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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A geographical information system's approach to analyzing critical infrastructure interdependencies : a case study at the UBC campus Cervantes Larios, Alejandro


In the past few years, the study of critical infrastructures and the interdependencies amongst them in the context of an emergency situation has become a priority for many countries, including Canada. Governments, universities, and private companies all over the world are spending vast amounts of money and effort trying to better understand how infrastructures and humans react in the time stages before, during, and after a disruptive event. Analyzing complex systems such as those formed by infrastructure networks and decision makers is not a simple task and requires a multidisciplinary holistic approach. The field of research in infrastructure interdependencies is fairly new, and lies in the intersection of areas of knowledge such as emergency management, geography, simulation modeling, planning, and safety engineering. Analyzing interdependencies between infrastructure networks is not only a complex problem in terms of its formalization, but also in terms of the intricacy required to test and validate that formalization. Furthermore, identifying and having access to the data necessary to validate the formal system is probably an even more complicated issue to resolve. It is, however, only through the study of these interdependencies that certain failures or weaknesses in the systems can be discovered; weaknesses that could not be studied through the analysis of a single isolated system. Not only is it a challenging task to analyze the interconnections between infrastructure systems, but studying these at moments of stress, when the interdependencies become dynamic, is even more difficult. In this thesis I explore the intersection between three main themes: Critical infrastructure interdependencies, Emergency Management, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Furthermore, I analyze the different types of interdependencies between infrastructure systems, I describe some of the challenges that have to be dealt with when modeling interdependencies, and I explore the possibility of modeling and visualizing some of these interdependencies by constructing an Infrastructure Geographical Information System of the UBC campus.

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