Natural Disasters are inevitable and India too is prone to most of these natural disasters due to its unique geo-climatic conditions and topography. They cause huge destruction to the lives and property of people. As disasters occur suddenly therefore, timely response from a monitoring and assessment system is essential. By developing and implementing well planned mitigation strategy, economic losses and human casualties can be reduced greatly. Through utilizing the small amount of time available before such disasters hit, the sufferings of the people can be alleviated by a great margin. Realizing the benefits of such disaster management strategies and its cost effectiveness, such measures have become an integral part of national policies of many countries.
Geo-spatial technology plays a significant role in the improvement of emergency management and critical infrastructure condition assessment by providing first cut information about an emergency situation. All phases of emergency management depend on data from a variety of sources. Most of the data requirements for emergency management are of a spatial nature and can be located on a map. Therefore, appropriate data has to be gathered, organised and displayed logically to start emergency management planning. During an actual emergency it is critical to have the right data, at the right time, displayed logically, to respond and take appropriate actions.
Any disaster can be managed well through spatial planning. Disaster Management activities can be grouped into five phases i.e Planning, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. GIS as a tool can help in decision making for all these five phases.
Realizing the importance of Geo-Spatial technology in disaster management strategy, Assam State Disaster Management Authority took the initiative of building up its GIS database to develop an Emergency Management Information System for Assam which will act as a decision support system and will help the decision makers to minimize the loss of lives, mitigate, relief and rescue operations .
As part of this activity ASDMA took up the project on “GIS Mapping of Utilities and Infrastructures for Assam” in its 1st phase. Under this project,geographical coordinates of those utilities which play a vital role in the event of an emergency situation and which will help the administration in decision making at times of disaster was to be mapped from all the Blocks/Circles/Sub Division/Districts of Assam using GPS devices and brought under a GIS environment.Altogether 18 different utilities (Private Hospitals and Nursing Home, Police Stations & Outpost, Important Govt. Buildings, Educational Institutions (Govt. & Private Engineering Colleges, Universities, Schools & Colleges which can be used as shelter places), Community Halls, Raised Platforms, Veterinary Hospitals, Ferry Ghats, Bus Stations, Water Supply Sources (PHED), Petrol and Diesel Stations, Places of Public Congregation (Cinema halls, Shopping Malls, Stadium), Vital installations (Major Industries, Power Plants, Oil Refineries) LPG Godowns of Refineries, PWD Bridges located in National and State Highway, Flyovers, Railway Stations Grounds which can be used as Helipads) were identified. To carry out this huge task M/S SCIENCE, Dehradun was selected through competitive bidding process and was awarded the work.
Under this project, a total number of 12,032 point (Table-1) utilities has been collected from field as per the list provided by District Administration of different districts using the latest Garmin Oregon 550 GPS models. To have a better understanding of the site condition these utilities has also been geo-tagged with site photographs to the extent possible.These spatial data has been converted into GIS format and work is under progress to link these spatial data with the non spatial information for an effective emergency management planning.
Table-1: Utilities collected from different districts of Assam