Until the mid-1990.s, systematic information about the occurrence of daily disasters of small and medium impact was not available in Latin America, nor in the Andean Sub-region. From 1994, the creation of a common conceptual and methodological framework was begun by groups of researchers, academicians, and institutional actors linked to the Network of Social Studies in the Prevention of Disasters in Latin America (Red de Estudios Sociales en Prevención de Desastres en América Latina - LA RED). These groups conceptualised a system of acquisition, consultation and display of information about disasters of small, medium and greater impact, based on pre-existing data, newspaper sources and institutional reports in nine countries in Latin America. The developed conceptualisation, methodology and software tool is called Disaster Inventory System - DesInventar (Sistema de Inventario de Desastres . DesInventar).
The development of DesInventar, with its conception that makes visible disasters from a local scale (town or equivalent), facilitates dialogue for risk management between actors, institutions, sectors, provincial and national governments.
DesInventar is a conceptual and methodological tool for the construction of databases of loss, damage, or effects caused by emergencies or disasters. It includes:
• Methodology (definitions and help in the management of data)
• Database with flexible structure
• Software for input into the database
• Software for consultation of data (not limited to a predefined number of consultations). with selection options for search criteria.
The Disaster Information Management System (DesInventar methodology) includes a software product with two main components.
The Administration and Data Entry module is a relational and structural database through which the database is fed by filling in predefined fields (space and temporal data, types of events and causes, sources) and by both direct and indirect effects (deaths, houses, infrastructure, economic sectors).
The Analysis module allows access to the database by queries that may include relations among the diverse variables of effects, types of events, causes, sites, dates, etc. This module allows at the same time to represent those queries with tables, graphics and thematic maps.