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GIS helps prevent traffic accidents during Fanapi

2010/10/01 22:42:34

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) A geographic information system (GIS) usedto monitor the country's road system proved effective at keepingmotorists away from potentially dangerous roads when Taiwan wasstruck by Typhoon Fanapi in mid-September, the Directorate General ofHighways (DGH) said Friday.

The first-hand information provided by the system allowed the DGHto monitor many vulnerable road sections and bridges prior to andduring the storm and reduce the risk of casualties, said ChenShou-chiang, an engineer with the DGH's Central Emergency CommandCenter.

According to the DGH, the 18 road sections were completelyblocked by landslides and other natural obstacles triggered by thetyphoon, and the other 48 that suffered minor damage, were alltracked by the system.

Because of the GIS, the agency was able to close off some roadsand bridges before the storm hit to prevent motorists from beingcaught in sudden road or bridge collapses and it could also monitorthe roads in real-time to keep vehicles away soon after problemsoccurred.

The DGH added that all 66 of the affected road sections wereopened to traffic by the end of September.

The installation in April of the NT$1.3 million (US$41.000) cloudcomputing system aimed at integrating information from relevantgovernment branches to enhance the response to natural disasters,Chen said.

He said the system has encouraged cross-department collaboration,with agencies having access to the platform's database all able toshare instant typhoon information and local contacts to improveresponse efficiency.

Participating agencies include the Central Weather Bureau, theNational Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, theWater Resources Agency, and the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau,according to the DGH.

Until now, however, the system has been only partially open tothe public due to the Computer-Processed Personal Data ProtectionLaw.

"Technically speaking, the system is ready to go online anytime,"Chen said. "We hope a public edition without specific informationwill hit the road soon."

(By Hsin-Yin Lee)