The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says geo mapping statistical data proved invaluable to disaster authorities in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam struck in mid-March.
The Director of of SPC's Statistics for Development Division, Gerald Haberkorn, says incorporating GIS mapping technology into Vanuatu's last census in 2009 allowed disaster authorities to have an accurate estimate of the extent of the destruction caused by cyclone Pam within 24 hours of it hitting the country.
"So we could establish that in Port Vila at a minimum 65 percent of the dwellings would have been destroyed, because they were made out of non permanent building materials. In Tanna we predicted about 80 percent of the dwellings would be destroyed because of non-permanent building materials and it turned out to be 90."
Mr Haberkorn says this was possible because each household's coordinates were linked to the infomation collected from that household creating what are essentially addresses in rural areas where no streets or house numbers exist.