Geospatial Analysis of Environmental Vulnerability
Southeast Asia
co-funded by ASEA Uninet, Austria, 2013)


Environmental Vulnerability refers to the interface between exposure to the environmental threats to socio-economic well being on one side and the capacity of people and administrative structures to cope with those threats on the other side. All the societies and countries strive to achieve well being of the people and their continued further development in the future. They devise several methods to channelize human, financial and environmental resources for this purpose. In spite of having high-tech capabilities to control various social, economic and environmental factors, no country has succeeded in ‘absolute environmental control’. All the societies are susceptible to the effects of various environmental changes although the levels vary over space and time.

Environmental vulnerability may arise from a range of social and environmental factors singly as well as in combination with several other factors. A broader understanding of the socio-economic aspects of Southeast Asian countries reflects that the region is characterised by:

  • a high concentration of population and major / large scale economic activities in the coastal zone which faces a threat of sea level rise
  • a large proportion of population is dependent on primary sector activities like agriculture, fisheries, forestry and exploitation of natural resources which face a number of natural and human-induced threats

The above description suggests that well being of the people in Southeast Asian countries is exposed to significant level of Environmental vulnerability. Taking appropriate measure for reducing the threats requires extensive analysis of cause and effect relationship in order to identify aspects of intervention at various levels.


An extensive understanding of the environmental and socio-economic patterns over space and an intensive analysis of changes over time require identification of various indicators as well as interdisciplinary methodologies and sophisticate technologies for analysing their spatial and temporal interrelationships. GIScience has developed the methods for capturing, processing and analysing various types of spatial information and have the tools for re-presenting the present, re-constructing the past and projecting the future scenarios. However, the capabilities to perform sophisticate analysis based on Geoinformatics are not sufficiently developed everywhere and a ’transfer of know-how’ from expert institutions to other collaborating institutions ensures contribution to the institutional capacity building process.

  • deliver seminars / lectures for enhancing conceptual understanding of environmental vulnerability
  • explain the interrelationships among environment, society and economy
  • give intensive ’hands-on-training’ of using Geospatial tools and technologies for analysing various environmental, social and economic aspect of vulnerability
GIScience is an interdisciplinary science which deals with the applied part of geographical reasoning based on the intensive use of computers and it requires understanding of both theoretical and practical parts of the discipline. 


 Organiser Institutions
 - Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics - ZGIS,  University of Salzburg, Salzburg
 - ASEA Uninet, Innsbruck
 - Remote Sensing and GIScience Reseyrch Group, Faculty of Earth Science & Technology, Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB),

 Participant Institutions

 - Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), Bogor
 - Diponegoro University, Semarang

 - Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB), Bandung
University of Indonesia, Depok
 - University of Brawijaya, Malang

 - National Univesity of Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor
University Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor

University of the Philippines, Diliman
University of the Philippines, Visayas

 - Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
 - Prince of Songkla University, Phuket

OUTCOMES (see the blog here)
  • An intensive Faculty Development Workshop was organised at the Faculty of Earth Science & Technology, Bandung Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB), Bandung from 2nd to 6th September, 2013
  • 18 teachers and postgraduate students participated in the workshop and completed individual Geospatial practical projects exploring various aspects of environmental vulnerability in Southeast Asia. All the participants presented the outcomes of their projects in the dissemination seminar.
Contact: Dr. Shahnawaz, Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, University of Salzburg, Austria.