NOMAD (HumanitariaN Operations Mobile Acquisition of Data) is a project co-led by CartONG and iMMAP that took place between 2010 and 2016 and which aimed at promoting the use of Mobile Data Collection by the humanitarian professionals in order to improve their efficiency and their impact. This initiative led to the creation of a key research project on MDC, a series of 4 awareness raising workshops and an online selection assistant tool.
Please note that NOMAD's website has been decommissioned in November 2021 and is therefore no longer accessible.
Why such a project?
Often an unsung hero in a humanitarian response, strong Information Management helps get more aid to more people in need and more money to aid organizations. New technology helps humanitarian practitioners with assessments, project evaluation and data collection to name a few. Yet, technology such as mobile phones, apps, mapping and crowdsourcing software and social media evolves almost daily and it can be difficult to keep track of them all.
When it comes to looking at new technologies, Mobile Data Collection (MDC) has proven to be faster and more efficient than traditional Information Management methods, whether it is for conducting an assessment, evaluating a project or monitoring public health data, real-time (or near real- time). Adopting such practices early only puts humanitarian organizations ahead of the curve when it comes to overall progress in the sector.
The technology is out there, able to help aid agencies save time, money, conserve resources and much more. With the snap of a photo, one can collect spatial information for maps and graphics and automatically store it securely. From distant field locations data can be uploaded as it’s collected; with no more waiting days for info to return back to the nearest office or headquarters.
The main purpose of the Nomad project was thus to promote the use of Mobile Data Collection by the humanitarian professionals in order to improve their efficiency and their impact.
A project co-led by CartONG and iMMAP
The project was developed building on workshops and brainstorming sessions, and reinforced by regular consultation with counterparts throughout the humanitarian community, in particular humanitarian Information Management staff with field experience and wherewithal to know what works and what simply seems like a good idea.
After two field pilots in 2010 - in Ethiopia with the World Food Programme (WFP), and in Haiti with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), NOMAD’s project, co-led by iMMAP and CartONG, was officially launched in 2011.
NOMAD, which stands for HumanitariaN Operations Mobile Acquisition of Data, received funds from the French Space Agency (CNES) and the Humanitarian Innovation Fund.
The project was set up in a partnership of several NGOs and aid or research organizations (iMMAP, CartONG, WFP, Auvea, MEDES, CNES, ACAPS, IOM, MobileActive). The team at NOMAD was made up of humanitarians who are experts in Mobile Data Collection and Information Management.
How did it work?
The NOMAD consortium provided some advice to Mobile Data Collection users, helped them connect with the solution providers, and helped aid organizations implement MDC projects. In short, the NOMAD project helped aid actors work smarter and faster to better help the people who need it most.
A bit of history
NOMAD was piloted in Haiti in 2010 as part of one of the largest humanitarian responses the world has seen to date. The devastating earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince in January 2010 left millions of Haitians homeless and living in internally displaced person camps. Together with the Information Management section of IOM, NOMAD helped improve the Displacement Tracking Matrix, a data management tool. Using mobile devices to track information, the collection and transfer of information from the field was streamlined. NOMAD team members trained IOM staff how to use the tools. Feedback from those trained indicated that the training process was an enjoyable one and staff saw the benefits of using mobile data collection tools as an alter- native to traditional paper methods.
From 2010 to 2016 the NOMAD project implemented the following aspects: