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Table 1 Applications of spatial analysis in humanitarian coordination

From: Evaluation of spatial analysis application for urban emergency management

GIS application

Description of application


Application examples

Queries and measurements


Does not change the database or produce new data but reveals information

Scatter plots, residuals, and structured/standard query language

To determine water sources near potential IDP settlements


Numerical interrogations of GIS, which make an analysis of spatial data

Makeup distance, area, length, shape, aspect of spatial data

To estimate the total area needed to set up IDP settlements

To determine the length between food distribution points



Creates new data from existing data

Buffer analysis

Used to comply with Sphere humanitarian standards. For example, can be used to ensure that toilets are within 50 meters of shelters

Spatial interpolation

A transformation analysis method used for intelligently guessing the value of the discreet object

Thiessen polygons, inverse-distance weighting, and Kriging

To predict infection rates in IDP settlements

To estimate flow rates of well to large aquifer


Point optimization

Determines optimal locations amongst nodes of a network

Network analysis

To select location for critical infrastructure such as food storage areas

Route optimization

Determines optimal routes amongst nodes of a network

Network analysis

To access accessibility of road networks to potential IDP settlements

Path optimization

Solves are routing problems by minimizing friction value and does not require a network

Network analyst

To determine paths for utility infrastructure for IDP settlements


Geostatistical analysis

Used to measure geographic distributions, identify pattern and clusters, and analyze geographic relationships

Geostatistical analysis

To determine historical rainfall averages over a particular area, which could be applied to potential IDP locations

Centroid analysis

Used to identify trends over various phenomena in a set period

Spatial analyst

To determine trends in infectious diseases and household income levels within IDP settlements

Pattern analysis

Used to identify distribution points. Can determine whether the point is random, clustered or dispersed

Spatial analyst

To identify links between water wells and infectious diseases

Relationship analysis

Used to determine the relationship between various geographic phenomena

ArcGIS 3D analyst, ArcGIS spatial analyst and ArcGIS network analyst

To assist in increasing the efficiency of daily operation of IDP settlements


Simple three dimensions (3D) and high-resolution mapping are used globally to access a variety of information

Google earth, ESRI’s arcexplorer, and microsoft virtual earth

Allows a layperson to understand the unfolding of humanitarian emergency