College of Business
News & Research
A speedy recovery
When a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster strikes a community, its recovery is closely tied to its success in getting basic infrastructure – electricity, water supplies, natural gas lines, Internet service – back on line quickly. That process is made more difficult when the location of key infrastructure components is obscured by damage and debris.
Dr. Chetan Sankar, professor of management in the College of Business, and his students recognized that challenge and addressed it by using geospatial technology to map more than 12,000 infrastructure elements in coastal Alabama. This information will allow emergency responders to locate utility points rapidly and restore crucial services sooner.
It’s more than a matter of convenience. The economic impact is huge. A survey found that more than 40 percent of businesses on the Alabama Gulf Coast failed to reopen after natural disasters.
Sankar, director of Auburn’s Geospatial Research and Applications Center, notes that broader use of geospatial mapping technology could benefit communities regardless of their location. As the Center’s work proceeds, Sankar said it hopes to form partnerships with communities and private-sector companies to expand use of the technology.
Students benefit as well, Sankar says, by getting the chance to apply their studies in practical ways.