HomeTechnology NewsRising Natural Disaster Incidence Fueling GIS Usage in APAC

Rising Natural Disaster Incidence Fueling GIS Usage in APAC

Currently, the world is going through one of the biggest disasters in recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the rate of the increase in the number of cases has slowed, cases are still increasing. Moreover, with the looming third wave, the guard cannot be let down yet. The heightened focus of governments on gaining real-time information on high-risk zones and infection spread has led to a jump in the usage of the geographic information system (GIS). This technology is being used to undertake field surveys and create interactive maps that can offer insights into the spread of the virus.

For instance, the Indian government is using GIS for live geo-maps, low-risk and high-risk zone classification, contact tracing, and infection spread monitoring and to integrate the surveillance data of individuals generated from multiple sources. Such measures are expected to play a key role in the growth of the GIS in disaster management market size to $9.4 billion by 2030 from $2.3 billion in 2019, at a 13.7% CAGR between 2020 and 2030.

This will also be because this technology has been in use for this purpose since much before the pandemic struck. In recent years, the incidence of tornadoes, cyclones (hurricanes), earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters has risen significantly. According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the number of natural disasters recorded globally has increased massively from 4,212 during 1980–1999 to 7,348 during 2000–2019. During such events, GIS is being heavily used for real-time event tracking, for early warning signals, evaluation of emergency supply distribution, assessment of safe shelter areas, and identification of the impact on roads, buildings, and bridges.

During such events, it is mostly government departments that must initiate impact analysis and rescue efforts, which is why they remain the largest users of the GIS technology for disaster management. Governments need to warn people of an approaching disaster, help in timely evacuation, assess the area that will likely be affected, initiate search and rescue operations, estimate the total damage, and launch rehabilitation efforts. For instance, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Alabama Emergency Management Agency, and National Weather Service (NWS) used GIS to track and map the path, wind magnitude, start and end points, and other aspects of the over 30 tornadoes that hit the U.S. in March 2019.

This is why of natural and technological or man-made disasters, GIS has been used for the management of natural disasters more till now. In the coming years, it will be increasingly used for technological disasters, which include a variety of events, such as factory explosions, major transport accidents, terrorist attacks and other severe incidences of violence, chemical and oil spills, nuclear reactor core melting, dam bursts, building collapses, and full-blown wars. Everybody remembers major industrial events such as the Chernobyl explosion, Bhopal Gas Tragedy, and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which caused multitudes of deaths and financial losses in millions.

Because of factors like these, Asia-Pacific (APAC) will be the fastest-growing GIS in disaster management market in the coming years. Not only is the incidence of natural and technological disasters growing here, but they also lead to bigger losses and collateral damage in this region. As per the UNDRR, between 2000 and 2019, Asia witnessed the highest number of disasters (3,068). Moreover, among the countries with the highest number of such events globally during this period were China (577), India (321), the Philippines (304), and Indonesia (278).

Hence, as these mishaps become more regular and devastating, the usage of GIS before, during, and after them will keep rising.