Jesse Brinkman was born and raised on the island of Maui. He is currently enrolled at Maui Community College and is pursuing an A.S. degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET). In his spare time, Jesse enjoys playing his bass guitar, playing video games, and hanging out with friends.

Home Island: Maui
Institution when accepted: Maui Community College

Mapping African Disasters
Project Site: Pacific Disaster Center (PDC)
Mentor: Pam Cowher, Chris Chiesa

Project Abstract:

While we cannot quite predict all disasters, some methods for predicting disasters and their effects do exist. The goal of this project was to geocode, or assign a geographic coordinate to, natural disasters that took place in Africa since 1981, and then analyze the data for trends. The first step of the project was to acquire the disaster data from the Emergency Database (EMDAT) which is maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). The data then had to be prepared for insertion into the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program ArcGIS. This software is designed to create, manage, and analyze geospatial information. In order to insert the data into ArcGIS, disasters had to be assigned a latitude/longitude coordinate and the data had to be reformatted. Once the data had been geocoded, we analyzed the data for patterns in both spatial and temporal distributions. Analysis of the data showed that the number of reported disasters has skyrocketed in recent years, but the number of deaths per year due to natural disasters has actually decreased. We also looked for possible ties between the occurrence of droughts in Africa and El Nino/La Nina years, as well as connections between development indicators and average death rates. Additional details and results from the data and analysis will be presented.