Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Canadian Disaster Database

Thanks to Ron Wencl, U.S. Geological Survey liaison to Minnesota, for passing along this information on the recent addition of a geospatial interface to the Canadian Disaster Database:

"The Canadian Disaster Database (CDD) contains detailed disaster information on more than 900 natural, technological and conflict events (excluding war) that have happened since 1900 at home or abroad and that have directly affected Canadians.  The CDD tracks “significant disaster events” which conform to the Emergency Management Framework for Canada definition of a “disaster” and meet one or more of the following criteria:
■ 10 or more people killed
■ 100 or more people affected/injured/infected/evacuated or homeless
■ an appeal for national/international assistance
■ historical significance
■ significant damage/interruption of normal processes such that the community affected cannot recover on its own

The database describes where and when a disaster occurred, the number of injuries, evacuations, and fatalities, as well as a rough estimate of the costs.  As much as possible, the CDD contains primary data that is valid, current and supported by reliable and traceable sources, including federal institutions, provincial/territorial governments, non-governmental organizations and media sources.  Data is updated and reviewed on a semi-annual basis.

A geospatial mapping component has been added to the CDD, which enables users to define their search of the disaster database by using a spatially-defined area.  It also displays query results charted across a map.  Geospatial disaster data contained in the CDD can be exported through KML or GeoRSS feeds.  Data from both the Classic CDD and the Geospatial CDD can be downloaded into report formats."

To go the CDD main page, click here.  To go directly to the geospatial interface, click here.

Comment: Few are aware that until an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in WWII, the largest man-made explosion in history had occurred in Canada.  Use the interface to see if you can find out where this disaster took place.  Here's a hint: the blast was strong enough to throw a 1/2 ton ship anchor 2.35 miles!

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