Inderscience Publishers

The influence of hazard models on GIS-based regional risk assessments and mitigation policies

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Geographic information systems (GIS) are important tools for understanding and communicating the spatial distribution of risks associated with natural hazards in regional economies. We present a GIS-based decision support system (DSS) for assessing community vulnerability to natural hazards and evaluating potential mitigation policy outcomes. The Land Use Portfolio Modeler (LUPM) integrates earth science and socioeconomic information to predict the economic impacts of loss-reduction strategies. However, the potential use of such systems in decision making may be limited when multiple but conflicting interpretations of the hazard are available. To explore this problem, we conduct a policy comparison using the LUPM to test the sensitivity of three available assessments of earthquake-induced lateral-spread ground failure susceptibility in a coastal California community. We find that the uncertainty regarding the interpretation of the science inputs can influence the development and implementation of natural hazard management policies.

Keywords: decision support systems, DSS, earthquakes, earth science, GIS, hazard susceptibility, land use portfolio, uncertainty, risk assessment, hazard modelling, risk mitigation, geographical information systems, natural hazards, regional economies, policy evaluation, community vulnerability, economic impact, loss reduction strategies, hazard management

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