GIS helped prevent casualties during Typhoon Fanapi: DGH

GIS helped prevent casualties during Typhoon Fanapi: DGH

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Taipei, Taiwan: A geographic information system (GIS) used to monitor the country’s traffic proved effective at keeping motorists away from potentially dangerous roads when Taiwan was struck by Typhoon Fanapi in mid-September, the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) said. The first-hand information provided by the system allowed the DGH to monitor various vulnerable road sections and bridges prior to and during the storm and reduce the risk of casualties, said Chen Shou-chiang, an engineer with the DGH’s Central Emergency Command Center.

According to the DGH, the 18 road sections were completely blocked by landslides and other natural obstacles triggered by the typhoon, and the other 48 that suffered minor damage, were all tracked by the system.

Because of the GIS, the agency was able to close some roads and bridges, before the storm hit, to prevent motorists from being caught in sudden road or bridge collapses. Also, the agency was able to monitor roads in real-time to keep vehicles away soon after the problems occurred. The DGH added that all 66 of the affected road sections were opened to traffic by the end of September.

The installation in April of the NTD1.3 million cloud computing system aimed at integrating information from relevant government branches to enhance the response to natural disasters, Chen said. He said the system has encouraged collaboration between various departments; agencies having access to the platform’s database are all able to share instant typhoon information and local contacts to improve response efficiency. Participating agencies include the Central Weather Bureau, the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, the Water Resources Agency, and the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.

Until now, however, the system has been only partially open to the public due to the Computer-Processed Personal Data Protection Law. “Technically speaking, the system is ready to go online anytime,” Chen said. “We hope a public edition without specific information will hit the road soon.”

Source: Focus Taiwan