Data development and analytical tools for risk assessmet useful to social and environmental scientists alike would be a core application of GIS.
Environmental threats are increasingly available for characterization and simulation (e.g., floodplains and future vulnerabilities, e.g., extreme heat)
Less advanced and a possible priority for research would be "social observing" systems using GIS and social science research. Social vulnerabilities have been developed with GIS (e.g., SOVI index), yet place-based local relevance of indices are a challenge. Rooting these in more local data, surveys, and other social science networks and approaches would be a novel approach.
Amassing GIS data across regions is inordinately difficult for some sectors (LiDAR DEMs, community tax and parcel databases, and other corporate and social institutional entities.) Analytical tools and aids to further developing these data and measures of social community resilience could also be fruitful. E.g., a GIS "coastal sustainability data model"...would illustrate how data could be optimally integrated and develop the spatial and visual tools to do so. Thus, modeling, simulation, social sampling/stratification, and other analysis would be enabled...