Dear supporters and members of CartONG,
2017 is ending well, after a very successful winterly Get-Together in Lyon, as dynamic as the year has been.
Thanks to our 5 new staff and our motivated growing team of volunteers, capacity building of humanitarian and development actors has been a constant concern and at the core of all CartONG’s projects in 2017: we can mention the 21 delegations of Terre de hommes trained in mobile data collection (MDC), the 3 webinars created for UNHCR, as well as the training conducted by some of our volunteers for Comité National de Lutte contre le SIDA in Madagascar. This momentum is also about facilitating access to documentation and tutorials published under a free license (Creative commons), such as the GeoPoppy plugin which was implemented in Ivory Coast by CartONG to create a monitoring system of agricultural parcels with our partners AFD & NITIDÆ, or the release of the "Mdc Toolkit" co-created with Terre des hommes.
This year also allowed us to reinforce our local impact, and to further foster our relationships with other humanitarian organizations. For the last two months, we have had a service civique with us at CartONG: Cécile Borreil, who is working on documenting the existing assistance mechanisms for migrants in France. In addition, we continue to raise awareness amongst humanitarians and the public, about the utility of OpenStreetMap thanks to numerous mapathons, as well as the 2017 edition of the OSMGeoWeek and several presentations at universities. We also get involved more and more actively into the life of the humanitarian and development sectors; for instance, by joining the advocacy movement created by Coordination Sud to prevent cuts in fundings for French NGOs.
We wish that 2018 will allow us to continue surfing on this positive wave. 2018 will also be a year of challenges, in particular with the new edition of the GeOnG! After the success encountered during the 2016 GeOnG Conference, which was the opportunity to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of CartONG, we hope for a similar involvement of volunteers and partners to make it as successful in 2018! We hope that the central theme of the conference – to be released soon – will generate an even amount of interest from them all, and will help gather the whole community of cartographers, GIS, MDC and information management experts as well as humanitarians.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, see you soon in 2018 for more adventures!
Our projects in the second half of 2017
~ United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ~
With the Public Health Section of UNHCR (PHS), CartONG has continued the large-scale deployment of the WASH KAP survey with 3 training missions of UNHCR Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Managers and implementing partners in charge of managing the refugee camps in Ethiopia, Cameroon and Chad. The goals of the trainings were, first of all, to learn how to adapt the standardized WASH KAP surveys to local settings, to also learn how to deploy it in the field, and lastly to teach them how to use the analysis tools which come with it. CartONG also conducted a field mission to implement the WASH KAP survey in the Republic of Congo in December.
On the side of the Standardized Expanded Nutrition Surveys – the nutritional surveys of UNHCR deployed in 100 refugees sites each year, 95% of which are conducted on mobiles – the support of CartONG has mostly consisted in reviewing the content of the 6 existing modules, and in creating a new one on demographics, which will be deployed in 2018. In parallel, the usual remote support to UNCHR staff in the field was carried on, in particular, and this is a first, through a series of webinars. An implementing mission also took place in Bangladesh in the second part of 2017, to allow for the deployment of a large-scale nutritional evaluation regarding the situation of the Rohingya populations.
For both the WASH KAP and the SENS surveys, the priority was also to improve analysis tools, by publishing, between others, the WASH KAP and SENS mapper - 2 tools allowing not only to cartography in 3 clicks the key indicators of each nutritional surveys conducted in the refugee sites, but also to overlay data from the field surveys with data from the UNHCR Camp Mapping database. The combination of both helps improve the access of beneficiaries to basic services. In the example on the left – taken from the WASH KAP Mapper, the combination of the 2 data sources allows us to compare access to safe water – as declared by the households in the survey, to the existing presence of functioning boreholes nearby.
CartONG has also kept supporting the implementation of other mobile data collection tools, such as the Medical Referral Database or the Balanced Score Card, as well as we kept working on the initial need assessment work for UNHCR regarding an application for monitoring nutrition-related cases. This evaluation work deeply relies on the Agile method to be as close as possible to the needs of each different types of users within UNHCR.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning the publication of two benchmarkings conducted by CartONG this year, to help Mobile Data Collection field teams choose software and material matching their needs. The first one was a benchmarking on smartphones and tablets compatible with MDC, with a particular focus on some of the key criteria to be met by the material to allow for a successful data collection. Secondly, we also released a benchmarking of 17 MDC solutions applied to the humanitarian sector – co-financed by UNHCR, Terre des hommes and CartONG – which also explored more general concerns such as differentiating factors between solutions as well as provided tips to help humanitarian organizations budget MDC.
During the last 6 months, CartONG also supported the UNHCR FICSS section by working on finalizing the UNHCR database migration. This consists of moving the core geographical database from one old server to a new one to be part of the new GIS servers’ architecture with the aim to be more stable and secure. Once the new infrastructure was in place, and new server and portal for ArcGIS Server had been installed, CartONG and UNHCR took this opportunity to review the core UNHCR database and planned the migration. This was conducted and completed in autumn 2017, which means that all UNHCR staff in the field would have been able to update their database thanks to the ArcGIS replica system.
In parallel, the Map Portal has been redesigned by UNHCR and implemented by CartONG in the last few months. The development and improvement of the administration of the website has been a long-term focus to allow a multi-users system. The end of the year should also come with the publication of an online resource centre for compiling training materials and other tutorials, and we are also currently finalizing the redesign of the webmaps for the UNHCR Camp Mapping. More information about this subject to be published in the following months!
~ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ~
The MSF GIS Unit continues to gain momentum and size within the MSF movement and CartONG, who acts as technical partner for the project. In the last 6 months, up to 20 people have worked on the various ongoing projects related to this partnership, either for cartography, data management, web-development, GIS and/or MDC trainings, and more. In 2017, we also organized the first edition of the GIS Week – a full week where all members of the GIS Unit and all field GIS specialists at MSF met to exchange on good practices. On top of the daily work, we have also developed some key products such as the "Epi maps" (epidemiological maps) which are online apps allowing for monitoring of an outbreak by mapping the attack rate in a country or a zone where the disease is spreading.
Important work was also conducted regarding the creation of the first Country Kits for MSF. To promote GIS and cartography towards field and office teams, MSF launches the edition of country-based atlas of thematic maps. MSF presence, administrative divisions, health infrastructures, transportation infrastructures, population density and landcover maps are grouped in the booklet while a larger coordination poster map completes the offer. This ambitious project concerns first and foremost, the countries where MSF has emergency projects in (such as South Sudan, or the Democratif Republic of Congo - North & South Kivu). This project is also a good opportunity for the GIS Unit to improve its databases for a better reactivity when operational maps are requested.
In 2017, the collaboration with MSF has also implied an ongoing work to improve the Map Centre – an online library currently containing more than 3,200 base maps of the countries in which MSF operates. In keeping with this work and the improvement of the Map Centre, CartONG also created the Briefing Tool, a dynamic world map with an interactive sidebar allowing the user to select sets of information and relevant base maps for the MSF daily briefings.
Next year will also be an extremely important year, as the GeoMSF – the project of scaling up the GIS initiative within MSF – will officially be launched; and for that reason, a head of department will now run the GIS Unit. All these changes aim for anchoring all the efforts which have been undertaken in the last few years, to create a new family (or field of expertise) within MSF, and should allow us to keep our in-depth work for the geolocalization of information in support to MSF.
~ Web-development at CartONG ~
Generally speaking, the design part of the work is becoming more and more significant in the projects CartONG has been involved in. Since specialization of the staff comes with the growth of the team, CartONG has started working with webdesigners in order to pay closer attention to the visual aspects of the apps. Working with webdesigners, allows CartONG to improve the usability and user experience proficiency of its applications: for instance, by creating more use-friendly sidebars, or thanks to some tips and tricks for better usability. The wish for the webdev team in 2018 is to be as Agile as they can!
~ Terre des hommes ~
2017 was a very fulfilling year for the Tdh - CartONG partnership. Capacity-building was a central theme of the year: 21 Tdh delegations were trained in MDC by CartONG in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle-East, and Asia during 5 regional trainings organized in Greece, Jordan, South Sudan, Nepal and Mali in 2017. The MDC training aimed to foster greater autonomy of the delegations, in terms of MDC methodologies and technical skills from survey design to data analysis. Challenge fully met!
In parallel to this intensive training undertaking, CartONG & Tdh also released a "MDC Toolkit" of 24 documents – created throughout the year – under a free license to support the use of mobile data collection by all actors of the humanitarian and development sectors; and more generally-speaking, capacity building of all in these fields. We only are in the first phase of the project, and CartONG and Tdh intent to keep facilitating capacity building among humanitarians. Indeed, 40 more documents, as well as a "Data Protection Toolkit" designed for the humanitarian sector, are scheduled to be released jointly by our two organizations in 2018.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that 2017 was a record year for the Tdh hotline at CartONG, with 69 activations!
~ International Committee of the Red Cross ~
After Goma (DRC) earlier this year, CartONG was again activated by ICRC in October to map the cities of Diffa and N’Guigmi in Niger using OpenStreetMap. The data created is used for water and sanitation projects. We joined the projects already started by the Niger OpenStreetMap community (supported by HOT), and our volunteers managed to complete the map of the 2 cities, creating 14,600 buildings and 435 km of roads. The data was then validated and prepared in a database ICRC used to edit maps. We are now discussing with OSM Niger on the potential follow-up of this activation in the field.
~ Bioforce ~
We also continue running our technical training cycles in GIS and MDC at Institut Bioforce, a school specialized in training future humanitarians. In September, a CartONG staff was also deployed in Chad to give, in collaboration with a Bioforce consultant, the first combined training in Monitoring & Evaluation and MDC.
Following the opening of a training institute in Senegal, CartONG will be giving its first MDC training in Dakar from April 23rd to April 27th, 2018. More information and online registration here.
~ Agence Française de Développement & NITIDÆ ~
As part of a project to fight against deforestation in Ivory Coast, CartONG received funding, for the very first time, from the French Development Agency AFD, to implement a tool capable of monitoring forest and agricultural parcels of the beneficiaries of NGO NITIDÆ (ex-Rongead/EtcTerra) in the region of the Mé. This project resulted in the implementation of GeoPoppy by CartONG, also for the first time, during a two-week field mission.
Beyond this deployment, CartONG was also asked to help NITIDÆ strengthen its Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) system by reviewing the system currently in place, and by recommending potential improvements regarding their M&E tools – the logframe, the indicators used for the project, the data collection tools – as well as their procedures. Yet, another more general and rather complex work was also asked of CartONG, in compiling suggestions for improving the support in M&E providing by AFD to all partners whose projects they fund.
~ ACAPS ~
In 2017, we enjoyed a diversification of our cartography work, following the start of a new partnership with ACAPS – a NGO specialized in needs analysis and assessment and whose work aims at providing independent, ground-breaking humanitarian analysis to help humanitarian workers, influencers, fundraisers, and donors make better decisions. CartONG is now on call one month out of two – the 6 other months of the year being covered by our friends at MapAction – to create maps for the ACAPS Briefings Notes, which are released in the 48 hours of any major humanitarian emergency or natural disaster worldwide. In the second half of 2017, CartONG has thus created maps of the State of Assam in India, following the floods in July 2017 as well as maps of central Vietnam following the tropical storm Damrey in November 2017. The main challenge in doing such a work is not to create the maps technically-speaking, but to deal with significant time constraints – we often only have 4 to 6 hours to complete the requested maps – due to the particular nature of ACAPS’s work. The partnership will be renewed in 2018, and we hope it will conduct to a wider collaboration with ACAPS & MapAction!
Volunteer Activities at CartONG
More than 400 students introduced to humanitarian mapping in their university! Almost 200 participants to the regular mapathons in Paris! More than 20 participants to our new volunteers’ information sessions! And many more good news. This second semester of 2017 set a new record in volunteers’ participation within CartONG. The last get-together – described by Cédric, one of our new volunteers, as "A big family party with people you haven’t seen for a long time, or simply never met before, but with whom you see a whole bunch of great things to do together" – happened on December 2nd and 3rd in Lyon, and allowed the whole CartONG team to brainstorm on how to make this growth sustainable and allow all interested persons to get involved in our NGO. A great dynamic for the upcoming new year!
Following the Get-Together, a new organization was launched to allow our volunteers to directly collaborate with our staff on projects implemented by CartONG. IT development, translations, design and communication… missions are diverse and potentially short – from a few hours to a few days. Want to help? Feel free to get in touch with Claire, our volunteer's focal point.
Our volunteer activities also expand with new projects. Our new volunteer in service civique, Cécile, started a mission to first establish a picture of the assistance mechanisms for cross-border migrants in France and of the existing coordination platforms. This exploratory phase will allow to determine if a follow-up would be relevant, by setting up partnerships or launching a platform.
CartONG’s volunteer activities will continue to expand in 2018 on many projects, in particular the next GeOnG. In the meantime, you can remember the artistic animation from the previous edition, as well as check out the videos of the 2016 sessions.
Missing Maps Project
CartONG continued this year to develop our activities on the Missing Maps project. Besides a highlight during the 2017 OSMGeoweek (cf. below), we ran no less than 35 public mapathons in 14 different cities, gathering more than 900 participants! We have supported projects from many organizations, partner NGOs (MSF, CICR, Solidarités International, Handicap International, Pompiers Humanitaires Français) as well as local governments (Ivry-sur-Seine/Dianguirdé – Mali, Chambéry/Ouahigouya – Burkina Faso), as well as actions led by local communities or disaster responses (Mexico earthquake).
We also started a project with Netherlands Red Cross to support data sharing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a first workshop planned early 2018 to gather key stakeholders. We also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Healthsites.io platform, a project to map health care facilities around the world with OSM in order to support their mission.
~ OSMGeoWeek Francophone 2017 ~
In November, CartONG also took part in the 2017 edition of the OSMGeoWeek – the international festival dedicating to raising awareness about OpenStreetMap and participatory mapping. This year, CartONG had decided to highlight and contribute to 5 projects selected by 5 OSM communities based in francophone Africa, with the support of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region. In France, 23 558 buildings and 458 km of roads were added to OSM with the support of 192 participants in 8 days! In addition to the mapathons organized in France, 15 days of awareness-raising about OSM were organized by the local OSM communities in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Madagascar and Niger.
- During the festival, the OSM community in Mali organized 2 days of awareness raising to OpenStreetMap and contribution to the mapping project of the capital city of Bamako with students, professors and others curious citizens.
- OSM Senegal also organized mapathons and mapping parties to mobilize the local population and map the city of Touba, which welcomes every year, the second largest Muslim pilgrimage in the world. Thanks to their great work during OSMGeoWeek, they were able to present a first printed A0 map of Touba during the science days at the local Institut de Recherche & Développement.
- In Burkina-Faso, the OSM community introduced the different tools used in mapping and the various projects on which they are currently working to the participants – including their mapping work accomplishments. They also work on malaria prevention in the region by contributing to its mapping.
- In Niger, the local OSM community worked with a group of 50+ students to map a whole neighborhood in the capital city of Niamey. Additionally, they also chose to introduce the various projects on which they are currently working to their audience, and they raised awareness among students and local actors about the role that OpenStreetMap can play to help create a safer city and more sustainable development of Niamey.
- The last OSM community supported by CartONG, was the Madagascar one. Over the course of 2 week-ends, the local OSM community worked very hard to add buildings, roads and data on the OSM map of Antsiranana to help with the creation of a touristic map of the region. They also took the opportunity to reach out to a local NGO which has historical data about the city, in the hope that this might lead to further developments for the project.
In total, the 2017 Francophone OSMGeoWeek led to more than 50 000 buildings being added to OSM and the gathering of hundreds of participants, local and international NGO actors as well as local leadersn professors, students and institution in France and in Francophone Africa. Congratulations to all the organizers and volunteers for their involvement and for the significant impact they made! More information in tweets and pictures here!
Interview of Olivia, Missing Maps Service Civique from March ot August 2017
The interview took place on August 31st 2017 at CartONG in Chambéry.
Why did you want to do a service civique? Why did you apply for the one at CartONG?
I had a semester off during my first year of Master’s Degree and I was looking for an internship or a service civique. I was immediately interested in the CartONG offer "Humanitarian cartography, conveyor of social ties". Mapping was something I had been familiarized with, since I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography. I also had a first experience working in a NGO in Peru. I did not really know about the Missing Maps Project, but the NGO seemed really interesting to me.
What were your missions at CartONG?
My first mission was to organize and to host mapathons in France and in Geneva. A big part of the work was to coordinate with the volunteers, find places which could host the events, and to communicate towards the public to encourage them to join us! Then, during the mapathon, I would also present the Missing Maps Project and CartONG, I would train the participants about how to map in OSM… I also helped with following-up with the volunteers to try to organize momentum and have more regular mapathons in big cities, such as Paris and Lyon.
In 6 months, I organized 15 mapathons in 11 cities: Paris, Brest, Nantes, Avignon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyon, Genève, Aix-les-Bains, Evry, Champs-sur-Marne. In total, I traveled more than 15 000 kilometers!
I also had the opportunity to implement an idea of mine – which was well-received by Violaine (Missing Maps Coordinator) and Martin (Project Manager). The objective was to adapt the Missing Maps project to younger audiences. To this end, I created a board game to raise awareness among pupils and students about the usefulness of mapping in crisis management. I used the example of the cholera epidemic in Yemen. I then tested the game in June 2017, during the annual OpenStreetMap conference – State of the Map, which took place in Avignon, and then with a group of scouts near Chambéry.
Did you have any favorite moments during your mission?
Yes, many mapathons were very enjoyable to organize. Taking part in State of the Map was also a great experience for me. Meeting people face to face and the whole community of people who support the idea of a free and collaborative online map, was very nice and encouraging!
Would you recommend this service civique to others? What are you plans for the near future?
This is a mission which requires a lot of autonomy! At first, it wasn’t always easy to take care of both the organizational aspects (mapathons) and the technical ones (cartography). But in the end, it was such a great experience: one learns a lot about event planning, about cartography and about human interactions too. With time, it also becomes easier to improvise. So, yes I would definitely recommend it to others. In September, I am going back to school to complete my second year of Master’s Degree. I was accepted into an Urbanism & International Cooperation program – the service civique definitely helped my application! We’ll see what it leads to.
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