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Webmap of CartONG missions for UNHCR

Latest Activities for UNHCR

Cross-cutting COVID-19 activities
Jan / 2020

When the pandemic started to spread in 2020, UNHCR saw the need of assessing the preparedness of the respective countries at country, site and urban situation level and displaying the results together with the People of Concern figures and the overall Country Case figures on a single dashboard. Additionally, the Public Health section wanted to pull in data from the Balance Score Card health Facility Assessments it had been supporting for several years. In order to pull it off quickly, we opted for developing an ESRI-based dashboard to display the additional requested data. The health facility coordinates collected through the Facility Assessments were turned into a GIS feature service in order to make them ready for display in other systems too.

To know more about this activity, please read our 2020 Annual Report.

Data integration, collection and related processes (UNHCR GDS)
Jan / 2020

CartONG supports the UNHCR Global Data Service in refugee site mapping. In 2020, CartONG hosted a total of 38 remote mapping sessions (or mapathons) and data quality control sessions to map refugee sites in South Sudan, Sudan, Myanmar and Ethiopia. More than 700 volunteers spent around 700 hours online and mapped around 180,000 buildings and 3,800 km of road.

In addition, CartONG's team integrated data from the REACH consortium into the site mapping database which included datasets from 62 different sites covering 5 different countries.

We also introduced an attribute tag, amenity=refugee_site. Before the existence of this tag, there was no uniform reference style to refugee facilities, resulting in very inconsistent naming and tagging of refugee sites. It is now easier to find refugee sites in the OSM database. By using this tag for the delineation of the site perimeters, one can also distinguish refugee sites from permanent settlements. As it is not easy to draw the perimeters of a site unless you are familiar with it, CartONG also developed a Site Perimeter App which allows people to draw the perimeters and have them validated by someone from the field.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions CartONG was unable to provide field-based site mapping support. However, CartONG provided full remote support for mapping of refugee sites in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

To know more about this activity, please read our 2020 Annual Report.

Implementing the Map Portal (UNHCR FICSS)
Jan / 2015 to Dec / 2019

CartONG implemented a Map Portal for UNHCRThis portal is a repository of all pdf maps produced by UNHCR and in the future partners as wellOther mapping products such as web maps are also available through the map portal and users can request new mapping products through the portal as well. CartONG worked on the Map Portal in 2017 and 2018, adding advanced user management features as well as a resource center. The Map Portal was later decommissioned in 2019 and replaced by the Operational Data Portal which now hosts the apps which previously existed on the Map Portal as well as new ones.

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Support on the iRHIS platform (UNHCR PHS)
Mar / 2018

iRHIS (integrated Refugee Health Information System) is an open source tablet and web platform that was developed by GNUCOOP to allow health workers to electronically register and track the health status of refugees in camps, as well as guide UNHCR public health and implementing partners to rapidly detect public health problems and epidemics.

In 2018, CartONG developed two comprehensive training guides tailored to the different diverse health staff profiles comprising of data collectors and supervisors. Three in-country training were conducted on the use of the iRHIS platform for patients individual consultation data collection, online data synchronization to generate reports and the use of the automatic analysis dashboards.

In 2019, CartONG provided one in-country rollout training and a follow-up advanced training on the use of the iRHIS platform in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville respectively. In November and early December, our staff traveled to six different locations and trained 62 health staff in how to use the system and to record the information. Additionally, our staff also conducted a follow-up on last year’s mission there, helped to update devices, offered tips and tricks and explained all the new functions. Learn more here or by reading our 2019 Annual Report.

In 2020, CartONG provided remote support to update the iRHIS app to the latest released version, helped troubleshoot synchronization issues faced by implementing HIS partners, and supported operations with the completion of the summary reports. Remote support via both email and Skype was provided to 8 countries. In addition, CartONG supported partners in 4 countries to backup and manually synchronize data to the iRHIS server. In May and June 2020, in collaboration with the HQ PHS team, 3 webinars were carried out on the progress of the iRHIS mobile application update, HIS reporting requirements for January to June 2020 and COVID-19 Surveillance. Learn more by reading our 2020 Annual Report.

MDC support to the Livelihoods and Energy programs (UNHCR DRS)
Mar / 2018

Since March 2018, CartONG has been providing support to the Division of Resilience and Solutions (DRS) of UNHCR, in particular for its Livelihoods and Energy programs.

In 2018, DRS undertook a comprehensive revision of the framework for monitoring the UNHCR Energy and Livelihoods programs on a global level. DRS developed mobile data collection tools which are scalable and a monitoring system that helps implement both Livelihoods and Energy activities across operations. The monitoring system is a system that allows data flow integration linking the data collected by UNHCR operations on KoboToolbox to a centralized online interactive spreadsheet for analysis and data validation before finally publishing to the program’s Livelihoods and Energy Open data platforms.

To know more about the technical guidance and support to the UNHCR DRS field operations by CartONG in 2018 please read our 2018 Annual Report.

To know more about the support CartONG continued to provide to the UNHCR DRS field operations in 2019 please read our 2019 Annual Report.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic CartONG supported a total of 38 countries on the use of mobile data collection tools. 32 countries monitored Livelihoods programs and 14 countries monitored Energy programs.

CartOnG's support in 2020 included:

  • technical support and remote training to the field operations focal points on the usage of the Livelihoods and Energy monitoring tools, setting up mobile data collection and verifying data submissions
  • the review of existing procedures and tools, updating of training materials and surveys to reflect the changes implemented on both the Livelihoods and Energy programs
  • the launch of a new automated process to draft the narratives that are integrated in the Country Analysis Notes
  • the administration of the open data platforms and data quality assessments to verify the accuracy of the values calculated and displayed, allowing to provide recommendations to the platform’s developers to fix discrepancies
  • the finalization of the monitoring system’s technical documentation
  • the suggestion to the UNHCR HQ of a more robust system back-end architecture to enhance overall performance, simplify the architecture, improve data security and allow the easy scalability of the system

To know more about the support CartONG provided in 2020, please read our 2020 Annual Report.

eSite project (UNHCR GDS)
Jan / 2018

The eSite is designed to serve as a web platform where GIS data can be accessed, explored and analyzed for different refugee and IDP site planning purposes. The resulting map products are easily deployable and shareable through the platform.

In 2019, the eSite project has advanced considerably, both in terms of defining the needs of its users and in terms of implementation. A first step was to define as closely as possible the needs of the main users of the future eSite platform with appointed focal points for each sector and through the creation of user stories which were translated into functional requirements and grouped into building blocks to be developed with the appropriate technical solutions. The first eSite beta version was implemented on 100% ESRI technologies. This prototype was demoed at several occasions in UNHCR to raise awareness and gauge user acceptance. Further studies and analyses were carried out to compare the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of different technologies that could be used to create a platform like envisaged for eSite. In addition to ESRI tools, selected proprietary and open-source technologies have been included in the benchmarking process. The technical tests and selection of tools for the next eSite development phase will take place during the first semester of 2020.

In 2020 the focus was on improving the guidance. The eSite project was also affected by the COVID-19 crisis. In March 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19, the UNHCR Public Health team requested the CartONG team to build a dashboard monitoring the situation in refugee contexts. In addition to the case data, this dashboard features field data on COVID-19 preparedness filled at country, field and urban level as well as the Balance Score Card Data collected at the health facility level. Python scripts were written to pull the data into the dashboard and turn aspects of it into a GIS feature service. The data can now be harvested also for other dashboards and has been integrated into the WASH dashboard developed by the WASH team. On eSite, CartONG researched and tested ArcGIS Hub functionalities as well as made further suggestions on how to stratify the user roles. CartONG also continued to build the Borehole application.

To know more about this activity, please read our 2020 Annual Report.

GIS & mapping support for Camp Coordination, Camp Management (UNHCR GDS)
Jan / 2017

CartONG provides GIS and mapping support to the CCCM (Camp Coordination, Camp Management) unit within the GDS section at UNHCR.

In 2017, such support involves developing new OPSMAPS and adding new functionalities to existing OPSMAP.

Following the work of previous years for the CCCM Cluster, in 2018, the ISMI (IDP Situation Monitoring Initiative) tracking dashboard was further enhanced and a new OPSMAP was developed in support of the ISIMM (IDP Sites Integrated Monitoring Matrix) project, both for North-West Syria context. ISMI dashboard has been remarkably improved after the first version delivered in 2017. This tool visualizes the Internally Displaced People (IDP) movement data collected by the cluster, who is responsible for updating the data through CKAN platform. It now includes animated movement layer, filter options through dynamic charts and data exports. ISIMM OPSMAP was deployed in 2018. Similarly to ISMI, and as a new feature in relation to older OPSMAPs, this version is connected to a CKAN platform, which allows the data owners to update it easily without requesting web developers.

The main update on the CCCM Cluster in 2019 was the development of a new OPSMAP, the Site Profile for Southern East Europe (SPSEE), including new features with respect to previous OPSMAPs. SPSEE’s development is close to its finalization. This is the first OPSMAP with a dedicated user/password set up, granting user based access to the application. Another important new feature consists of the possibility to query not only the last Site Profile, but also previous ones. Last but not least, a matrix representation was added as a new visualization option.

WASH GIS portal
Jan / 2016

The WASH GIS portal (also called Borehole Database) was created in 2016 by CartONG. The WAHS GIS portal centralizes information about boreholes data in refugee sites.

In 2020, 3 releases were done aiming at improving the application in different ways:

  • ensuring interoperability with the Rapid Solar Pumping Assessment Tool (R-SPAT) developed by Renewgies and UNHCR
  • optimizing the performance of the app allowing to display smoothly dozen of thousands of borehole at the same time
  • implementing analytics tools to better understand how the application is used by UNHCR staff and their WASH partner
  • implementing automatic monthly report and alert to allow a regular monitoring of the actions done on the portal
  • improving the design of some features of the app to smooth its use

New features and ideas are in the pipeline for 2021 such as un-duplication of boreholes, improved analysis of data, and more.

To know more about this activity, please read our 2020 Annual Report.

WASH KAP (Knowledge Aptitudes, Practices) survey implementation and mapper (UNHCR PHS)
Jun / 2015

CartONG has been supporting the Public Health section of UNHCR since 2015 for the large-scale deployment of an annually-run Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices survey in 180 refugee camps - helping to define the strategy, with the development of substantial training kits, the encoding of the survey and related analysis tools. Our support also involves field training and implementation missions. Here is a short overview of the key achievements since 2015:

Missions:

  • In 2018, 4 in-country trainings of survey managers or implementation missions occurred (Burkina Faso, Uganda, Sudan and Bangladesh), as well as interventions both at the WASH HCR global week and partner day.
  • In 2019, 4 in-country training sessions of survey managers occurred (Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq and Algeria) as well as interventions at the UNHCR WASH week and WASH partner day in May 2019.
  • In 2020, a two-day refresher training in Nigeria occurred

Documentation:

  • In 2017, documentation was published on the subject of the WASH KAP survey for the first time on the UNHCR WASH website.
  • In 2018, the tools and documentation were also improved, with the possibility of comparing the WASH core indicators for a given place over time and the production of four key manuals in French and English corresponding to the key phases of a KAP implementation.
  • In 2019, CartONG worked on the scale-up strategy of KAP surveys across all refugee camps, by thinking through the best capacity building and dissemination possibilities of the KAP approach and by analysing through a user survey and field survey reports what were the strongest needs of KAP stakeholders. Linked to this, the website was revamped, and the material on the website was also reworked to include short and sweet documentation and videos to facilitate access to key information.
  • In 2020, the French documentation was updated and new videos were produced as well as some changes to the global forms undertaken to align them to the Joint Monitoring Program.

Other work:

  • CartONG developed in 2016 the WASH KAP Mapper which maps out WASH KAP survey results. In 2017, CartONG continued working and improving the mapper: the mapper was made available online, and and extra features were developed to improve the user experience.
  • CartONG conducted a considerable revamping of the WASH GIS portal (or Borehole Database) in 2019 - numerous updates to existing features were implemented and new features were added.
  • In 2020 CartONG conducted online webinars, focusing on specific aspects of the WASH Kap survey
  • In 2020 CartONG kept giving support on form adaptations, data cleaning, the analysis tool and the rapid Household Survey via a hotline which was put in place in 2019. The WASH Kap Tools were improved. CartONG also supported the creation of two new forms, one of them part of the Balance Score Card Assessment of Health Facilities and one linked to assessing the water and sanitation situation in schools.

Learn more about the support we provided to UNHCR PHS section, in particular for WASH-related activities, by reading our 2020 Annual Report.

Site Mapping for non-GIS specialists (UNHCR GDS)
Jan / 2015

CartONG implements the Site Mapping together with UNHCR GDS unit (Global Data Service, previously known as FICSS) by deploying a user-friendly smartphone application for data collection and maintenance and store all collected information online in versatile web maps accessible to all actors in need of it. Already covered camps are accessible in the webmap section of the map portal (maps.unhcr.org).

CartONG continuously works on improving the site mapping application.

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