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Why This University Uses the DMP Platform in its Natural Hazard Analysis Program

August 8, 2019
Parcel Data, Success Story
By: Jason Holte

SmartParcels® is the backbone of Villanova University’s tornado research and hazard analysis program.

Stephen Strader, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Villanova University’s Department of Geography and the Environment. He teaches geospatial and atmospheric science with a focus on natural hazards, particularly where tornadoes are occurring and who they are affecting. 

Villanova Campus | Why Villanova University Uses the DMP Platform in its Natural Hazard Analysis

Beyond his teaching duties, Dr. Strader is also a published expert in the field of tornado research and natural hazard analysis. “I’m looking at a lot of spatial data, and am focused on teaching and research,” says Dr. Strader. “But I’m also trying to save lives by better understanding tornado events and other natural hazards.” We spoke to Dr. Strader to better understand why he relies on our nationwide parcel database, SmartParcels, to help inform this life-saving research.

Conduct Hazard Analysis Using Map-Ready Data

Dr. Strader’s research requires data that can be easily reviewed on a map to assess the impact of tornadoes on mobile home communities. He previously used census data in his hazard analysis, but he was unable to review household-scale information using this data. 

“I was able to pull data on where individual structures were located, but mobile homes can be complicated,” Dr. Strader explains. “With SmartParcels, I can look at what’s on a parcel of land and then I can evaluate the attributes associated with that parcel. It’s a lot of data, and SmartParcels helps me gather what I need.”

Using SmartParcels has had a significant impact on Dr. Strader’s hazard analysis and tornado research, contributing to his published work in this important field:

“SmartParcels is the backbone of the methodology I use to determine where mobile homes are located, and I’ve used this data to publish peer-reviewed literature that gained publicity,” shares Dr. Strader. “It’s important that we can highlight our findings to show that tornado disasters are the result of environment and society.”

Analyze Property Data in Real-Time

When a tornado event occurs, Dr. Strader’s team has to act fast. SmartParcels allows them to quickly review and share actionable data for real-time hazard analysis.

“When there is potential for tornado events, I can update my data in real-time to get an estimate of the number of mobile homes affected,” Dr. Strader says. “I can easily share that data with my colleagues to do a post-tornado event damage survey. I can send people onsite with current data so they can make quick decisions.”

Part of the reason that Dr. Strader’s team is able to perform their hazard analysis so quickly in the event of a natural disaster is that he was able to begin leveraging SmartParcels as soon as the data was delivered to him. As he explains:

“SmartParcels was very easy to use and get up and running. It was a simple plug and play. Once I started learning the nuances of parcel data, I was able to look at how things are zoned and see the differences from county to county and area to area. It couldn’t have been easier.”

Efficiently Conduct Hazard Analysis Across Geographies

Stock photo of a mobile home community

Dr. Strader’s research is based on data for multiple regions throughout the United States. SmartParcels makes it easy to access this data remotely and perform hazard analysis in the field.

“I am specifically looking at the Southeastern United States, which has a greater number of mobile homes than anywhere else in the country,” Strader explains. “I also want to see where mobile homes are located throughout urban and rural areas. I can only get to this scale of analysis using SmartParcels.”

Learn More

SmartParcels ties over 300 property and tax attributes to parcel boundaries, and it is used by leading professionals in many fields to conduct in-depth research and analysis. Fill out the form below to receive a SmartParcels data sample, or if you’d prefer to see how our map-ready content comes to life, you can also request a free demo today!

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