GIS – an important tool to help build more Resilient & Sustainable Communities

Resilience & Sustainability  – are interesting terms that are used in both science and engineering, and with nature and mankind.  Here are some definitions I found…

Resilience in science and engineering is the ability of a material to absorb energy without creating a permanent distortion.

Resilience in nature and mankind refers to what happens when a natural system or people encounter a problem.  Resilience is the adaptive capacity of the natural system or people to bounce back, or the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

Resilience as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security is the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.

Sustainability – in ecology is how biological systems remain diverse and productive. In more general terms, sustainability refers to the endurance of systems and processes.

Sustainable Development – is the organizing principle for sustainability, which includes the four interconnected domains, ecology, economics, politics and culture.

GIS support of Resilience & Sustainability – So what does GIS have to do with building Resilient & Sustainable Communities?  GIS data and technology plays a critical role in helping efficiently manage and improve our infrastructure, government services, natural resources, environment, and public safety in our communities.  We see clear examples from the Emergency Management community of Planning, Mitigation, Response and Recovery efforts enhanced by ready access to GIS data and technology.  So it is not too far a leap in logic to recognize that the effective use of our communities existing and new GIS investments will also help increase our local and statewide resiliency and response to emerging sustainability challenges.

Resilience & Sustainability [and GIS] Funding – One of IGIC’s goals is to help our members identify and pursue sources of funding to help support GIS in Indiana.  Historically funding support for both statewide and local GIS projects came into Indiana through Federal Disaster funds, and from grants from the US Geological Survey, US Department of Transportation, and US Department of Agriculture.  Funding sources have changed significantly over the past decade, so we need to adjust our attention to where the money is flowing.  A few new Federal initiatives [and money] to support Resilience & Sustainability are just now beginning to roll out:

GIS data and technology will play a critical role in these initiatives – here are some examples of how:

Whitehouse Climate Data Initiative Launches with Strong Public and Private Sector Commitments
Posted on the Whitehouse Blog on March 19, 2014


Click here to watch Jack Dangermond’s Whitehouse presentation on YouTube.

Resilient Communities, Efficient Governments: Tools for Today and Tomorrow
Posted on GovLoop* by Adrian Pavia on May 30, 2014

10 Steps to Create More Resilient Communities
Posted on GovLoop* by Pat Fiorenza on May 30, 2014

*GovLoop is the “Knowledge Network for Government” – the premier social network connecting over 100,000 federal, state, and local government innovators.

This post is just the beginning of a conversation I hope we can have to help advance GIS for Indiana.


Philip S. Worrall
Executive Director
Indiana Geographic Information Council, Inc.

Speak Your Mind