Disaster Risk Assessment and Geographic Information Systems/Science (GISc)

Disaster Risk Assessment and Geographic Information Systems/Science (GISc) Disaster risk assessment is a spatial study or assessment of disaster risk of a specific area that can include all three levels of government (local, district, provincial).  The statement is a logical one because hazards occur at a specific location and its impact on people and environment is also based on where.  This makes GIS an ideal tool to do Disaster Risk Assessment. GIS GIS can be many things, it can be a software tool, a system and/or a science (Geographical Information Science).  All three work together to deliver a GIS product which can be many things.  A map depicting the water network of a city, a model simulating water flow in the water network and the hardware and software necessary to produce the previously mentioned products. Five elements (Figure 1) of a GIS (system) includes the hardware, software, procedures and processes, data and most important the people.   Figure 1:  Five elements of a GIS GIS as a spatial science has its foundation in Geography, Information Science, Mathematics, Physics, Photogrammetry and a few more.  GIS is applied in many disciplines that range from environmental studies, engineering, municipal services, disaster management, business intelligence, navigation, etc.  Important to remember is that although GIS is applied in these fields, the foundation is still in the science. Disaster risk assessment The South African National Disaster Management Framework indicates that Disaster Risk Assessment is a process that determines the level of risk by: Identifying and analysing potential hazards and/or threats. Assessing the conditions of vulnerability that increase the chance of loss for particular elements-at-risk (that is, environmental, human, infrastructural, agricultural, economic and other elements that are exposed to a hazard, and are at risk of loss). Determining the level of risk for different situations and conditions. Helping to set priorities for action. A scientific approach, combining indigenous knowledge; historical data; hazard, vulnerability and risk indicators, is used to assess disaster risk as prescribed by the mentioned framework. Disaster Risk Assessment and GIS As mentioned earlier, hazards and disaster risk are spatial phenomena and a GIS is the ideal of not only tool that must be used to do the assessments.  Various GIS techniques exist that can be used in the assessment process.  These techniques include amongst other things: Spatial query and selection (identification of land use subjected to flooding). Buffering (distance from factory manufacturing paint). Cluster creation (identification of high-risk areas). Hotspot analysis (identification of high-risk areas). Pattern analysis (identification of future risk areas). Modeling of spatial relationships (identification of future risk areas). GIS software is used to visualise the results from the assessments by creating maps and 3d models.  The results can also be stored in a corporate GIS (which can be online) that can be viewed from everywhere for management and/or disaster management officials.

Smart Cities

Smart Cities A smart city is a term that represents the merger of elements that are deemed “smart”.  These include sustainable development, green development, smart technology, shared economy, The merger leads to smart transport, smart garbage removal, smart water management, integration of green energy into the energy grid socio and economy sound developed.  This integration is managed, supported by an ICT network. Smart elements in a city are producing a large amount of data and if these datasets are integrated and analysed smartly the looped can be closed back to the smart elements.  Data produced by road sensors can be used to direct traffic or be used to inform autonomous cars of road conditions or inform the maintenance plan directly. Examples Smart Parking Censors showing open parking space Waste to energy Smart water meters and management Energy efficient and green buildings Citizens engagement The integration of above-mentioned examples can constitute a smart city. Implementation To start or to be successful, smart cities (officials) need to establish an implementation plan with appropriate goals.  Various white papers and case studies provide guidelines for the implementation of smart cities. Very important is that leadership must also change their and others’ mind set to make smart cities successful.  In most cases, the status quo must change in order for a city to become smart. Smart Campus An offspring or starting point for a Smart City can be a Smart Campus.  In many cases, a successful smart city has a smart campus as an important and integral partner.  A smart campus (University) is the incubator of “smart” technologies to be used in a smart city.  This enables the University also to be “smart” in its use of technology and data/information.

Why mind mapping is the best for design thinking

The aim of this blog is to explore the concept of design led thinking and to confirm that mind mapping is the ideal if not only tool to be used for design led thinking. So what is design led thinking?  To describe design thinking I tried to discuss a definition and processes of design led thinking.  Tim Brown from IDEO (a respected though leader on the topic) define design thing as: “A system that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business can convert into consumer value and market opportunity.”. The process involves mainly 3 activities.  It starts with a discovery phase to understand the problem/issue which can be done through research to understanding (empathise) and defining of needs.  This phase is normally followed by the creation of ideas by looking for patterns and insights obtained during the discovery phase.  Ideas must/ can be expanded and/or simplified through a process of discussions etc. The ideas must become visible. A prototype or a tangible picture of the developed idea must be produced.  This picture must be visualised and described as a product or object to be reached.  After testing the vision can be put into effect. Mind mapping is the ideal method to get the vision to put into effect.  For me mind mapping is visual thinking to structure information through expansion and simplification of ideas/ topics using linkages/branches utilising various tools. Let’s illustrate this by using mind mapping at all the phase of design led thinking.  I will use Mindmanager from Mindjet (https://www.mindjet.com) to illustrate. The mind map below is a visual representation of information regarding design led thinking structured in linkages and branches.  This is an expansion of information but also simplified in a structured manner.  Shown here is the main topic with three branches namely the definition of design led thinking, the rules and a summary of a possible process of design led thinking. Capturing of needs The example map below shows the breakdown of possible needs with a function to do brainstorming where any ideas about needs can be noted.  A variety of tools in Mindmanager can be used to help with brainstorming.  In this case Idea Cards are being used.  The answers from these cards can be incorporated in the mind map. Creation of ideas by looking for patterns and insights After the brainstorming session, Mindmanager can be used to create order and structure to the information (I discuss the method in From chaos to simplicity – Mind Mapping).  This ordering process will create specific ideas through identification of patters and other insights. Prototype or a tangible picture A simple mind map that shows only the final ideas will provide a clear picture of the outcome of the design session and what needs to be done. Mind maps can be used for almost anything where the mind is concerned. From teaching, learning, report writing, project management, blogging and design thinking.

Disaster Risk Assessment

Disaster Risk Assessment What is disaster risk? It is the possibility, or chance, of harmful consequences, or expected loss (of lives, people injured, property, livelihoods, economic activity disrupted or environment damaged) resulting from interactions between natural or human induced hazards and vulnerable conditions. As required by the Disaster Management Amendment Act (Act No. 16 of 2015) and the National Disaster Management Framework, a disaster risk assessment must be done.  This assessment will inform the disaster management plan.  Not only for this but it MUST inform other planning mechanisms such as the IDP and SDF. Conducting a disaster risk assessment This blog will provide an introduction into conducting disaster risk assessments by and/or for municipalities and will focus on vulnerability.  Various methodologies exist to conduct disaster risk assessment but the one we use is based on the Community Capitals Framework which uses 7 capitals: Human; Social; Cultural; Financial; Infrastructure; Environmental and Political. To calculate disaster risk these 7 capitals will be used in the following formula: where R         =          Disaster risk H         =          Probability of a hazard with a certain magnitude CH          =          Capacity of factors that impact on the magnitude of the hazard Vhuman   =          Human vulnerability Vsoc      =          Social vulnerability Vcul       =          Cultural vulnerability Vfin       =          Financial vulnerability Vinfra     =          Infrastructural vulnerability Venviro   =          Environmental vulnerability Vpol       =          Political vulnerability Chuman  =          Capacity to mitigate and limit Human vulnerability Csoc      =          Capacity to mitigate and limit Social vulnerability Ccul      =          Capacity to mitigate and limit Cultural vulnerability Cfin       =          Capacity to mitigate and limit Capacity to deal with economic vulnerability Cinfra     =          Capacity to mitigate and limit Infrastructural vulnerability Cenviro   =          Capacity to mitigate and limit environmental vulnerability Cpol      =          Capacity to mitigate and limit Political vulnerability Capitals In short, the capitals can be described as follows: Human Capital Human capital includes the managerial capacity and the peoples ability to withstand shocks/disasters or to adapt in time. Social Capital Social capital is the quantity and quality of social resources available (e.g., networks, membership in groups (formal/informal), social relationships, and access to wider institutions in society) from which people draw. Cultural Cultural capital considers ethnicity, generation differences, traditional beliefs and norms, stories and folklore, spirituality, habits and heritage. Financial Financial resources include among others savings, income, investments or businesses, and credit that people use to support their livelihoods.   Infrastructure Buildings and infrastructure in a community include schools, roads, water, electricity and sewer systems and access roads.  including telecommunications, industrial parks, main streets, water and sewer systems, roads, etc. Environmental The presence and status of soil, land, water, natural beauty, lakes, rivers and streams, forests, wildlife, soil, etc., in the local landscape. Political Political capital as the access to power relationships, and the capacity to influence the political system and governmental processes at local and higher levels. Capital Indicators To use these capitals in disaster risk assessment it must be included in a model to produce disaster risk values or score.  Important also is to map the vulnerability scores.  GIS is […]