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GIS applications in emergency management: Infusing geographic literacy in the classroom

Laura Siebeneck, PhD, Ronald L. Schumann III, PhD, Britt-Janet Kuenanz, PhD Student


Objective: The purpose of this article is to promote growth and recognition of geographic literacy among students, faculty, and emergency management practitioners through presentation of an array of possibilities that will further best practices in emergency management higher education.

Design: Guided by previous research examining the development of geographic literacy in undergraduate students, this article provides examples of traditional and newer technologies in geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial analysis that can be incorporated into the classroom to enhance the knowledge and skill sets of future emergency managers.

Setting: The setting for this article includes colleges and universities offering emergency management degree programs.

Results: The information resulting from a review of the literature provides a description of traditional and newer technologies used to address spatial issues in the management of hazards and disasters as well as practical suggestions for incorporating these technologies into classroom activities.

Conclusions: Geographic literacy is an essential competency for the next generation of emergency managers and as such, classroom activities should provide students hands-on experience working with GIS and other geospatial technologies.


GIS, geographic literacy, higher education, VGI, participatory GIS

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