HAZPAC: An Interactive GIS of Pacific Basin Natural Hazards,
Demographics, Physiography, and Infrastructure

B. Bemis, H. Goss, E. Yurkovich, J. T. Perron, and D. Howell

U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road MS 975, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Abstract

HAZPAC is a Geographical Information System (GIS) that incorporates Pacific Basin data on natural hazards, demographics, physiography, and infrastructure. Developed to convey the principles of the Crowding the Rim Initiative (a public-private partnership), HAZPAC promotes awareness of regional natural hazard risk. The overlapping and interactive layers allow users to evaluate the exposure of human population and valuable infrastructure to natural hazards.

Keywords: HAZPAC; Interactive GIS; Pacific Basin

 

1. Introduction

HAZPAC is a Geographical Information System (GIS) that incorporates Pacific Basin data on natural hazards, demographics, physiography, and infrastructure. Developed to convey the principles of the Crowding the Rim Initiative (a public-private partnership), HAZPAC promotes awareness of regional natural hazard risk. The overlapping and interactive layers allow users to evaluate the exposure of human population and valuable infrastructure to natural hazards.

All HAZPAC data is public domain and is solicited from government research agencies, academic institutions, and commercial organizations. The data (both vector and raster) are assembled, formatted, integrated, and updated on a regular basis. Current regional Pacific Rim data sets include:

・ Natural Hazards: active volcanoes, Holocene volcanoes, earthquake epicenters, seismic shaking (10 km2), tectonic plate boundaries, tropical storm zones, and tsunamis.
・ Physiography: topography (4 km2), shaded relief (4 km2), land use (1 km2), land geology, seafloor sediment, rivers.
・ Infrastructure: transportation corridors (roads, railroads, and bridges), oil and gas pipelines, power lines, telecommunication cables, air cargo routes & airports, energy resources.
・ Demographics: population density (1 km2), country boundaries, cities, lights at night (1 km2).

HAZPAC uses ArcView software with a customized interface that facilitates utilization, highlights essential functions and maximizes the GIS user's capabilities. Such functions include tallying regional populations, querying data sets, relating data layers, measuring distances, buffering features, listing metadata, and viewing the attribute table. The interface and available functions allow users to easily investigate the relationships between geospatial data sets. Quick access to data and tool descriptions, legends and user tutorials help first-time GIS users take advantage of the breadth and depth of the database without learning advanced computer skills.

 

2. HAZPAC as Interactive GIS

To maximize our audience, HAZPAC was adapted to a format accessible via the Internet and can be found at www.hazpac.org. This companion project uses ArcIMS software and allows users with Internet access to perform many of the functions executed by a sophisticated GIS (queries, buffers, finds, etc.) using only a web browser. In addition, the program is intuitive, easy to use and includes an online help menu and tutorial.

HAZPAC Online serves as the central component of the Crowding the Rim high school education module designed to teach students about Pacific Basin interconnectivity and the regional effects of natural hazard risk. The module is being developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Stanford (University) Program for International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and is scheduled to be released Spring 2001.

HAZPAC and its associated database are available for free download from the Crowding the Rim web site, www.crowdingtherim.org, as well as on CD-ROM. HAZPAC (version 1) is presently available and remains a 'work in progress' to be updated on a biannual basis as additional data layers are added. Future HAZPAC projects include the generation of Pacific Rim Exposure to Risk Maps, the incorporation of local data layers to increase resolution, and the development of a global GIS accessible via the Internet.