Lively debate on disaster mapping

MapAction and Alertnet jointly ran an event that examined the future on mapping in the aid world, on 4 June. The seminar was held at the Thomson Reuters headquarters in London and attracted representatives from international NGO’s, UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations.

The event, entitled ‘Mapping for Communications Planning and Advocacy’ was filmed and can be accessed online via the following page: A clash of cultures between aid work and mapping?

Nick McWilliam of MapAction, who chaired the discussion, remarked: “You can’t respond to a disaster without first asking a lot of questions about ‘where’.”

The problem of making a ‘business case’ for investment in mapping resources was debated at the seminar. The question of who will pay for new technologies — and the data, much of which remains proprietary — is not yet clear.

The morning plenary sessions were followed by workshops on several technical subjects, including using Google Earth, and how to find map data sources for aid projects.

Picture: REUTERS/Daniel Munoz