Community Resiliency Information System (CRIS)



Community Resiliency Information System (CRIS), a Tool to Foster Resiliency

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Overview of CRIS:

CRIS or the Community Resiliency Information System, an interactive web-based application, can “Make Smart Cities Smarter” by allowing residents from diverse communities to communicate their needs directly to government decision-makers. CRIS is designed to identify unique resiliency needs by combining biophysical vulnerability with sea-level rise, flooding, and storm surge impact as well as socio-economic vulnerabilities at the neighborhood level, so solutions (including access to resources and information) can be customized by neighborhood to ensure equitable resiliency. CRIS facilitates two-way communication including built-in features that allow for quick surveys of the community. Government, businesses, and non-governmental organizations can examine the aggregated needs of participating communities collected through CRIS’s surveys and therefore provide mission-specific solutions, thus helping build resiliency while maintaining participant privacy.  CRIS provides ongoing dialog with the communities as well as the ability to provide real-time assistance during a disaster.  No longer will officials only learn about these needs after the disaster.  

Background on CRIS:

CRIS is a customizable crowdsourced integrative knowledge network, with a two-way communication system designed to enhance communities’ resilience in the context of climate change, sea-level rise, natural disasters such as flooding and extreme weather events that is integrated with Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

This unique and interactive resiliency tool combines physical data (including, storm surge, sea-level rise and flooding), environmental hazards (including various environmental justice (EJ) indices) and socio-economic data from the census, with live survey data to map and reveal patterns of risks and highlight specific resiliency issues associated with natural hazards in our area. In addition, sensor data (currently only air quality sensor data) are also fed into the system and displayed in real-time. While CRIS was developed for the City of St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, it is fully transferable and scalable to other areas.

CRIS, can be a powerful tool that can help cities adopt a Holistic Smart City approach to foster resiliency to flooding, extreme weather events, sea-level rise and other natural disasters.

Benefits of CRIS:

CRIS helps us identify unique resiliency needs at the community level, so solutions (including access to resources and information) can be customized by neighborhood to ensure equitable resiliency. The ability to cope with flooding, climate change and sea-level rise varies from community to community and individual to individual.​

By combining elevation, flood, sea-level rise, storm surge, environmental hazard data along with crowdsourced community-based qualitative data, CRIS provides a multi-faceted comprehensive needs-assessment at the neighborhood scale. Focused assessments can facilitate customizable local solutions and resource allocation for resiliency. A set of qualitative research techniques including built-in surveys are used with CRIS to obtain detailed assessments of each neighborhood in terms of economic insecurity, health challenges, resource needs and social capital. CRIS helps identify neighborhood level socio-economic and biophysical vulnerabilities, which then can be combined with crowdsourced data using embedded survey tools to identify unique needs of each community in the context of preparedness, resiliency, and adaptation.

CRIS combines primary data collected in real time with readily available public data to help cities make better decisions before, during and after a disaster, as well as in their day-to-day operations for short, medium and long-term planning. Situations such as those associated with Hurricane Michael (where structures were completely obliterated and economic functions severely impaired) require different information and resources to help with recovery and resilience building when compared to Hurricane Irma, where power loss was a major problem, or storms (like tropical storm Debby) that caused flooding. CRIS allows for multi-stage scenario-based action plans to address specific challenges at neighborhood levels to boost recovery and foster resiliency.

Why use CRIS?

CRIS is integrated with a webGIS in which neighborhood level socio-economic and biophysical vulnerabilities are mapped and combined with crowdsourced data gathered from embedded surveys and open-ended menus to identify the unique needs of each community in the context of preparedness, resiliency and adaptation. This web-based, interactive tool that aligns with recent legislative efforts ( CS/HB 7019) aimed at  Statewide Flooding and Sea-Level Rise Resilience. The prototype of CRIS is fully equipped with custom programming that allows for geotagged information to be uploaded through smartphone technology to CRIS using focused questions designed to identify needs of specific communities. CRIS, by virtue of being fully online, fosters transparency and accessibility of information and comparison across neighborhoods.


  1. Dixon and Johns. 2019. Vision for a Holistic Smart City-HSC | Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Advances on Resilient and Intelligent Cities

  2. Dixon, B., R. Johns, A. Colarusso, M. Hancock, and A. Boulding. 2020. Community Resiliency Information System (CRIS). Preliminary report AT&T.