Skip to content

GIS Unmasks The Climate – A boon for Disaster Response

GIS Climate Unmasking

It is 2021, and while machine learning may replace some tasks in the office, it will most likely complement activities that require boots on the ground. You could be sitting on your couch and could use a tool on your mobile to analyze satellite imagery to tell you how long your dinner will take to reach. While drone images on a field taken over a long period of time could be used to train software for accurate forecasting. This blog is about how a research project used GIS to unmask past unruly climate phenomena for understanding the future.

In 2018 UNICEF organized a map-athon in Ahmadu Bello University to correctly identify schools in rural Kano, Nigeria. This was a crowdsourced effort where users would come in to recognize parts of the region to differentiate between schools and other buildings from satellite images filtered by an algorithm. An effort to map rural schools is underfoot in a collaborative effort by UNICEF and GeoSpoc, to amalgamate field knowledge and complex AI tools. Read more about the crowdsourced effort here.

GIS and Unruly Climate

In India, monitoring monsoons and droughts are paramount due to the high dependence of agriculture on rainfall. Studies monitoring weather phenomena use geospatial data and indices derived from them to study drought, vegetation, and temperature conditions. Recently, our GIS Consultant Vishal Somni conducted a study to investigate the spatial and temporal aspects of drought in Maharashtra during the post-monsoon season. We saw how GIS was used to unmast unruly climate.

Why Post-Monsoon

Pre-monsoon draughts have been studied aplenty, but the post-monsoon droughts hit the worst. In Maharashtra, a majority of this region lies in the Godavari Basin and has observed low annual rainfall in the last 15 years and along with misuse of groundwater, which has led to several droughts in the past few seasons.

Satellite data and remote sensing technology plays a vital role in monitoring natural hazards related to climatic conditions. The present study used spatiotemporal analysis, this is when data is collected across both space and time, describing a phenomenon in a certain location for a period of time — for example, Rainfall trends across Marathwada. This analysis was then layered that with trend analysis and temperature, vegetation, and weather indices.

What GIS Unmasked

Over Marathwada, scanty rainfall has led to semi-arid to arid climatic conditions. One of the geographical factors that contribute to the scanty rainfall is the location of this region in the rain shadow zone. The present study succeeded in identifying the districts which are more prone to drought. These are mostly the western districts of Aurangabad, Jalna, Bid, and Osmanabad. This study helped us understand the geographical factors contributing to the scanty rainfall in the region. This data can help with the adoption of smart farming in this region to combat unruly weather. Despite its climate adversity, Marathwada contributes 10% to the GDP of Maharashtra, and 74% of its population is employed in Agriculture. 

GIS and studying the climate

Studies like these by brilliant analysts like Vishal contribute to disaster management responses and post-disaster insurance claims. When heavy monsoons led to severe flooding in Kerala, the government relied on spatial analysis to direct their relief response. It also helped insurance agencies concentrate on the well-being of their clients by giving them accurate locations with different danger levels of flooding. Read more about disaster mitigation here.

The Way Ahead

Since the remote sensing data are more continuous spatially, they are best suited to bring out the minor details of a hazard that inflicts a vast region. For a couple of years, GeoSpoc has been studying some of the toughest weather and economic bedlam problems. There is a myriad of applications of this technology, from emergency response to urban development and Geospoc is empowering every industry to find safe, effective solutions while protecting local communities and the environment.

 Find out how GIS solutions can help you gain leverage in your industry, pick a spot today with our CEO.

Click here to access the full literature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.