January 06, 2003
Pilot Catastrophe Risk Assessment Study for the World Bank In Asia
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by GISCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Message from the Editor

Welcome to GISWeekly! I hope you have all returned from your holidays in good spirits and ready for twenty-oh-three. The wonderful thing about the start of a new year is the sense it gives us of starting fresh, of having the opportunity to be insightful and to look forward with eagerness to what the “new year” has to offer.

GISWeekly -- a weekly newsletter available at your desktop every Monday morning -- is GISCafe's new offering for 2003. GISWeekly will examine select top news each week, pick out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature an article on a Pilot Catastrophe Risk Assessment Study for the World Bank in Asia, Industry News, Alliances/Acquisitions, New Products, Appointments and Awards, Around the Web, and Calendar. Special this week-- “Top Ten Most Popular GISCafe Downloads from the Year 2002.”

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Ultimately, we would like to include a Letters department at some point in the future. Send your comments to me at

Best wishes for the coming year,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

December 30, 2002 --

RMSI, a global IT services company, successfully carried out a pilot catastrophe risk assessment study for four Indian states: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Orissa, as part of World Bank's ongoing regional initiatives for risk transfer in Asia.

For those not familiar with the World Bank, the World Bank Group was founded in 1944 and is one of the world's largest sources of development assistance. It is now operating in more than 100 developing countries, providing financial assistance and ideas to improve living standards. In the fiscal year 2002, the Bank provided US$19.5 billion in loans to client countries. For each client, the Bank works with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to design assistance strategies.

The purpose of this World Bank pilot catastrophe risk assessment study is threefold:

- to assess the financial risks of natural hazards including the exposures, and vulnerabilities of countries in this region to catastrophic shocks;
- secondly, to evaluate the existing post-disaster funding mechanisms in the region, including catastrophe insurance and reinsurance arrangements;
- and thirdly, to explore methods of funding the direct costs of natural disasters outside the national budget.

RMSI was awarded the study in February and challenged to deliver findings within three months' time. “It was a much bigger challenge, in view of the limitations in India when compared with developed countries, ” says Adityam Krovvidi, Head of the Risk Management Group at RMSI. “Limited data and domestic research, accessibility and reliability of the data, and also a general lack of appreciation of the benefits of public and private sector collaboration in the country made the task an uphill one, ” he adds.

A comprehensive risk assessment study of the four Indian states was created that addressed the assets of housing and public infrastructure against natural catastrophes such as cyclones, earthquakes, and floods.
In a further email correspondence with Krovvidi, I learned that the following components of the study involved spatial related applications provided by RMSI:
1) The flood risk model is GIS-based. ArcView Spatial Analyst was used to prepare digital elevation models (DEMs) and river networks, and compute flood plain extents and depths on a 100 meter grid for various return periods.
2) The windstorm risk model is also GIS-based. The model used the MapInfo platform to generate windfield around the storm. Land use and landcover data is a key input to this model. The data was derived from remote sensing images at a 25 meter resolution.
3) The exposure data of road networks was derived from remote sensing images of 23.5 meter resolution.
4) One of the key deliverables is mapping. GIS was used to generate hazard and risk maps.
Several probabilistic risk models for hazard assessment, vulnerability analysis and financial implications were developed as part of the study. Results of the comprehensive report submitted to the World Bank that help in decision-making included exposure value, average annual loss (AAL), probable maximum loss (PML), exceeding probability (EP) loss curves, and hazard/risk mapping. These findings are part of the feasibility studies and are expected to set standards for application in similar regions of the world.
The World Bank will make findings from the study public around March 2003.
January 2, 2003 --

Earth Resource Mapping announced this week the formation of a strategic partnership with AgroGIS, Brazil, an established leader in the provision of GIS solutions and data consultancy for the agricultural market in southern Brazil.

AgroGIS's flagship product, AgroGIS 2.0, has been instrumental in widening the role of Earth Resource Mapping's compression file format ECW in the Brazilian GIS market. The new partnership will allow AgroGIS to offer ER Mapper as part of their integrated GIS management solutions package.

Joe Fernando Martins of AgroGIS said: “Today, Brazil plays a major role in the world's food production chain and the use of technological solutions is growing very fast. Industries in the Agricultural sector are increasingly using geo-spatial images to analyse their data and monitor their crops. After analysing several options, we have selected ECW as AgroGIS native image file format. We look forward renewing our relationship with Earth Resource Mapping in Brazil.”

January 2, 2003 --
December 30, 2002 -

New Products

December 26, 2002 --
December 20, 2002 --


January 2, 2003--
Worldwide provider of location-based services (LBS) and enabling platforms, Webraska announced its collaboration with Cobra Automotive Technologies to power the tracking of two vehicles participating in the 25th Annual Paris-Dakar rally.
COBRA is a leading manufacturer of alarm systems for cars, and uses its new Connex wireless GPS black-box devices on the two vehicles. One black-box is installed on the motorcycle of Gerard Barbezant, world champion in his category (less than 250 cc) and the other black-box is installed on the truck of Gendarmerie Nationale (police assistance vehicle). The GPS data collected by the black-boxes will then be transmitted to Webraska's server-based platform which will display it on maps to be consulted via the web.
The objectives of the tracking of these vehicles are:
To validate the Connex tracking, anti-theft and after-theft services in severe and extreme conditions; and to demonstrate the ease-of-use and flexibility of the applications via the web.
The vehicles can be tracked on
December 26, 2002 --
Alliances of this kind are becoming more common between GIS consulting companies and providers of visualization printing and plotting software for technical applications.
The current one allies Spatial Insights, Inc., a GIS company specializing in innovative project consulting and mapping services, customized software solutions and data products for commercial customers, and Pinebush Technologies, a developer and supplier of printing and plotting software for a wide range of technical applications, in the CAD, GIS, A/E/C, mapping, scientific, and many other industries.

Pinebush's HyperXpress suite of printing and plotting software will be offered by Spatial Insights, who will act as a value added reseller and master distributor for Pinebush. The product suite has particular importance to Spatial Insights, in that it includes a highly optimized raster image processor designed to decrease printing time for large complex raster and vector images. HyperXpress can provide enhanced printing and plotting from various Windows mapping applications, including, Intergraph, ESRI or MapInfo.

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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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