Rhine-Westphalia started in January 2000. Its overall aim was to develop the North Rhine - Westphalia market for geographic
information [22].

In USA, discussion about National SDI started around 1989 primarily in the academic community and then progressed rapidly after the
Executive Order was issued from the Presidents Office in 1994 [5]; [5].

In Australia, the initial activity towards SDI development began in 1984 around the national land-related initiatives and was
progressing rapidly since 1996 when the Australia Spatial Information Council ANZLIC, defined the Australia SDI conceptual
model in a discussion paper [3].

In Malaysia, the Malaysia Geospatial Data Infrastructure (MyGDI) was an initiative by the government to develop a geospatial data
infrastructure to enhance the awareness about data availability and improve accessibility to geospatial information. This can be

Mohammadali Shorbi *, W.M.A. Wan Hussin

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World Applied Programming Vol(5), No (6), June, 2015.

fulfilled by facilitating data sharing among participating agencies. At present, the coordinating organization that manages the
expansion and implementation of national spatial data infrastructure is the Malaysian Centre for Geospatial Data Infrastructure
(MaCGDI) that was formed in 2002 under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to promote the expansion and
implementation of Malaysian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (MyGDI) through facilitating the sharing and exchange of geospatial
information between data and services providers using the latest online and information communication technologies [18].

3.

Geospatial Information for Natural Disaster Management

The role of geospatial information on natural disaster management has been well known throughout the world. One of the challenges relates to
accessibility and the use of such reliable, accurate and up-to-date geospatial information for natural disaster management. This is a very
important aspect to post-disaster activity as timely, up-to-date and accurate geospatial information describing the current situation is paramount
to successful respond to an emergency [19].
Information and communication are of fundamental requirements for disaster management [1]. In this regard, the need to process accurate
disaster information and effective communication has been documented as critical elements of disaster relief operations [23].
Information is vital, since they are the first and most critical input for any planning and decision making for all phases of disaster management.
Information sharing is important as coordination is conducted through good communication, owing to the basis of information sharing and
exchange. Without effective communication, it is impossible to share information and therefore plan/act in a coordinated manner.
The Main Challenges in Using Geospatial Data
One of the main challenges in the management of natural disaster would be the collection, dissemination, access and usage of geospatial data.
Due to the dynamic nature of events, decision makers need to be updated on the current emergency situation, which calls for regular data
collection on the emergency situation. However, because of the diversity of required datasets for post disaster activity, especially disaster
response on one side, and time-sensitive nature of them, which requires availability and accessibility of datasets to decision-makers in the
minimum period of time on the other side, individual organizations by themselves or just one responsible organization cannot collect all the
datasets required for post disaster activity. Thus, data collection needs to be conducted through collaborative efforts of different organizations,
like mapping agencies and the organizations involved in natural disaster management and then sharing the collected data.

4.

Partnership Model for Geospatial Data Collection and Sharing

Geospatial data needed for decision-makers will always be available and accessible, via the combined efforts of organizations involved in data
collection and sharing. In this regard, the problem with datasets integrity and their applicability in decision-makers systems can be resolved by
using common standards and suitable interoperability models.
Although a partnership model for geospatial data collection and sharing can resolve the problems with regard to collection, access and
dissemination of the geospatial data required for natural disaster management, the outcomes of the primary studies show that there are currently
substantial problems for this partnership to find its optimum. The major problems hampering such partnership effort in data collection and
sharing consist of unawareness of the significance, value and applications of geospatial data for natural disaster management, lack of technical
and technological capacity of natural disaster management community, especially with respect to geospatial information and geo information
science engineering, institutional barriers for dissemination and access to data, unavailability of common standards and interoperability models
for disaster-related geospatial data, cultural issues for collaborative efforts, especially with regard to geospatial data collection and sharing. Such
technical and non-technical problems relevant to collaborative efforts in geospatial data collection and sharing have also been reported by
various researchers [11]; [24]; [9]; [12]. So, to establish an environment to facilitate partnership in geospatial data collection and sharing for
natural disaster management, it is necessary to work out a suitable framework.

5.

Models and Frameworks for Data Sharing

Sharing by its very nature is a human behavior [20] and therefore it should be explored from a human behavioral context [2]; [21] concentrating
on the theory of planned behavior as an organizing framework for the willingness to share geospatial data. The model maps the process of data
sharing based on a belief structure and the predictive power of intentional behavior. Figure 1 shows the basic model.

Figure 1. Model for geospatial data sharing, according to the theory of planned behavior [20]; [2]

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A Review of Geospatial Data in Management of Natural Disasters


World Applied Programming Vol(5), No (6), June, 2015.

The basic model as in Figure 1 comprised of five components: a particular behavior, consideration, the intention to act, and three determinants of
intention [21].
The offered framework by Wehn de Montalvo was employed using a two step process in a systematic fashion to arrive at a model of willingness
to engage in geospatial data sharing [2]. Table 1 shows the various data sharing models.
Table 1. Summary of empirical research findings for data sharing and GDI development [2]
Author

Concepts Examined

Key findings

(Nedovic-Budic and Pinto, 2000)


[25]

Information sharing in an interorganisational


environment. Utilised case study approach to
examine the context, structure, process/issues
and outcomes of data sharing.

Coordination and implementation issues,


counting attitude, responsibilities, perception of
fairness (trust), commitment, teamwork,
negotiation process and persistence were
identified as critical. High data dependence is
conducive to a good fit, but requires
organisational change, management support
and funding.

(Harvey and Tulloch, 2006) [26]

Evaluation of foundations of GDI through local


government data sharing by comparing data
sharing processes, issues and practices across
five domains. Symbiotic relationship between
local and state governments must be better
understood.

Policy expansion must reflect the business


needs of local government. Trust and individual
attitudes are important. Expansion of GDI at
local level is inconsistent and not well
understood.

(Nedovic-Budic et al., 2004a) [10]

Examined the properties of data sharing and


motivations for cooperative arrangements.

Organisations collaborate for various reasons


but for common missions or goals. Resources
are a strong motivator for external interactions,
but standards adoption is still limited. Formal
mechanisms (contracts) predominate through
policies and mutual rules. Clearinghouse
development is more likely to only internal.
Internet is becoming a growing facilitator for
communications and relations

(Tulloch and Fuld, 2001) [27]

Investigation of framework data for building


the NSDI, particularly the production at local
government level.

Low level of active or sophisticated data


sharing was reported. Growing importance of
internet for clearinghouses is identified. Interorganisational issues continue to be a major
challenge. Benefits of sharing include
efficiency, effectiveness and equity. Less
structured chaordic approaches have potential,
but not proven. Jurisdictional coordination
variation at state level including political, legal,
economic and governance arrangements create
challenges for NSDI.

(Crompvoets et al., 2004) [28]

Evaluated world-wide expansion of national


geospatial data clearinghouses. Empirical
observation of expansions of clearinghouse
implementation, growth, usage, data sets,
people, policy and standards.

The methodology of the review approach


provided objective outcomes. Decline in
clearinghouse activity reflects resourcing issues
and greater demand for application services.
Key success factors were stable funding, web
services,
clarity
of
purpose,
good
communication channels, user friendly access
and trust.

The table demonstrates each of the data sharing models or frameworks and illustrates a range of theoretical and experiential approaches to
describe the data sharing and the potential for data sharing.

6.

Use Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) in Natural Disaster Management

Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI), which charts the relationship between people and data through its technological components, is a suitable
framework which provides an environment for partnership of organizations in data collection and sharing for natural disaster management.
Therefore, expansion of GDI and practical uses of geospatial data in natural disaster management moreover improving, reinforcement and
facilitate natural disaster management, can have financial feedbacks. Thus, GDI is a framework which can improve and facilitate data production
and sharing. In addition, outcomes of primary studies show that a main part of mapping activities of mitigating earthquake and landslide
subcommittees and related expenses are currently relevant to processing, structuring and preparing the source datasets. However, the mentioned

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World Applied Programming Vol(5), No (6), June, 2015.

processes on datasets will not be required within GDI framework. So mitigating earthquake and landslide subcommittees will save some parts of
the current expenses as a benefit. Also, expansion of GDI can bring other interests for the country such as establishment of close relation
between academic and industrial centers, improvement of management, creation of new businesses and facilitating the achievement of egovernment and good society, and facilitating the achievement of sustainable development as reported by [6]; [8]; [7]; [13]; [14]; [15].

7.

Conclusion

The results obtained from this study have indicated that GDI is a framework which can improve and facilitates data production and sharing.
Also, expansion of GDI can bring other interests to the country such as financial feedbacks, establishment of close relations between academic
and industrial centers, improvement of management, creation of new businesses and facilitating the achievement of e-government.

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