Geographic data key for land decisions

Posted 22 Aug 2012 by MediaStuff Popular

Integrating environmental, critical infrastructure and population data was key in helping the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) to determine land zones, a geographic information systems analyst says.

Kate Burns, of environmental and engineering consultancy firm Tonkin & Taylor, said geographic information systems (GIS) were a "powerful" planning tool at the Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference 2012 this morning.

She said in the days following the September 4, 2010 earthquake, and subsequent significant aftershocks, geotechnical engineers did ground observations to record all visible damage, such as lateral spreading and broken buildings.

GIS analysis since September 2010 combined data from several sources, including insurance information, population statistics and field observations on liquefaction, rockfall and landslide.

The patterns from this data have been used to understand the extent of the damage to land in Christchurch.

It was also used to support responders after the February 2011 earthquake by guiding them on which areas might have more problems, she said.

Burns said by mapping in layers the different information available about an area it helped provide a complete picture of what risks were there.

"It's an integral part ... in order to capture, manage and display geographical information."

This information has helped guide decisions on land zoning by Cera, she said.

The conference is being held at the University of Canterbury.

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