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Title: The use of geospatial tools to support, monitor and evaluate post-disaster recovery
Author: Brown, Daniel
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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The aim of this research is to test the feasibility of using remote sensing-based information products and services to support the planning, monitoring and evaluation of recovery after disaster. The thesis begins by outlining the process of post-disaster recovery, what it entails and who is involved. The data and information needs at different stages of the disaster cycle are introduced and the importance of monitoring and evaluating post-disaster recovery is discussed. The literature review introduces the high-spatial-resolution remote sensing market and the technology focusing on current sensors’ capabilities. This is followed by a review of previous attempts to measure post-disaster recovery by practitioners and academics. At the end of the chapter a list of recovery indicators, suitable for remote sensing analysis, are presented and assessed through a user needs survey. In chapter 3, the six recovery categories and thirteen indicators identified in the literature review form a framework for the retrospective analysis of recovery in Thailand and Pakistan. A selection of results is presented to demonstrate the usefulness of remote sensing as a recovery monitoring tool. To assess its reliability, the results from the satellite image analysis are triangulated against narratives and datasets acquired on the ground. The next two chapters describe work done whilst providing real-time support to two humanitarian agencies operating in Port-au-Prince one-and-a-half years after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Chapter 4 describes how geospatial tools were used to support a British Red Cross integrated reconstruction project for 500 households living in an informal settlement. The chapter describes how geospatial tools were used as a rapid assessment tool, and to support cadastral and enumeration mapping and the community participatory process. While previous chapters focus on the manual analysis of satellite imagery, chapter 5 reports how semi-automatic analyses of satellite imagery were used to support UN-Habitat by monitoring a planned camp and large-scale instances of spontaneous settlement. The conclusion to the thesis summarises the key lessons learnt from the retrospective analysis of recovery in Thailand and Pakistan and the real-time application in Haiti. Recommendations are then made on how to effectively use remote sensing in support of post-disaster recovery focussing on what to measure, when and how. Recognising that a mixed-method approach can best monitor recovery, recommendations are also made on how to integrate remote sensing with existing tools.
Supervisor: Spence, Robin Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: remote sensing ; gis ; disaster ; recovery ; reconstruction ; monitoring ; evaluation ; humanitarian ; big data