Cyclone Leaves Its Mark on the Map: Analyzing and Monitoring Myanmar’s Damaged Rice Production Regions with GIS

cyclone1…from the Fall 2009 issue of ArcNews


  • ArcGIS software-based maps provide a detailed perspective of where remediation efforts are needed.
  • Remote sensing and GIS are used to analyze global crop production capacity.
  • Post-Cyclone Nargis GIS maps of Myanmar monitor the ongoing flood recovery.

“With winds of 132 miles per hour, Cyclone Nargis, a category 3 tropical storm, struck the low-lying and heavily populated Myanmar coastline on May 2, 2008. The intense storm produced a 12-foot sea wave that flooded an approximate 2,000-square-mile area with a population of 24 million. Nargis left behind 90,000 fatalities and 56,000 missing persons in Myanmar, the country once known as Burma.

“Adding to the tragedy of the human lives lost, the cyclone destroyed much of Myanmar’s agricultural economy. The provinces of Ayeyardwady, Yangon, Bago, and Mon, which produce 58 percent of the country’s rice crop—or roughly 6.2 million tons on a milled basis—were inundated with saltwater from the flood. In addition to the cropland damage, many villages were destroyed, along with much of their food stocks, livestock, and farming supplies.”