Main Content

PrepTalks: Who’s at Risk? Rapid Mapping of Potential Hazard Exposure

In his PrepTalk, Dr. Chen outlines the different ways data mapping can be used to help emergency managers identify those at risk before, during, and after a disaster. He demonstrates how geospatial data combined with socioeconomic data gives emergency managers, the news media, and the public a better understanding of what the risk is and the potential associated effects of disasters. “It’s always good to [use maps to] explain where population centers are and who is vulnerable,” Dr. Chen said. He is director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), a unit of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Dr. Chen also manages the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC); part of NASA’s network of Earth Science Data Centers.

Biography

Official portrait of Dr. Robert Chen.Dr. Robert Chen is director of CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, a unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. He manages the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), part of NASA’s network of Earth science data centers supporting both research and operational use of NASA remote sensing and related data. SEDAC maintains a range of hazard-related data and tools, including georeferenced data on population distribution, infrastructure, and disaster risk hotspots, as well as map clients and a mobile app for visualizing and assessing disaster risk. Chen also co-manages the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Data Distribution Center and co-chairs the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Data Sharing Working Group and Human Planet Initiative. He recently launched an international initiative to coordinate and improve geospatial data on human settlements, infrastructure, and population. Chen is a member of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Disaster Cluster and co-leads the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Chen received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Last Updated: 
10/18/2018 - 11:11