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Survey finds gaps in resilience services

By: Tracie Sempier / Published: Oct 18,  2017

As part of a NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grant, our project team conducted a survey to identify gaps in existing resilience tools and services. Our goal is to use the results of the survey to update and/or enhance existing resilience tools or build new tools to improve resilience.

What is a gap analysis?
A gap analysis compares actual/current performance with potential or desired performance. In this case, how is a community resilient in the face of disturbances such as coastal storms. Is the community able to make use of the most up-to-date resources, invest in mitigation efforts, utilize technology and coordinate both internally and externally to achieve a high level of resilience. The place between current and desired states of resilience is known as the “gap.”

Why use a gap analysis?
For the purposes of our analysis, a gap is considered a tool or service we would have expected to show up in the survey results but was missing or identified as being vulnerable. Identification of these areas will assist in:

  1. Making determinations about where future funds should be spent
  2. Highlighting opportunities for leveraging resources
  3. Uncovering services that are vital to support communities (but that are not currently being offered)
  4. Identifying which tools and resources are being used by local governments
  5. Providing a framework from which to measure changes in tools and services over time. 

What do the initial results tell us?
The full report will be available in November, but of particular interest is that survey participants denoted what services they need in order to be able to utilize resilience tools. Although we live in an age where everyone is tied to their smartphones, phone apps did not rise to the top.

The need for technical assistance in the form of training workshops, instructional websites, webinars, demonstrations and instructional videos all topped the list instead. So, maybe we should think twice before throwing out traditional ways of communicating with our audiences.

This survey would suggest in-person methods for receiving information and understanding its application are still preferred for digesting scientific data.

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