MapAction Volunteer(s) of the Year

On 1 December, MapAction held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at which we looked back over 2018 and thanked our volunteers and members who have given so much to us over the course of the year in order to further our humanitarian work.

Ant Scott giving a situation report during the response to the Indonesia earthquake in October

Every year we highlight the contribution of one volunteer who has exceeded even our very high expectations in terms of their dedication and impact over the previous twelve months. Winning the Volunteer of the Year prize (also known as the David Spackman Award after our first Chief Executive who presents it each year) is a significant achievement. The bar is very high; all our volunteers are carefully selected for their skills, intelligence, attitude and dedication and being part of our deployable team requires a large, ongoing commitment of time and effort. As well as going on missions and participating in team training, our volunteers also do a lot of less publicly visible work in the UK. They help to ensure that MapAction has the technical capability (tools, knowledge and skills) to maintain and enhance its humanitarian activities. They also create maps remotely and provide remote support to our own teams and our partners around the world to help them process and analyse data and create maps locally.

Mark Gillick (left) receiving the MapAction Volunteer of the Year Award from David Spackman

Two winners

This year, unusually, the David Spackman Award was given to two individuals – Mark Gillick and Ant Scott – both of whom have packed in a huge amount of extremely valuable and important pro bono work during the past twelve months.

Mark deployed a remarkable seven times in 2018 carrying out essential training and preparedness as well as disaster response work. He went from floods in Nigeria directly to the earthquake in Indonesia without returning home in between.

Ant deployed to the Indonesian earthquake, helped represent MapAction at the Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team’s global summit in Tanzania and this month will be conducting a preparedness mission to Kyrgyzstan. He also lead the management and evolution of MapAction’s disaster preparedness offering and spearheaded the transition of our internal wiki to a new platform – a task which took many months of continual focus.

Presenting the awards, David highlighted three qualities that both winners had exhibited in abundance during 2018; intelligence, honourable intent and imagination in the form of creativity and inventiveness. “There is a power relationship between motivation, thought and action, and you both have shown the potency of that synthesis in a noble cause. Could anyone ask for more? Together you are a manifestation of a shining tradition. Thank you both, for your practical hard work and for the self-effacing magic of your inspiration.”

Congratulations to Ant and Mark, and thank you to all our volunteers for the tremendous work you do.

Below is our CEO Liz Hughes’ review of 2018 which she shared at the AGM.

MapAction wins Data Analysts User Group award

Photo: Jan Wright Photography

MapAction has been recognised by the Data Analysts User Group (DUG) with the award of its annual prize recognising advances in the production of better information.

DUG is a member organisation for commercial data analysts to meet and exchange best practice. MapAction was chosen to receive the award because of its work to ensure that those preparing for and responding to humanitarian emergencies around the world have the data and information systems and products they need to make sure the right aid to gets to where it’s most needed as quickly as possible.

The award was presented by DUG Director Dr Tim Drye at the Group’s annual conference at the Royal Society on 26 October.

Dr Drye commented, “We have been investigating the possibility of building a team of rapid response data analysts and scientists within DUG. During our research at least three different people pointed us to the great work that MapAction are already doing. They have developed a robust infrastructure, capacity and processes that can respond to emergencies promptly and effectively. It is wonderful to see data and analysis being used in these circumstances so effectively. We at DUG are keen to recognise this work with our annual award for contributions to the development of data and analysis within the UK.”

Photo: Jan Wright Photography

Liz Hughes, CEO of MapAction, said, “We are very grateful to DUG for recognising MapAction in this way. It underlines, on the one hand, the value and importance of geospatial analysis for more effective humanitarian response, and, on the other, the expertise and commitment of our highly skilled volunteers.”

At the conference Liz Hughes and MapAction volunteer Karl Hennermann gave a short presentation on diversity analysis and its relevance to humanitarian action.

GIS award for MapAction’s work

USA, 20 July – MapAction was presented with the Humanitarian GIS Award by ESRI in San Diego in July.

The award was received by Andrew Douglas-Bate, MapAction’s Chairman, from Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI Inc. The presentation took place in front of some 12,000 people at ESRI’s International User Conference, on 11 July 2009 in San Diego, California.

Jack Dangermond praised the work of MapAction volunteers who use GIS for good in challenging and sometimes dangerous environments.

ESRI Inc is the world’s largest GIS software and services company. It supports MapAction by providing free licences and support for its powerful software, for MapAction volunteers to use in the field during natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.