Collaborative Post-disaster Damage Mapping via Geo Web Services
Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography
To mitigate the consequences of increasingly frequent disasters across the globe, better real-time collaborative post-disaster management tools are needed to allow the integration of different types of data from diverse sources. The "International Charter for Space and Major Disasters", in conjunction with intermediary agencies, provides for space resources to be available to support disaster response. It is widely seen as a successful example of international humanitarian assistance following
... isasters. However, the Charter is also facing challenges, with respect to accurate and timely data deliver and lack of validation, with information flow being largely monodirectional. It is therefore, fundamental to move away from static map data provision to a more dynamic, distributed and collaborative environment. Geo-Webservices can bring together vast stores of data from heterogeneous sources, along with geospatial services that can interact in a loosely coupled environment and be used to create better information. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the relevance and importance of Geo-Webservices in the disaster management domain and present a suitable Geo-Webservice architecture for a collaborative postdisaster damage mapping system. We will present our ideas for a prototype based on this architecture, which will showcase some scenarios of collaborative disaster mapping with possibilities for User Generated Content. The increase of disasters across the globe in recent years with static map provision attests to the fact that there is need for dynamic and distributed real-time collaborative disaster management techniques. The growing frequency of disasters poses great challenges due to increasing disaster response needs and recovery costs. The development of Disaster Response and Management (DRM) aided by more coordinated approaches, coupled with good use of technical means, have already brought about a range of collaborative measures. There have been developments in collaborative information coordination with news feeds and news alert, for example by AlertNet, Virtual OSSOC and ReliefWeb, with alternative practical collaboration within various humanitarian organisations. By making it possible to integrate different types of data and information from diverse sources, collaborative disaster damage mapping can strengthen analytical capabilities and decision making for disaster response. The development of near-real time Earth Observation (EO) systems and geo-information techniques has contributed significantly to support the management of major technical and natural disasters, as well as humanitarian emergency response. To minimize the impacts of these natural and technological disasters, concerned organizations require accurate information regarding the geographic extent of the affected areas, both during the outbreak and shortly after the suppression of the event within the shortest time possible (Gitas, 2007) . In spite of many developments in the domain of satellite imagery provision towards disaster management (e.g. Zhang and Kerle, 2008), it is important to note that raw satellite images remain of little use to emergency response personnel. It takes a careful processing, analysis, mapping, and interpretation to generate the required situation maps which can be read and understood by non-satellite expert users. This is important in simplifying the map output and incorporating non-experts in decision making and relief coordination. Involvement of users from all walks of life with varying professional backgrounds in participatory disaster damage mapping, input, reporting and field validation is important in enhancing the spirit of collaboration and outreach.