Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Emergency Management System (GEMS) for the University of Redlands

Publication Date


Committee Chair

Glenn Hyman, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Karen K. Kemp, Ph.D.
Lee Peterson


Emergency management encompasses a wide range of activities and occurs at all levels of government ranging from federal agencies to individual localities. However, emergency management is vital outside of government, and the safety of students, personnel, and visitors is a top priority for the University of Redlands (UoR). In time of crisis, the President of the University of Redlands, and other senior University officials have the primary responsibility for effectively managing any emergency that might occur on or affect the UoR campus. The Crisis Management Plan (CMP) at the UoR is designed to be a flexible framework for crisis management rather than step-by- step directions for handling any and every conceivable crisis.

If a disaster were to occur, the response and recovery efforts could be initially focused to the areas with the most critical danger and the areas with the largest concentrations of people. The Geographic Information System (GIS) Emergency Management System (GEMS) application is an interactive system to be utilized in the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to direct the response. The intended audience in the EOC will consist of members from University Campus Safety, Facilities Management, and the Administration. To assist those responding to a disaster in the field, a campus map with concentrations of people identified and threat areas overlaid, would be of invaluable benefit. This output can be printed from the GEMS application and delivered to response personnel as appropriate.

The GEMS application was developed to support the CMP at the UoR and provide a flexible framework for mitigating, preparing, responding and recovering from a disaster. The overall goal for the GEMS application is to develop, promote, and implement location-based data and GIS technology in support of emergency management at the UoR. The GEMS approach is to integrate geographic and attribute data from the UoR with disaster occurrence data to analyze, support, record and track the different phases of emergency response management. GEMS is a customized Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), ArcGIS 8.x application created with the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) development environment and the ArcObjects library. All code is saved within the GEMS.mxd (an ArcGIS map document) and can leverage the full GIS functionality of ArcGIS. An installation CD for GEMS has been created for all the required components to run on top of the ArcGIS application. GEMS can be easily implemented on any machine running ArcGIS 8.2.

Full text is available at the University of Redlands


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