The natural disasters have become fast recurring phenomena all over the world causing huge loss of human lives and crumbling impact on the economy of a country. Natural disasters are inevitable and Indian subcontinent is prone to all type of natural disaster, e.g., earthquake, flood, drought, cyclone, Tsunami, landslides, avalanche, forest fires, etc. Although the natural disasters can not be prevented fully but their impact can be minimized with sound disaster management strategy aided by the latest technological advancements in the field of Geoinformatics. The disaster management is a multi-disciplinary endeavour, requiring many types of data with spatial and temporal attributes that should be available to district administrators in the right format for decision-making. Geographic Information System (GIS) is a powerful tool which can be used to create integrated geo-database, visualize scenarios, develop advanced spatial models and effective solutions, prepare disaster zonation maps, and the management plans.
Allahabad has now got the status of Metro-city with a population of over 10 lakhs. It is essential that a comprehensive earthquake disaster management plan is prepared and implemented in Allahabad. The volume of information needed for natural disasters far exceeds the capacity to deal with them manually and thus there is a need for a GIS based Decision Support System (DSS). A GIS based DSS for disaster management can be developed consisting of three modules, namely, integrated geo-database module; module consisting of disaster management models; and user-interface module. The GIS based system can be used as an integrated administrative and decision support system to respond to the immediate humanitarian and disaster relief operation during and after the event. Further, the information required for decision making during any disaster is diverse, spatial and temporal in nature. Thus, remote sensing technology can be advantageously used for detailed near real-time monitoring, damage assessment and long-term relief management.
The various stages involved in the preparation of GIS based DSS for disaster management for Allahabad include the development of an integrated geo-database consisting of various thematic maps, demographic data, socio-economic data and infrastructural facilities at village level under GIS environment. The various thematic maps include road network map, water supply network map, Fire control office map, urban sprawl map, drainage map and land use map, among others. The various utilities like education facilities, medical facilities, electricity, etc. and other information from Census 2001 available for the district have been represented spatially using GIS.
A menu driven Graphical User Interface (GUI) has also been developed so that the GIS based DSS for disaster management can be used by those administrators who may not have in-depth knowledge of working in GIS. By navigating through GUI, planners with basic knowledge of computers can work on this system and this is expected to increase the acceptability of the present system among planners and decision-makers. The ArcGIS software and Erdas Imagine software have been used for carrying out the work in the present study. The GIS based DSS for disaster management proposed for Allahabad district may be adopted for further implementation by district administrators.