How GIS is Saving the Day – 5 GIS Tools for Disaster Management


Earthquakes, landslides, floods and fires are just a handful of natural disasters that devastate areas, with some never fully recovering. Lives are lost, infrastructure is destroyed and entire communities are forced to leave their homes behind.

However, the way we handle emergency relief today has been entirely revolutionised thanks to the surge in use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

A GIS is a commanding technology that utilise the power of location based data. It can be used before, during and after natural disasters to significantly contribute to the emergency management of catastrophic situations.

Through monitoring, data collection, impact assessment and disaster simulation, the power of GIS is changing the way we pick ourselves up after an extraordinary event.


Importing and Exporting Data

When disaster strikes, information can be the difference between life and death. Being armed with as much information and data as possible assists with prevention, preparedness, relief and recovery.

Mappt is a prime example of a GIS application that can offer substantial support during disaster relief.

The mobile application has the power to import GIS data, such as satellite imagery, electrical grids, maps of gas and water pipes, and provide the rescuer who’s out in the field with information they cannot see.

When disaster areas are covered in debris, flooded or up in flames, Mappt allows users to see what existed previously beneath their feet when searching for survivors or assessing damages.



If the disaster zone’s internet access has been compromised, Mappt still allows users to access previously uploaded maps and data.

Once back online it is vital that the collected information is published and shared quickly and directly with relevant parties

Mappt also allows users to embed data onto a website, send files directly via email or upload to Google Drive, all within minutes!



Geotagged Photos

Being able to capture data exactly where it happened is also critical in disaster management.

Photographing and documenting damages not only provides emergency management with the extent of damages, but also assists in the determination of how and where a disaster first struck.

Having geotagged photos – photos with a GPS location – on a map significantly contributes to disaster relief and recovery, as they’re a far better visual aid than an ambiguous marker point, therefore ensuring rapid situation assessments.


GPS Tracking

Continuously tracking emergency service workers is essential to coordinating disaster relief and immediate responses.

Because of Mappt’s advanced map tile caching, the application enables offline GPS tracking.

This allows users to roam in areas with no internet access, yet still access the exact patterns of their movements when out in the field.

Analyzing data involves tracking areas covered by emergency workers, making it ideal for off road route planning, calculating distances and helping workers find their way back to base.

Having this type of geospatial information at hand assists in decision making and resource allocation for emergency planners.


Disaster sites are extremely dangerous after a natural disaster, so keeping workers safe when entering hazardous zones is crucial.

Geofencing allows users to set up perimeters on their map to mark out exclusion and inclusion zones and keep workers safe or on track. It also provides the basis for vulnerability and hazard assessments.

If a user breaches a boundary, Mappt will sound a visual and audial alarm, and the event will be logged.


Points, Lines and Polygons

Flagging important areas or plotting key positions on a map, such as dangerous areas, survivors or debris, is extremely important in disaster management.

Mappt has several simple tools to create a personal and completely unique dataset using points, polylines and polygons.

Users can change the colour and style of points, customise line styles, and edit the opacity of the area within a polygon.

Our GIS also allows users to assign attributes to each feature, so you’ll know exactly why you highlighted a section.

This could be used to mark out flooded areas, burnt vegetation or a point of damage.


Disaster Proof!

In disaster relief, GIS is an invaluable tool for emergency management. GIS has an enormity of uses as it can manage huge levels of data required for vulnerability and hazard assessments.

When combined with GPS, geospatial tools assist in the search for survivors in areas that are difficult to access or see. They can also be used for planning evacuation routes and the integration of satellite data with other relevant data when designing early warning systems.

GIS can also be used to prepare complex prediction models, spatial databases and assist in creating appropriate contingency plans.

To sum it up – emergency management would be a disaster without GIS!

Mappt differs from other GIS platforms with its easy to use features, mobile and tablet integration, offline capability and our very affordable licenses.

Businesses in over 130 countries use our software due to its friendly interface and easy to use features, making Mappt the perfect GIS for those who need to act fast.


Ssiobhan-profile2iobhan Herne
Marketing and Communications

Siobhan has no background in GIS, she’s a beginner, just like you. Follow her stories for an easier digest of all things geospatial.