Digitalizing Disaster Management

CEP MAP (Capacity, Emergency, and Post-Emergency Management and Preparedness) is a data-led solution for managing disaster risk.

Research Review 2018

In 2018 the system was tested and integrated into the emergency management systems of the Philippine Red Cross. This digitally-enabled approach is a potential game changer for vulnerable communities faced with a disaster.

"…when people’s lives are at stake, we cannot afford to make a mistake. So reliable information, and precise information will always be important to make us really effective as a lifesaving organization."

Atty. Oscar P. Palabyab

Secretary General

Access to relevant and timely information is fundamental for managing disaster risk, and for protecting life, property and the environment. When a disaster strikes, the situation can quickly become unmanageable. If not well coordinated, response activities might become counterproductive, and allocation of resources might be inappropriate. In the absence of timely and relevant information, information vacuums can emerge, fuelling speculation or leading to the spread of false or inappropriate information. This could be critical, particularly if false information is translated into action.

Digital information management applications offer the possibility of substantially improving emergency management through facilitating knowledge sharing and more effective operations. Digitized and integrated real-time data are potential game changers for mitigating, managing, and building resilience to the impacts of disasters.

The CEP MAP platform is designed to support risk and emergency management personnel through emergency planning and preparedness, response, and recovery, by turning spatio-temporal emergency relevant data into actionable information. Special emphasis has been put on the use of data during pre- and post-disaster management, such as during early warning, hazard and vulnerability assessment, and damage evaluation, as well as in deciding upon appropriate risk-reduction measures.

With CEP MAP, risk managers and emergency management personnel have access to data and maps in web browsers and can add further data in the field with mobile apps. Using a geographic information system, it is possible to have an easy overview of geographical attributes, to locate areas of special interest or to connect geographical details with other valuable information. CEP MAP has built-in modelling functionality that can be used for training, to analyse the consequences of a possible disaster, and for tactical deployment before, during, and after a hazardous event.

The use of this technology turns risk management and planning information from an analogue state into a digital, actionable, and dynamic response in real-time operations. The integrated approach used in CEP MAP can support communities and organizations with implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by supporting users in:

  • Assuring relevant and timely information
  • Understanding disaster risk
  • Strengthening disaster risk management
  • Supporting risk-informed investments in disaster risk reduction
  • Supporting enhanced disaster preparedness

As part of this research project, DNV GL has collaborated with the Norwegian Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross to customise the CEP MAP platform to their needs. The Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies use several tools to support disaster risk reduction in vulnerable communities in developing countries, often based on engagement with local stakeholders. An important part of their toolbox is the Red Cross Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments (VCA). In collaboration with the Red Cross, DNV GL has digitized and transferred these assessments into the Capacity map of CEP MAP and connected them with the emergency and post-emergency applications. This enables the local Red Cross to access information interactively and connect local information gained from handheld devices and sensors with local and global climate and weather information and perform analyses in a cloud setup.

Further reading