CartONG was in Geneva on November 14th, at the 2012 edition of GIS Day in the International Environment House 2, to attend the conference « GIS for the United Nations and the international community ». This event was part of the 2012 GIS Day (every Friday of the annual Geography Awareness Week), built on the « GIS for the UN » conference organized earlier in the year by UNITAR and Esri.
The day started with an overview of several humanitarian projects, applied on various fields and places but linked by a common use of online mapping technologies for operational purposes. We have been interested in the recent progress made by UNOSAT (UNITAR’s operational satellite applications program, co-organizer of this event) on online spatial data sharing. Give it a try, and just like us, take a look on those amazing 2012 projects in Nigeria, in Syria or South Sudan!
Example of webmapping tool used by UNOSAT for real-time vehicle tracking in Kakuma (Kenya).
Several other operators came to present similar projects, all of them sharing a common interest for online spatial data sharing and the use of webmaps as a tool to improve humanitarian strategies.
Amongst others, it has been really interesting to listen to Luca Pupulin explaining how the REACH initiative (Acted/Impact, Shelter Cluster member) in operation since 2010 relies more and more on this kind of technology. Why don’t you try to discover with us the animated Prezi resume of this project? Or the interactive webmaps created since the very beginning of their involvement in Kyrgyzstan, or recently during the Libyan crisis?
NGO data layers appear interactively on Kyrgyzstan sensible areas, depending of your needs (REACH/IMPACT).
This GIS Day has been the occasion for us to (re)discover in the spotlight one of the newest webmapping tools: ArcGIS Online. ESRI Switzerland, showed us several technical demonstrations of this solution during the day. We heard Paola de Salvo, Solution Engineer at ESRI, explaining to the audience how this easy-to-grasp tool for collaborative field mapping is working, as she did during her speech at the GeOnG 2012 on risk prevention and food safety in Africa. A practical training on ArcGis Online took place during the afternoon.
During the day, we enjoyed meeting others representatives from Logistics and Technical departments of several others NGO and institutions, (specially the Technical Support to the Operations team from Médecins Sans Frontières).
Did you know that this GIS Day 2012 was the largest organized so far with more than 900 sessions worldwide? Following this great initiative, CartONG recognizes the development of various tools allowing to share the information faster and more efficiently during crisis. We still have to bear in mind, though, that free sharing of data and tools must stay on the top of our priorities to efficiently fulfill our mission.
Don’t forget that preparations for the next GIS Day are already on the way, promising a fascinating session for 2013.
We really hope to meet you there!