In support of the United Nations sponsored International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), Emergency Preparedness Canada, in co-operation with several public and private sector partners, conducted extensive research and development on risk assessment and vulnerability as they pertain to natural hazards in Canada.  The main focus of this effort was the creation of the Natural Hazards Electronic Map and Assessment Tools Information System (NHEMATIS).

NHEMATIS is a centralised, automated facility for the collection, representation, and analysis of natural hazard information.  It combines characterisations of population and infrastructure to allow diverse risk and vulnerability analyses, with subsequent impact on both policy-making and readiness. This risk assessment application provided a number of significant benefits, including shared knowledge between hazard experts and national, provincial, and local organisations who have a vested interest in supporting emergency preparedness for various geographic locations in Canada.  NHEMATIS is also a mechanism for integrating the knowledge base of professionals from complementary disciplines, to provide a valuable source of data for research purposes.

Over an 8 year period, development of NHEMATIS was led by a team from ESSA leveraging scientific expertise and data provided by Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Public Works and Government Services Canada.