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Harnessing the Power of Geospatial Emergency Management: How Technology is Reshaping Disaster Response

Written by Kurt Janssen

1 October 2023

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How Orbica's Geospatial Platform Empowers Both Experts and Laypersons to Navigate Disasters with Clarity

As disasters strike – whether natural or human-induced – the influx of information can be as overwhelming as the events themselves. But modern technology like Orbica’s geospatial platform can reshape our disaster response strategies. The platform aids early responders in collecting and sharing crucial data, synthesising it into actionable insights, and communicating it clearly. Thus, enabling the efficient transition from raw data to universally-understandable action plans. Understanding the spatial nature of disasters is key to unlocking the full potential of this transformation.

The inherent spatial characteristics of disasters — occurring at a specific place and time — imply that all data collected during emergency response efforts is, by extension, spatial. However, despite having the best data collection tools at our disposal, the gathered information often remains trapped, hindering prompt interventions. Because the goal isn't merely to collect data, but to translate it into a language that's universally understandable and, more crucially, actionable.

Yet, here in lies the paradox. Even as the need for swift decision-making escalates during emergencies, the complexity of data interpretation grows exponentially. For instance, how does one delineate spatial data in non-visual formats over radios? Or convey intricate statistical probabilities in real-time, especially when stakes are high, and time is scarce?

This is where the (further) democratisation of Geographical Information System (GIS) comes into play.

Nowadays, almost everyone has some form of GIS at their fingertips, as seen with widely-used tools like Google Maps. But the real game-changer is the emergence of platforms that streamline this data for critical interventions, like Orbica's Geospatial Platform. By simplifying the complexity inherent in geospatial data, the Platform offers an intuitive interface that bridges the gap between raw data and decisive action. Whether assessing the impact of a disaster, mapping evacuation routes, or monitoring flood zones, Orbica ensures that the right data is interpreted and communicated in the right way.

By ensuring that data from various sources can be consolidated, verified, and disseminated quickly and efficiently, the Orbica Platform also paves the way for a strengthened citizen science approach to emergency management. This provides an additional wealth of real-time information, for example, by allowing individuals to feed live data into centralised systems. This type of data, like photos of floodwaters, can then be assimilated, and its insights communicated back to the public in a timely manner.

In moments of crisis, clear, concise, and timely communication is not just beneficial; it's essential for survival. Utilising geospatial platforms like Orbica is pivotal for effective disaster response as it facilitates the rapid consolidation, verification, and dissemination of data from various sources, including real-time information from citizens. This not only enhances the accuracy and timeliness of interventions but also empowers communities by involving them in the response process. Ultimately, Orbica's Geospatial Platform is not merely a tool; it is a fundamental shift in emergency management that directly contributes to saving lives, minimising damage, and ensuring better outcomes for communities in their most vulnerable moments.

To better understand how the Orbica Platform can help you navigate critical emergency management, you can get in touch with us here.