Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Paul Zandbergen, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Graham Tobin, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph. D.


Geographical Information System, flooding, sink hole, hurricane, toxic spill, toxic release


Hillsborough County, Florida is subject to a variety of natural and technological hazards, which have the potential to threaten both the population and the built environment. This research focuses on several natural hazards (coastal flooding, sink hole, and hurricane) and technological hazards (toxic transportation spills and toxic release from fixed storage facilities) and the population that is potentially exposed to these hazards. Social vulnerability for this population was determined using racial composition, gender, age and household rental/ownership status.

Both social vulnerability and exposure to hazardous conditions occur as a continuum across geographical space. The determination of who is exposed; the extent of exposure; and the hazardousness of their environment; requires converting this continuum into discreet values. There is little agreement on how this should be accomplished. The goal of this project is to improve on this situation by developing a multiple hazard map and a social vulnerability map using the best available data with a focus on data integration.

The resulting maps were used to determine the extent that the community of Hillsborough County is exposed to hazardous conditions and the social vulnerability of that exposed community. The impact of hazard analysis is dependant on the creation of the hazard map. The hazard map can be affected by application of weighting factors to the individual or groups of hazards. Weighted linear combinations were used to examine how the exposed population changes when different hazard models are used.

A technique of cumulative frequency mapping was used to examine how the composition of the exposed population changed as the hazard scores increased. This was useful in visualizing that different vulnerable communities were not exposed to hazards equally. This technique will be useful for future vulnerability/hazard assessments.

The results of this research show that the most vulnerable populations in Hillsborough County, Florida are not exposed to the most extreme hazards. Instead the preponderance of the population is moderately vulnerable and is exposed to moderate hazards. It is important to focus on this population to help prepare for and respond to hazardous events and to work toward diminishing their social vulnerability.