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Mapping and Tracking Vulnerable Populations Using Geospatial Technologies


Approximately 40 minutes

Course Description:

The online course “Mapping and Tracking Vulnerable Populations Using Geospatial Technologies” features a presentation delivered by Christina Finch, MS. Topics covered include the distribution of hazards and the capacity of populations to prepare for, respond to, cope with, or recover from a hazard event. GIS tools, spatial analysis, and vulnerability assessments will be used to identify priorities, inform evidence-based decisions, and target preparedness measures, while highlighting areas with potential for uneven recovery.

This presentation was recorded at Pacific EMPRINTS’ 2010 Pacific Preparedness Conference: Capacity Building to Address Vulnerable Populations in Natural Disasters, on March 31, 2010. This Conference was funded by the FY 2008 Homeland Security Grant Program #2008-GE-T8-0022 via the Hawaii State Civil Defense.


This online course fulfills, in part, the following Core Competencies for Teaching Emergency Preparedness to Health Professions Students and Clinical Personnel:
  1. List and describe the different phases of disasters.
  2. Explain the concepts of and describe selected methods of hazard risk assessment and all hazards planning.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this online course, participants will be able to:
  1. Understand the importance of spatial perspectives and GIS in all phases of emergency management.
  2. Discuss socioeconomic characteristics that influence a person or group’s ability to prepare for, respond to, cope with, or recover from a hazard event.
  3. Be aware of GIS tools and capabilities that can identify vulnerable populations and inform evidence-based decision-making.

Target Audiences:

Public Health personnel, Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Dentists, Veterinarians, Emergency Planners, GIS Analysts, Other Emergency Medical Services personnel.


Christina Finch, MS
Ms. Finch, the Pacific Disaster Center’s (PDC) Senior Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Analyst, has completed multiple risk assessments for a range of hazards and locations. Prior to joining PDC, Ms. Finch was Lab Manager at the Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute (HVRI) at the University of South Carolina, where she managed GIS resources project development, provided emergency planning support for state and local governments, and maintained hazard databases while generating outreach materials.

From 2005-2006, Ms. Finch was a Mitigation GIS Lead for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), providing GIS support for the FEMA Region IV Disaster Assistance Employee Cadre. She responded to the 2004 Hurricane season in Florida, Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, two severe flooding projects in California, and assisted in the Mapping and Analysis Center in Washington, D.C. In each of these deployments, Ms. Finch was able to utilize her GIS skills and academic background in environmental hazards and social vulnerability to support FEMA mitigation projects. She provided a spatial analysis of severe repetitive loss properties; a spatial examination of designated floodplains, Hurricane Katrina storm surge, and level of damage and homeowners insurance; as well as an estimation of economic losses avoided due to mitigation measures.

Certificate of Completion:

A Certificate of Completion is available to be printed for this course upon completion of the post-test with a score of 80% or higher.

Cost: FREE*

*subject to change without notice.