China Relief and Recovery Efforts Enhanced Using GIS

GIS Agencies and Volunteers Spearhead Tremendous Outreach 

Redlands, California—ESRI and ESRI China (Beijing) Limited are supplying geographic information system (GIS) software, staffing, and resources to assist in the relief and recovery efforts taking place in the Sichuan province of China, where an 8.0-magnitude earthquake occurred on May 12, causing the country’s worst natural disaster in 30 years. ESRI is working closely with government officials and dozens of agencies, supplying GIS software, services, hardware, data, and more.

ESRI launched a disaster support program to provide software to responding agencies and individuals as well as access to disaster application materials, literature, demos, and more. ESRI China (Beijing) donated money, software, and staffing. A GIS volunteer program was put into place to help GIS professionals support earthquake-related tasks, with more than 450 GIS volunteers enrolled to date. ESRI GIS software and staff are supporting the China Earthquake Administration (CEA), the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and many other organizations.

In addition, ESRI has collaborated with more than 20 technology companies, including Trimble, Hewlett-Packard, ESRI China (Beijing) business partners, imagery vendors, and data suppliers, to support the Chinese government agencies.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to the Chinese people and those affected by this terrible event," says Jack Dangermond, president, ESRI. "ESRI China (Beijing), along with ESRI teams in Redlands, California, and many GIS organizations and individuals, are working diligently to support the rescue efforts headed by the CEA and other agencies in the disaster area. Their work is important and has made a difference in the immediate rescue and relief efforts. It’s going to continue to help in long-term recovery, with GIS professionals working to rebuild communities and help people."

 "GIS gives you a very good visualization method to understand what is happening in real time," says Francis Ho, president, ESRI China (Beijing). "GIS also provides tools to better analyze large volumes of complex data. Immediately following the earthquake, we worked on a continuous basis with government agencies and others to offer assistance wherever we could. We will continue to support the long-term recovery. The work being done with GIS is helping to reduce the impact of this large, complex disaster."

Numerous GIS Applications Aid Short- and Long-Term Recovery
ESRI and ESRI China (Beijing) staff and volunteers worked with China CDC to develop an epidemic monitoring and reporting system using mobile phones. ArcInfo, ArcGIS Spatial Analyst, ArcGIS Tracking Analyst, and ArcGIS Server help track disease incidents and their spread. Staff use GPS-enabled phones and devices to wirelessly transmit data tied to locations back to the primary epidemic tracking system

The CEA, tasked with capturing and disseminating seismic information, deployed ESRI technology, including ArcIMS and ArcSDE, to launch an official Web site ( that can be viewed by both the public and other government officials. People can simply open up their desktop computers, wireless laptop computers, Web-enabled phones, or other mobile devices to view spatial data as it is being collected and published by the CEA.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs—Disaster Reduction Center requested that ESRI China (Beijing) engineers come on-site to support imagery and data processing as aerial photos and remotely sensed data depicting damage assessments and road collapses came into the center. ESRI and ESRI China (Beijing) staff, along with alliance members, help manage databases and integrate information into a single, complete picture. Staff then decide what relief workers and supplies should go to specific areas.

Other agencies using GIS resources include the Bureau of Land and Resources, Sichuan Province; the Sichuan Geomatics Center; the Sichuan Bureau of Transportation; the Sichuan Police and Fire Bureau; and the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS.

About ESRI
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at