Towards a spatial data infrastructure for technological disasters: an approach for the road transportation of hazardous materials

Silva, J.B., Giannotti, M.A., Larocca, A.P.C. et al. GeoJournal (2017) 82: 293. First Online: 15 October 2015. [not an open access journal]

GeoJournalAbstract: Spatial data have been used for the environmental monitoring of the consequences of accidents that involve the transportation of hazardous chemical products. This spatial data infrastructure (SDI), which was created for the sharing and use of spatial data, is limited by the absence of policies to support its establishment. The main objective of this study was to explore the use of social network analysis (SNA) as a tool to identify spatial data sharing between organizations involved in the management of accidents related to road transport of hazardous materials (RTHM). In addition, to discuss the existing policies and institutional agreements, and to initiate a conceptual SDI framework for RTHM sector. In this context, the institutions that are involved with RTHM were identified and information concerning their interest in the use and sharing of spatial data via a SDI was collected through interviews and consolidated. The interviews were at 39 institutions with representative employees. The interview data were tabulated and entered into the UCINET software (2000 version) to calculate metrics of centrality. From the SNA, the flow of data among the participating institutions was identified through the visual representation of the spatial data sharing and use networks. Subsequently, the existing institutional agreements for spatial data sharing were analyzed and discussed. The compiled results enabled the proposal of a conceptual SDI framework to support the management of disasters involving RTHM, based on the application of SNA theory, and the development of a methodology that supports the analysis of interactions among the various actors of an SDI. The purpose is to facilitate the formulation of policies for the sharing of spatial data for decision-making and preventive disaster management. The results indicate that the 39 institutions share spatial data, but this sharing is not always predetermined by formal agreements. Furthermore, there is a strong demand, by the institutions involved in the management of RTHM accidents, regarding legal mechanisms governing the sharing of data for the purpose of producing maps that help to describe actions of preparedness, prevention, management and immediate relief involving RTHM incidents. Finally, it was possible to propose a conceptual framework with data that is considered essential for creating an SDI for RTHM.

Key words: SDI, SNA, GIS, RTHM, RTHM, policy articulation, technological disasters