This was the first major field mission for CartONG. Our staff worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Uganda, doing creation and maintenance of return monitoring database, collection and compilation of GPS coordinates, production of maps, and capacity building of local staff.
The project include a major training part: CartONG team’s training to fundamental data and information management, and punctual training like GPS use, spreadsheet handling, or use of web technologies. The 3 persons who were trained by CartONG have become senior GIS technicians and have been hired by UNHCR. The use of NGO’s network enables – after training to basics – collection, standardization, compilation in order to publish information and data through tables, maps and graphs for the UNHCR and other beneficiaries.
Technicians trained in 2007 by CartONG have become independent and have worked with UNHCR in 2008. Structure has stayed the same namely a technician per district. CartONG continued to develop and integrate news functions (information validation and control, document editing) in the RetMon database. However, the database transfer to partners did not take place because of political issues. Mapping in return zone has continued to be done with the team’s support.
The database included:
- Information on refugees camps with monthly compilation of populations’ figures and indicators at the camp scale;
- Camps mapping with remote sensing and field validation. Reflexion on the use of grids to make mapping representation easier;
- Information on return zones, compiled in RetMon database - with a sectorial approach – on the number of persons that are on the site and populations movements;
- Access to services mapping (Protection, security, education, water & sanitation,, accessibility). Mapping with UBOS’ (statistic section in Uganda) support.
CartONG then completed a follow-up mission on OpenStreetMap Tracker based infrastructure mapping which was implemented for UNHCR in Uganda in 2011. This time the focus was on reinforcing the training, rolling it out to other offices and improving the data storage, symbology usage as well as the dissemination of the information hosted in Google Fusion tables. The operation requested further training and rollout because the system had proven to be very efficient and easy to manage by the local staff members.
Distribution of Northern Uganda IDP sites with Google Map
Since twenty years, Uganda is suffering from violence’s generated by conflicts between the governmental troops and rebels from the LRA (Lord Resistance Army). 1,6 millions has been obliged to escape their villages and to find security in the IDP camps. These camps are over-crowded, and diseases are-omnipresent like malaria, cholera, TB...A peace period, followed the election in 2006. The families are encouraged to return at home in their villages of origin. In Gulu district, 80 % of the population leaves in 53 camps. The return process will take place only if the security is guaranteed. New villages are creates like the community of Atoo Hill and Kinene.
We have used the Google technology for Uganda. As you may know, part of the northern Uganda is covered with high resolution satellite images! From that, it was to develop a dynamic mapping interface. Our experience has been to put the general IDP distribution coming from IOM, UNHCR and WFP onto the Google satellite background map. The basic Google map application allows visualizing the IDPs camps and new IDPs settlements in northern Uganda. Information attached to locations can vary from coordinates to all kind of data related to the settlement. This trial version could be improved according to your needs and your use. For instance, it will be possible to add administrative units to have some characteristic features in the map. The aim of this Google map application is to have a common geo-database for the Gulu working group. The information will be shared in live, with all actors involved in Gulu district.
CartONG was involved in the following activities:
- Devising RetMon, the Return Monitoring Database (Access)
- Creating a Camp Based Workbook to capture information about the IDP camps (Excel)
- Collection of GPS points; for UNHCR project as well as collaborative project with WFP
- Training in GIS, Excel and Access
- Creation of Map products for operational, advocacy, donor reporting or statistical purposes
- Piloting population counting methods based on camp mapping
- Fostering collaboration with UBOS, Ugandan Bureau of Statistics' Mapping unit, play active role in Geo-working Group
- Creation of a first web map (based on Google maps) showing all actors (3 WWW) as well as Camps and Return sites
- Supporting the development of an IM/GIS strategy
Find a promotional video of CartONG's involvement through clicking here.
Feb / 2007 to Jul / 2008