A collaborative GIS framework to support equipment distribution for civil engineering disaster response operations

Albert Y. Chen, Feniosky Peña-Mora, Yanfeng Ouyang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After an eXtreme Event (XE) hits an urban area, well-organized response operations are required to mitigate the chaotic situation. Efficient allocation of resources such as construction equipment is critical to the performance of disaster response operations. This paper presents a Geographic Information System (GIS) based framework that facilitates equipment allocation in response to disasters. The framework is composed of three subsystems to facilitate information gathering and decision making for equipment distribution. First, an application that runs on mobile devices for on-field resource request is developed. Second, a resource repository is implemented with a geosaptial database that enables spatial query of resources with a graphical interface. In addition, a GIS which enables automated decision making such as resource matching and route finding for resource distribution is presented. Integration of decision models into the framework to support complex decision making for equipment distribution is also proposed. With the framework in place, disaster response operations could become more efficient. Simulated test cases have been carried out for Champaign, IL, the City of Chicago and the New York City. Future research will be directed towards further expansion and validation of the framework through interaction with emergency management agencies in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-648
Number of pages12
JournalAutomation in Construction
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Disaster response
  • GIS
  • Resource management
  • Split delivery
  • VRP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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