Geographic information systems (GIS) reveal relationships and patterns from large quantities of diverse data in the form of maps and reports. The United States spends billions of dollars to use GIS to improve decisions made during responses to natural disasters and terrorist attacks, but precisely how GIS improves or impairs decision making is not known. This research examined how GIS affect decision making during natural disasters, and how GIS can be more effectively used to improve decision making for emergency management. Using a qualitative case study methodology, this research examined decision making at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during a large full-scale disaster exercise. This study indicates that GIS provided decision makers at DHS with an outstanding context for information that would otherwise be challenging to understand, especially through the integration of multiple data sources and dynamic three-dimensional interactive maps. Decision making was hampered by outdated information, a reliance on predictive models based on hypothetical data rather than actual event data, and a lack of understanding of the capabilities of GIS beyond cartography. Geospatial analysts, emergency managers, and other decision makers who use GIS should take specific steps to improve decision making based on GIS for disaster response and emergency management.
|Advisor:||Kohun, Frederick G.|
|Commitee:||McCue, Colleen M., Stork, Elizabeth M.|
|School:||Robert Morris University|
|Department:||Information Systems and Communications|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Geographic information science, Information Technology, Remote sensing|
|Keywords:||Decision making, Department of Homeland Security, Disaster management, Emergency management, Geographic information systems, Geospatial analysis|
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