To use geographical information during extreme weather events to help vulnerable groups in a changing climate


  • Annika Carlsson-Kanyama
  • Arne Bergquist
  • Anna-Karin Johansson
  • Andreas Johansson
  • Ida Knutsson
  • Anita Linell
  • Hanna Öberg

Publish date: 2009-06-10

Report number: FOI-R--2762--SE

Pages: 77

Written in: Swedish


  • GIS
  • climate change
  • extreme weather events
  • vulnerable groups


With the overall aim of furthering adaptation to climate change in Swedish municipalities and regions, the research programme Climatools collaborated with the Swedish National Institute of Public Health and the Swedish Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registration Authority in order to determine how geographic information (GI) and geographical information systems (GIS) are used and how they could be employed in helping vulnerable groups during the extreme weather events predicted to become more common due to global warming. Within the Climatools framework, we reviewed how GI and GIS are being used in some Swedish municipalities and carried out an inventory of different registers/databases that could be of use during GI/GIS-assisted crisis management in the future. We also constructed a prototype of a geographical information tool that can be used as inspiration when developing new tools for climate adaptation work. Our conclusions are that GIS can be a valuable tool in climate adaptation efforts. In fact, it is already being used today in well-developed ways for crisis management in a number of municipalities. Many municipal authorities already have access to local data in their GIS tools that can be used to help vulnerable groups during a weather-related crisis. Examples include number of inhabitants within the municipality, their age and gender, and those requiring home help. We found a number of registers available at various database hosts that could be used for creating new GIS tools. However, there seems to be some confusion about overall responsibility for these registers, which makes data collection tedious and unsuited to a crisis situation. In future work, we suggest a commitment to developing more prototype tools in order to get a more comprehensive picture of the potential for GIS to identify vulnerable groups during different types of extreme weather events. The authorities and agencies concerned should also be informed about the need to be able to deliver register data quickly and in a form that can be used by GIS. Furthermore, we suggest a review of how GIS is used in climate adaptation work in other countries with the aim of identifying good examples of how GIS can be used in a changing climate.