timely and useful manner. The process would draw on many existing resources and capabilities. Some features of a DIN should include:

  • improved methods for finding information with specific attributes, for example, for a particular area or type of hazard;
  • ways to determine the source, quality, and reliability of information, including standards for data compatibility;
  • systems or software for integrating information rapidly to produce and deliver information tailored to the needs of a decision maker for the specific problem at hand; and
  • courses to train users and build awareness.

Much of the DIN focus should be on developing integrative products for decision makers. Top priority should be accorded this area because the wealth of information that resides in numerous databases cannot be readily utilized by those who must take action to reduce risks or respond to disaster losses. A few examples, from many that could be cited, of integrative products are:

  • international, national, regional, or local maps showing how hazards and risks vary in space and time;
  • estimates of probability of occurrence of hazardous events;
  • estimates and examples of potential effects, especially for structures;
  • real-time display of what is happening during the course of a disaster;
  • systems for contingency planning; and
  • codes, standards, and construction methods for structures.

The overall goal of a DIN should be to reduce disaster losses. This can only be achieved by building communities that are resilient to the impacts of disasters. With limited resources, community decision makers need the best information they can get on what the hazards are, how likely they are to occur, what is at risk, how the effects vary throughout a community, and what can be done to mitigate the impacts. Much of the basic data from which this information would be derived is available now; however, the process for making available information products appropriate for decision makers needs to be developed.

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