Author Archives: Sam Harris-Wetherbee

Farewell Junbi Zhou; visiting PhD candidate from Hohai University, China

junbizhouPhD candidate Junbi Zhou from Hohai University was invited to join CDMPS and study with us in Melbourne for a year.

Junbi researches household vulnerability to disaster. People who live in poverty are, consequently, more vulnerable to disaster events because they have little means to help them recover. “We should target these [highly vulnerable] people when they suffer disaster losses… they should be the priority” said Junbi.

Junbi identified these highly vulnerable households in China. She analysed data about household socioeconomic factors, including household size, income and education, and used a model to determine their level of vulnerability (low to high). This information can be used to inform government policy that focusses on reducing household vulnerability and improving disaster resilience by providing, for example, better education, health insurance and forms of recovery support.

About her time at CDMPS, Junbi said “it was a great honour. It’s an excellent team [with] people from diverse backgrounds… For example, some people, like me, majored in economics or management and others are from engineering… We are able to share very different ideas, which I think make us a better team”. Junbi would like to stay in the field of disaster management and hopes to collaborate with CDMPS after she finishes her PhD thesis.

Junbi has been a valuable part of the CDMPS team and we look forward to working with her in future.

Book Launch: Spatial Enablement in a Smart World

Our close partner The Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration, in collaboration with the Global Spatial Data Infrastructures Association (GSDI), Leuven University Belgium and the University of New Brunswick Canada, released a refereed book entitled ‘Spatial Enablement in a Smart World’. The book was launched during the GSDI15 World Conference in Taipei, Taiwan.


Book launch, GSDI15

If you would like to view or download the book, you can access it here

Successful Disaster Management Workshop, GSDI World Conference

Last week, at the 15th GSDI Conference in Taipei, our team successfully delivered several research papers and a Workshop discussing the design and development of a Global Disaster Management Platform, as well as Smart Disaster Prevention.


Prof. Abbas Rajabifard, Director of CDMPS and CSDILA, presenting at the Disaster Management workshop, GSDI15


Congratulations to our new Professor


Congratulations to our research member Nelson Lam for his promotion to full Professor. 

Professor Nelson Lam is the Academic Lead of the Earthquake Resilience Unit at CDMPS.

We would like to extend these congratulations to the fine scholars recognised from across the University’s academic community in the announcement made by the VC yesterday afternoon.

Beyond Bushfires Final Report


Today the findings of ‘Beyond Bushfires’ were released; a six-year study of more than 1000 people impacted by Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires, which claimed 173 lives and damaged or destroyed 3500 buildings (2133 homes), in 2009.

The University of Melbourne, including members of CDMPS, led the study with 11 partners including government, primary health care networks and the Australian Red Cross.

The report focussed on the mental health effects of the bushfires on Black Saturday survivors and explored the influence of family, social and community relationships on individuals’ recovery. It confirmed impressive community spirit and uncovered clear evidence that human connection was at the heart of recovery and resilience.

However, many people still suffered significant mental health problems up to 5 years after the disaster. Rates of poor mental health were up to twice the levels you see in populations unaffected by a disaster.

Lead author, Assoc Prof. Lisa Gibbs, of Health Equity and CDMPS at the University of Melbourne, said “We found one of the strongest predictors of wellbeing was strong ties to other people and involvement in social networks and community groups.” Yet, the study found that social ties were also linked to poor mental health outcomes in some circumstances.

Interestingly, the study showed that connection with the natural environment often helped mental health outcomes. In addition, it provided evidence of both the positive and negative mental health effects of staying in a disaster-hit area to rebuild, versus leaving to start somewhere new.

It’s hoped that this knowledge will support recovery and future preparedness, and the report provides a series of recommendations to families, government and service providers.

To find out more, please view the Final Report


Workshop at GSDI 15 World Conference


CDMPS will present a workshop at the upcoming 15th Global Spatial Data Infrastructure World Conference (GSDI 15) in Taipei, Taiwan. The workshop will discuss the design and development of a Global Disaster Management Platform, as well as discuss Smart Disaster Prevention.

The workshop will be presented in two parts:

Part 1: The Vision for a Global Disaster Management Platform (GDMP)
This section will present the conceptual model of the GDMP. It will also discuss the components that make up the overall platform, including the Intelligent Disaster Decision Support System, RiskFinder, the Disaster Management Research Register, and the disaster Management Education Portal.

Part 2: Smart Disaster Prevention
The second part of the workshop addresses a theme of the conference – Smart Disaster Prevention. This topic will be examined and discussed in terms of how it could be achieved through models such as the GDMP.

For more details, or to enrol in our workshop, visit

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