MGI’s 2022 Symposium Report: Dominica well on the road to recovery

As the Surviving Storms | Caribbean Cyclone Cartography Project approaches its final months, our first post-research symposium took place at the Fort Young Hotel, in the Commonwealth of Dominica on August 25th and 26th 2022. Each work package presented its outcomes so far at the interactive workshop, which included short films, books (soon to be published), research findings, water irrigation projects, artwork, and more. 

This post may be be read as a StoryMap in the box below or scroll down on this main page to read in standard blog format.

The Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) team, comprising of MGI Director and work package lead Dr. Ava Maxam and Geographic Information Systems research associate Gabrielle C Abraham, presented on ‘Mapping Hurricane Recoveries and Resilience’, as well as holding a drone demo with workshop participants. 

(Left to right) MGI Director and work package lead Dr. Ava Maxam (Jamaica) and G.I.S. Research associate Gabrielle C Abraham 
Gabrielle Abraham, with Dominica Symposium participants at Fort Young Hotel, having a drone demo showing the ways in which drones can be used to collect images of an area, processed into a raster image and use for further spatial analysis and mapping

The main objective of MGI’s work package is to map Hurricane survivals and recoveries, as well as assessing repair in a 4 year- post hurricane environment and how we have adapted to become more resilient. 

The Ti Kai Project Presentation on hurricane hardy Vernacular Houses
The CCC project team (Farah Nibbs was unable to attend)
Student Inerns from Create Caribbean and researchers on the Dominica Story Project
Members of the Women Farmers Group NEWAM, participants in the Rainwater Harvesting and Oral History Projects

More on Work Package 5 – Mapping Hurricane Recoveries and esilience 

A Work Package Timeline

Phase 1

Preliminary data gathering and Exposure Hazard Vulnerability (EVH) modeling in Jamaica at MGI – 2020. Read more here.

Phase 2

Fieldwork in Dominica 2021

Phase 3

Post-fieldwork analysis and writing


Phase 2- Fieldwork

During the fieldwork phase of the study in Dominica, the main research methods included: 

  • building survey and damage assessment
  • drone image capture
  • in-person interviews
  • data sourcing, gathering and collection

Building Survey and Damage assessment 

In Dominica, one of the main tools we used to analyze building damage and repair within the areas of interest, was a building survey. Using ESRI ArcCollector, GPS data and various attributes of the buildings and community asset infrastructure were collected in real-time on the field. These categories of attributes included building status (critical in understanding the level of damage/repair), roof material, roof shape, structure material, structure shape, presence or absence of overhangs over 16″, presence or absence of hurricane shutters, floors, foundation type, window type, presence or absence of large openings, and general comments on the buildings. 

CCC project AOI damage assessment: The red dots indicate points which were collected in 2021 containing detailed building data

Drone image capture 

Aerial imagery plays a critical role in geospatial analysis. A lot can be assessed using spatial tools, including recovery. During the data collection period, drone images were collected of each area of interest from 1 to 6 months post-Hurricane Maria in 2017. To perform comparative spatial analysis later, MGI collected drone images at the same distance of the same areas in May-June 2021, 4 years after the hurricane. From there the drone images can be processed into geospatial TIFF (raster) files, and processed using ESRI ArcGIS Pro image analysis tools, such as the Compute Change Raster tool, to compare the changes in the roofs of the images.

(left) Roseau October 2017 (RescUVA) 
(right) Roseau June 2021 (MGI)

In-Person Interviews 

On field in Loubiere Dominica with one of the Loubiere village councillors who took us around to some of the most devastated areas of Loubiere, Dominica. (Left) Standing next to flood marks on the wall in 2021, as high as 5 feet.
(Gabrielle, with village councillor Brian, studying the level of debris in an abandoned apartment in Loubiere which was flooded by the river. 

Phase 3 – Analysis 

The Mona Geoinformatics team is now in the analysis stage, processing the data which was collected. Our first research paper, ‘A comparative study of 4-year post-Hurricane Maria recovery and adaptive repair in the communities of Coulibistrie and Roseau, Dominica (2017-2021)’ is in its final stages to hopefully be published by the end of the year. 

Look out for more upcoming blog posts and publications from the Surviving Storms team. Be sure to have a look at the interactive map on the Surviving Storms website before, featuring stories of other work packages, Ti Kai’s, hazards and more. 

[This post also features on MGI’s website – accessible here]

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Mapping hurricane hazards, survivals and repair in Dominica