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REVIEW: "Confronting Catastrophe: A GIS Handbook", R. W. Greene

Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor
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"Confronting Catastrophe: A GIS Handbook", R. W. Greene, 2002,
1-58948-040-6, U$14.95
%A R. W. Greene
%C 380 New York St., Redlands, CA 92373-8100
%D 2002
%G 1-58948-040-6
%O U$14.95 800-888-4741 312-337-0747 909-793-2853
%O Audience i+ Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 140 p.
%T "Confronting Catastrophe: A GIS Handbook"

Interesting mapped and map oriented applications are springing up all
over cyberspace, and are also becoming increasingly important in all
kinds of ways. The introduction notes that GIS (Geographical
Information Systems) is a form of data visualization based on the
question "where," and that, in a disaster, "where" becomes of vital

Chapter one lists a number of examples of map-based databases, and
examines a few issues that can impede the utility of such systems.
Using one particular database and situation, chapter two examines the
use of GIS in planning risk mitigation and reduction measures.
Chapter three prompts emergency planners to think, in advance, about
the catagories and specifics of GIS data that might be needed in the
event of different types of disasters. (At one point Greene even
suggests that a map of lawyers' residences could be useful. As much
as I hate to admit it, he has a point.) Using the experience of the
New York City GIS office following 9/11, chapter four makes a number
of recommendations that will help GIS agencies to be maximally useful
in a disaster. Chapter five turns to the issue of directing help in a
disaster, but the material is quite limited.

Appendix A is an essay on the use of GIS in disasters, addressing much
of the same content, but from a different perspective and in an
alternative format. The references list a number of very helpful

Greene writes well, and his explanations are clear. The logical
arrangement of the book is structured, but it is probably not as
rigorously organized as the author thinks. (The chapter titles are
obviously intended to follow a disaster planning system.) This book
is a decent introduction to get emergency services leaders thinking
about the issues.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKCCGISH.RVW 20081010

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