Use of Geographic Information Systems to Identify Diverse Communities and Assess Their Risk from Disasters

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Zollweg, James
In a community, everyone knows each other and understands everyone's situations, needs, and problems. If we are to become a world community in which all members understand and respect all others, we need to use new tools and technologies that can help us learn about our world and the challenges we all face. One such technology is Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This technology provides very user-friendly products such as Story Maps, as well as powerful spatial data management and analysis tools. A GIS is an ideal tool for identifying, visualizing, and communicating the diversity of our global community. It is often said that “In order to manage a problem, you have to be able to measure it”. This workshop will demonstrate the use of Geographic Information Systems to visualize and communicate the diversity of people in our world. In addition, we will see how varied data themes can be combined to reveal insights about the needs and challenges facing those diverse communities. Particularly, we will see the inequalities of risk from disasters facing various communities. Session Goals and Outcomes Introduce GIS as a tool for identifying Communities at Risk Demonstrate how Web-enabled GIS is a tool for communicating the fact that diverse communities are at most risk from disasters Show how mapping and communicating risk enables society to more effectively address problems of inequity Empower participants to highlight specific locations and communities that are under-served with respect to environmental justice Presenter James Zollweg, PhD, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, The College at Brockport
James Zollweg, PhD, is Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at The College at Brockport, who specializes in Water Resources and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He received his doctorate from Cornell University. He specializes in the applications of GIS to real world problems ranging from watershed science to social vulnerability. He is the long-time instructor of ESC 195 - Natural Disasters.