Volunteered geographic information use in crisis, emergency and disaster management: a scoping review and a web atlas

New article, open access

Nowadays, an increasing number of crises worldwide, triggered by climate extremes, natural and human-made hazards, the coronavirus pandemic, and more, pose a high pressure on crisis, emergency, and disaster management. Spatial data and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) are key issues in the successful and immediate response to crises. This paper aims to explore the use of VGI in crisis management, including emergency and disaster management, based on a scoping review of existing literature in English for five years (2016–2020). Specifically, the research intends to answer Scoping Review Questions (SRQ) regarding the use of VGI in crisis, emergency, and disaster management, and the verified cases’ spatial distribution, the VGI sources utilized (e.g. OpenStreetMap – OSM, Crowdsourcing, Twitter), the types of hazards (e.g. natural and human-made hazards, pandemic), the specific tasks in crisis, emergency or disaster management and VGI use in the management of actual crisis events, e.g. COVID-19 pandemic, Hurricane Katrina, etc. Eligible papers on VGI use in crisis, emergency, and disaster management are geolocated based on first-author affiliation, and as a result, a spatial bibliography is provided. Thus, the term Spatial Scoping Review is introduced. Scoping Review Questions are answered, and the results are analyzed and discussed. Finally, implementing the “VGICED Atlas”, a web atlas, permits the publication of the research results to a broad audience and the visualization of the analysis with several interactive maps.

New Risky Monday Sessions

The dates for the upcoming Risky Monday events in the winter semester 2022/23 are set. We are pleased to offer all sessions in hybrid form. You can find more information on https://riskncrisis.wordpress.com/events/weekly-events/risky-monday/

Next Risky Monday Session on 10/10/22:

Jamie Cachola will present the course of one of the most serious chemical accidents and the measures initiated by the Frankfurt Fire Department and Höchst AG. He will follow up with a discussion of the changes in crisis communication that occurred as a result of the incident, both by the Frankfurt Fire Department and today’s Infraserv GmbH & Co. KG, the operator of Industriepark Höchst.

Please contact Johanne Kaufmann or Peter Priesmeier for further information.

Gesellschaftliche Transformationen in Krisen und Pandemien

· Wie können wir zukünftige Krisen meistern?
· Was lernen wir aus vergangenen Krisen / Pandemien?
· Was sind die positiven Aspekte der aktuellen Krise / Pandemie?

HEiKA-Symposium der Universität Heidelberg und dem Karlsruher Institut für Technologie in Zusammenarbeit mit der Academy for Responsible Research, Teaching, and Innovation Dienstag, 18.10.2022, 17:00-19:00 Uhr, online

Mapping urban change in Kenya since 1948

New publication: Fekete 2022. Peri-urban growth into natural hazard-prone areas: mapping exposure transformation of the built environment in Nairobi and Nyeri, Kenya, from 1948 to today, Natural Hazards. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-022-05515-4

Urban areas in NE Nairobi in 1948, 1977 and 2020, captured by aerial and satellite imagery

Kenya experiences massive urban growth, also into natural hazard-prone areas, exposing settlements and the natural environment to riverine and pluvial floods and other natural hazards. While Nairobi as the capital and principal city has been extensively analysed regarding urban growth and flood hazard in some central parts, awareness of growing peri-urban areas has not been studied as much. The results are of interest to other locations in Kenya and worldwide, too, since the current research and disaster risk practice focus is still too much on megacities and city centres. Therefore, the study compares urban growth into hazard areas in urban rims of Nairobi and Nyeri, Kenya. A change assessment from 1948 to 2020 is conducted by aerial images, declassified satellite images, and recent data. Urban growth rates are 10- to 26-fold, while growth into flood exposed areas ranges from 2- to 100-fold. This study reveals unused opportunities for expanding existing land-use change analysis back to the 1940s in data-scarce environments.

Transformationen im Bevölkerungsschutz!?

Gemeinsame Tagung des AK Naturgefahren/Naturrisiken und des Katastrophennetzes e.V. am 26./27.09.2022 in Berlin. Programm und Anmeldung: Link

Der Klimawandel, die Pandemie und jüngst der Krieg in der Ukraine und damit verbundene Debatten um die Zukunft des Zivilschutzes fordern politische Entscheider*innen, Strukturen und Einheiten des Bevölkerungsschutzes, das Naturgefahrenmanagement und nicht zuletzt die Forschung in einer kaum dagewesenen Art und Weise sowie Geschwindigkeit heraus. Gleichzeitig verändert sich der gesellschaftliche Kontext beispielsweise durch den demo­graphischen Wandel, die Globalisierung und die fortschreitende Digitalisierung radikal. Angesichts dieser Entwicklungen sollen im Rahmen der Tagung folgende Fragen diskutiert werden:

  • In welchem Verhältnis stehen reale Veränderungen und veränderte Wahrnehmungen von Akteursgruppen bei diesen Entwicklungen?
  • Wie geht man im Naturgefahrenmanagement, im Bevölkerungsschutz sowie der Forschung mit diesen Veränderungen und Herausforderungen um?
  • Welche Rolle werden zukünftig „alte“, „neue“ oder „hybride“ Gefahren spielen?
  • Mit welchen Interaktionseffekten („compounding events“ usw.), Interdependenzen und systemischen Risiken muss gerechnet werden und was bedeutet dies für die Forschung und Praxis?
  • Inwieweit verändern sich die Rollen von Bevölkerungsschutz und Hilfsorganisationen im deutschsprachigen Raum?
  • Wie werden die Überlagerungen verschiedener Krisen und Katastrophen von unter­schiedlichen sozialen Gruppen erlebt?

Phasing out of nuclear – Phasing out of risk? Spatial assessment of social vulnerability and exposure to nuclear power plants in Germany 

New publication (open access): While nuclear power plants (NPP) are built back in Germany, the exposure risk will remain for some time being. This study conducts a geospatial analysis in exposure radii from 5 to 80 km around 41 NPP sites in and around Germany. The results show that 40 out of 113 major cities are exposed, and that vulnerability patterns vary. Foreigners and women live closer to NPPs, while it is the opposite with young and elderly people. This non-regular spatial distribution of population groups can be important to guide evacuation and emergency planning.

Upcoming: Risky Monday Session on 20.06 – Global Urbanisation

We are happy to announce the next Risky Monday session on 20.06.22 – 5:30pm. PD Dr. Hannes Taubenböck from the department of Geo-Risks and Civil Security at the German Aero Space Center (DLR) will present on physical transformation of urban areas and how earth observation data can be used to understand the impact of urbanization on our planet.

The presentation will be held in German, questions can be asked in English.

To take part you can join us in presence:

Raum ZN 4 -1

THKöln Campus Deutz

Betzdorfer Straße 2

50679 Köln

Or online:
Meeting-ID: 851 1138 6603
Kenncode: RMTHKoeln

Transformation or (just) adaptation?

New publication. Climate change, pandemic, war and conflict impact our daily lives and the future. Research about transformation has become a new trend in climate sciences to track dimensions of long-term dynamic changes of a fundamental nature. An underlying assumption is that limited adaptation will not suffice to change the pathways of climate change and its impact. More efforts are needed to fundamentally change management and behavioural processes, habits, practices and regimes.

In 2019 we started discussing transformations in a working group on natural hazards and risks.
In a new publication, we summarise some of our findings. We have re-analysed case studies we conducted in different parts of the world about natural hazards. We wanted to understand whether these examples already capture transformation as recently defined by the IPCC and other researchers. Or whether these examples only capture adjustments or adaptations. We will continue this discussion at our next meeting in Berlin, Sept. 26-27 2022, that will be looking into transformations within civil protection, jointly hosted by the working group of natural hazards and risks in Germany, ‘AK Naturgefahren/-risiken’ with the catastrophe network ‘KatNet’.
We analyse transformations since, in research, we need to know better how to conceptually capture transformation and separate it from concepts and studies about a change of any kind, including adaptation and adjustment. For practice, we need to know better what is necessary to monitor or even foster transformation.

Fekete, A.; S. Fuchs; M. Garschagen; G. Hutter; S. Klepp; C. Lüder; T. Neise; D. Sett; K. von Elverfeldt; and M. Wannewitz. 2022. Adjustment or transformation? Disaster risk intervention examples from Austria, Indonesia, Kiribati and South Africa. Land Use Policy 120:106230.