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Getting help to where it's needed most

In the aftermath of a disaster thousands of people can suddenly find themselves battling to save lives and livelihoods. Before aid agencies can help them, the first requirement is information. Which areas have yet to be reached? Where are the relief resources? Where are the people in greatest need?

MapAction delivers this vital information in mapped form, from data gathered at the disaster scene. Creating a 'shared operational picture' is crucial for making informed decisions and delivering aid to the right place, quickly. 

MapAction's service is unique. It's the only non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a capacity to deploy a fully trained and equipped humanitarian mapping and information management team anywhere in the world, often within just hours.

"Mapping support during the early phases of a response is critical, as responders and donors try to more clearly understand the situation on the ground.  Without MapAction, the capacity to provide what is needed often simply doesn't exist."

UN Disaster Coordination Manager, Pakistan flood emergency 2010

The service

MapAction is ready, 365 days a year, to fly out a volunteer group of geographical information systems (GIS) professionals specially trained in disaster response, straight to the scene of a new disaster. Read more...

In between emergency deployments the charity contributes strongly to boosting preparedness for disaster response, for example by training the personnel of international aid agencies and of national disaster management organisations in vulnerable countries.

MapAction's humanitarian services were evaluated independently in October 2012. The executive summary of the review report can be read here.

People and organisation

MapAction's first disaster mission was to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Since then we have sent teams to more than 60 humanitarian crises: natural disasters such as the Nepal earthquakes and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and conflict-driven emergencies in Africa and Asia. We have supported thousands of different national and international aid teams bringing help to millions of people whose welfare and very existence have been threatened by devastating events.

Our volunteers work in a range of fields from Antarctic surveying to zoological research. Backing up the operational volunteers is a cadre of full time staff, part-time specialist officials, and a board of trustees.

MapAction is a UK-registered charity based at a small headquarters in Buckinghamshire in south-east England.

How you can help

Our work is vital but we don't benefit from the major public disaster appeals. Click here to find out how you can play a part in keeping MapAction’s volunteers ready to respond to disasters wherever and whenever they happen.