Médecins Sans Frontières Switzerland (MSF-CH) has been providing medical assistance to populations facing crises that threaten their survival: mainly in the event of armed conflicts, but also epidemics, pandemics, natural disasters or exclusion from care.
Following the first strategy of 2013-2015, CartONG worked together with MSF Switzerland in defining the evolution of GIS in MSF-CH to support the movement for the period of 2016-2019. The strategy was extended into 2020 for a fifth year.
As part of the 2016-2019 strategy, CartONG acts as technical partner and, to this end, provides support in mapping & GIS through the MSF GIS Unit, as well as in mobile data collection (MDC) and capacity building (training workshop in "GIS Basic", in advanced GIS, etc.). Occasionally, CartONG staff gets deployed in the filed to support the whole MSF movement.
During the first year of the strategy, we supported 17 field missions covered by 8 GIS Specialists for a total of 135 weeks. Our training offer also increased, we organized 3 one-week trainings for GIS basic skills, GIS specialists and GIS focal points. We started to develop a new version of the MSF Map Centre including an embedded portal to monitor map requests, which has also strengthened our IT infrastructure. The other key development was the Briefing tool, integrated in the MSF Map Centre. Learn more by reading our 2016 Annual Report.
During the second year of the 2016/2019 partnership, more than 300 paper maps were created on ArcGIS to answer the needs of MSF missions. Important work was also conducted regarding the creation of the first few Country Kits for MSF. In 2017,we also gave remote support to MSF teams deployed in the occurrence of a crisis. In total,we have supported 24 field missions covered by 12 GIS specialists for a total of 171 weeks. We have also supported 8 local cartographers in the field to respond to diseases outbreaks, to facilitate the implementation of WASH programs, and to map refugee camps. We also continued our work on the Map Centre and the Briefing Tool, and we developed some key products such as the "EpiMaps" (epidemiological maps). Lastly, CartONG has taken an active and significant part in the writing of the proposal for the"GEOMSF project" which was validated during the first semester of 2017. The GEOMSF project will allow the scaling of services currently offered by the GIS Unit. Learn more by reading our 2017 Annual Report.
During the third year of the 2016/2019 partnership, the mapping team continued working on the country kits and further developing thematic maps related to the WASH and epidemiology sectors, while answering direct mapping requests, often related to emergencies. In 2018, a total of 280 maps were produced and we covered 3 major crisis for which we were activated in rush mode. We also worked on the structuring of the reference databases, and released the Map Centre v2. The new Map Centre contains more contextual pages and also more useful tools for GIS and non GIS people. In 2018, we also created a total of 7 new web applications on top of the 6 previous released ones that we have continued to maintain. In addition, we gave remote support to MSF teams deployed in emergency settings. In total, we supported 28 field missions covered by 16 GIS specialists for a total of 204 weeks. Our training offer also grew, and we re-organized the 4 one-week training sessions for GIS basic skills, MDC, GIS specialists and GIS focal points. Lastly, CartONG took an active part in the "GEOMSF project". CartONG is participating with 2 hats, one as the "client" of GEOMSF as part of the MSF GIS Unit, helping and supporting the needs definition, and one as "technical advisor" during the first phase of the project which focuses on analysis and the architecture definition in order to develop a common vision of the next platform, tools and processes for the GIS Unit. Learn more by reading our 2018 Annual Report.
During the fourth of the 2016/2019 partnership, there was a strong collaboration surrounding the GeoMSF program and a new overall GIS platform was developed. We also worked on the 2020-2023 strategy for the GIS Unit. We continued to provide mapping services, yet our main goal in 2019 was to look at ArcGIS Pro in order to undertake a migration from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro during the year so as to align the technologies with the GeoMSF new infrastructure. Regarding the online maps, we slowed down our activities as the GeoMSF had the mandate to provide an easier and faster way to produce them, but still produced 9 web maps (3 from scratch and 6 by using ArcGIS Online applications). We thus concentrated our effort on improving the business part of our activities, as well as the user and technical documentation. We also significantly improved our quality control processes and continued maintaining the Map Centre v2 by implementing improvements and managing bug fixing throughout the year. Data management was our main focus during the 2019 year, in order to make it the cornerstone of the GIS Unit. Additionally, we worked closely with the Missing Maps team in order to better use and contribute to the OSM database. In 2019, we also gave remote support to MSF teams deployed in different contexts. In total, we accompanied 20 field missions covered by 11 GIS specialists from our headquarters. We also supported 11 long-term GIS specialists on building capacity and sharing their work within the organization. Last but not least, we also organized the GIS week. Learn more by reading our 2019 Annual Report.
During the fifth and final year of the 2016/20219 partnership, we produced 300 maps covering 41 countries. Our main goal in 2020 was to implement ArcGIS Pro at headquarters and in the field. However, it was not possible for everyone to start using it straight away and some staff at MSF have kept using ArcMap for now. As the main type of maps we produce are basemaps, in 2020 we also focused much of our work on health features compilation in collaboration with the data managers. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, our team was tasked with developing an online web map in support of MSF’s operations which gave us the opportunity to experiment rapid online web map building using the AGOL platform. The Covid-Dashboard aimed at showing at world level, the different restrictions for entering and leaving a country, by plane, road or sea. The health crisis has required a huge effort from our team and has led to a strong mobilization of CartONG’s volunteers who have supported the manual update of the platform for several months, before the process could be semi-automatized. As 2020 was the final year of the GeoMSF program, the main objective in terms of data management for this year was to keep a strong collaboration with the GeoMSF team for both support and absorption of the activities. We provided remote support to MSF’s teams deployed in various contexts. In total, we accompanied 7 field missions covered by 5 GIS specialists from our headquarters. We also supported 10 long-term GIS specialists on building capacity and sharing their work within the organization. Our training offer got reduced due to the COVID-19 situation and we only ended up facilitating one GIS training session. For the third consecutive year, we also organized the GIS Week - this time online. Learn more by reading our 2020 Annual Report.
Direct GIS support has been provided for MSF in 2014-2015. First deployments were to support their Ebola response in the 3 most affected countries. As GIS gained in popularity within the movement, more GIS missions were requested, for other epidemics such as Measles, Dengue, etc.Read more »
MSF Switzerland initiated in 2012 a reflection on the value of GIS in their operations. The last quarter of 2013 saw the beginning of a strong collaboration between MSF-CH and CartONG. We support MSF-CH in defining their needs and are putting into place the first 2-years plan GIS strategy.Read more »