ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda was represented among 12 countries present in Jamaica for a two-day comprehensive training and symposium as the University of the West Indies (UWI) prepares to roll out the Caribbean Disaster Risk Atlas.
The training formed part of capacity-building efforts to support the implementation of the Atlas, a release said.
The Caribbean Disaster Risk Atlas is a state-of-the-art analytical mapping tool providing up-to-date and verified data for the analysis and management of natural hazards in the region.
It is designed to run on the Geonode platform and further allows for the integration of various social media networks to facilitate involvement at all levels.
The two-day session included use of the Geographic Information System and risk estimation in disaster risk reduction, along with the presentation of technical papers from a two-year investigation on flood and seismic risks in Barbados, Grenada and Jamaica.
Present at the Jamaica Grand Conference Centre event in Ocho Rios were insurers, physical planners, engineers, disaster coordinators, researchers, geologists and spatial data specialists from the private and public sectors.
The training, conducted by specialists from within the Caribbean drawn from the UWI and private sector, exposed participants to the theoretical and practical demonstrations on the installation, customisation and use of Geonode and MAEViz software.
“Geonode is an easy-to-use GIS data-archiving and sharing tool while MAEViz is an earthquake loss estimation system that takes the probabilistic and deterministic earthquake hazard results recently found, and, amongst other analyses, determines the loss the building stock would suffer,” Machel Higgins, scientific software engineer at the Seismic Research Centre in Trinidad, said.
“We are currently modifying MAEViz to be a regional infrastructure data capture, estimation and sharing platform which will rely on the data services provided by Geonode.”
National Office of Disaster Services Data Base Specialist in Antigua, Alvah Guishard, has endorsed the training as very beneficial and timely.
“Given the uses of Geonde and that in Antigua there is a great need for a software that allows geo-spatial data, and especially now that funds are very tight, this software could be very handy,” Guishard said.
“When this application is utilised in Antigua, my day-to-day functions will be greatly enhanced since I would no longer need to be calling agencies whenever I need data.”
Another trainee from Dominica expressed similar sentiments.
“The two days have been enriching and very relevant, not only to my office, but also the disaster management as well as the land and survey offices,” the trainee said.