Speakers Bio & Abstract

Barry Fradkin Senior Analyst

Mr. Fradkin specializes in geospatial analysis, hydrologic modeling, scenario planning, and hazard risk assessment. He has developed regional and urban growth projections and hazard vulnerability models in developing countries, and continues to research spatial analysis of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of climate change, natural disasters, and rapid urbanization. Mr. Fradkin received his Master?s in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and is a certified Geographic Information Systems Professional.Abstract
Assessing the Impacts of Drought on Populations in Sub-Saharan Africa using Open-Geo-spatial Data
In Sub-Saharan countries where more than half of the population live in a rural setting, weathering a drought event can become an issue of serious food security as populations are unable to tap into traditional coping mechanism such as access to international supply chains. We argue that by combining GIS spatial modeling and data sourced from open-data portals we can create a scenario framework that can shed light on the food security implications of a low, medium or high drought event down to a sub-national scale. Using Mali as a case study, we have developed the ARID (Assessing Regional Index of Drought) model to derive a regional drought index from free MODIS satellite data, which can be used to analyze variations in climate and vegetation patterns to identify significant water shortages. In order to quantify the food security impacts of a prolonged drought event, we compiled open data from multilateral organizations on agriculture, infrastructure, and water resources and developed a methodology to process these data-sets to more accurately represent their distribution within the country. In this case study, we applied the Geospatial Water Requirement Satisfaction Index tool to assess impacts on cultural crop yields in Mali in order to assess crop shortages and have used open-data portals to create a Population Vulnerability index at a sub-national scale for Mali.