Sunday, February 26, 2017

A GIS-Based Football Stadium Evacuation Model

Sporting events and the sport industry are a billion dollar industry. With the rise of such popularity and with almost 50,000,000 people in attendance at NCAA football games in 2008, these events come at the risk of terror attacks.

The purpose of this article and study was to develop a GIS based evacuation model for Southern Mississippi University in the unfortunate event of something happening.

The three major objectives were:
  1. Identify the number of evacuees and their potential origins and destinations
  2. Identify evacuation routes connecting origins and destinations based on shortest travel time
  3. Compute the total evacuation time of the stadium starting when the evacuation order is issued and ending when the last evacuee exits the evacuation zone
Even though this 33,000 seat stadium is smaller and would probably not be attacked, the structure and flow are the same of a larger stadium and can be applied and scaled. 

To compute travel time within the stadium from different sitting areas to exit places, an audience layer was created by evenly distributing students and non-students within their respective sections of the stadium.

The second stage of the model included the evacuation of the stadium audience from the parking lots and mobile locations to their potential final destinations, which included nearby road networks and road intersections.

The last stage of the model was performed to estimate evacuation times and routes.

This photo shows a GIS based map for locations of mobile triages and parking lots.

From this study they found the fastest route for injured and uninjured attendees and found that the football practice field was the closest and optimal location for the ambulance to arrive at. Because of this in case of emergency USM has the optimal route and location for the fastest and easiest evacuation to get people to safety. 

Zale, J. J. & Kar, B. (2012). A GIS-Based Football Stadium Evacuation Model. Southeastern Geographer 52(1), 70-89. The University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from Project MUSE database.


  1. I think this is really important, and should be applied to other venues and situations. It's interesting to see how GIS can be applied to create life-saving information.

  2. I too think this is a great way to use GIS for the benefit of the public! I wonder about applications in large convention centers, college campuses and generally any place large numbers of people congregate. Very interesting application of GIS.

  3. It's interesting that a football stadium was chosen as the subject in this study, as we don't usually hear about attacks at these kinds of venues.Nonetheless I see how this can be applied to other venues.

  4. I am curious if this is a basis in the process for designing the newer stadiums for professional and college teams. I believe it should be a major component, but seeing a "design" of a stadium mapped in this way would most likely be ideal in my opinion!