Contributing to excellence in emergency response

We are working with our colleagues in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) to share valuable insights and experience, and to learn about how AHA is adapting and developing the expertise of its team.

The centre recently ran a series of virtual sessions which provided the opportunity for graduate members of ASEAN’s Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) the chance to hone their technical skills and consult with experts. The programme also refreshed members’ memories and enhanced their technical competencies.

MapAction ran a session on response mapping which included guided tutorials and self-paced learning on how to make use of Excel and Google Earth in an emergency. Participants learned how to use the tools and techniques quickly and efficiently in the early stages of a response and how they might also support decision makers in the response teams. These techniques were built on during the other sessions led by AHA staff on data collection and analysis, data visualisation and developing information management dashboards. The sessions were tested during a four hour online simulation exercise.

The online course was composed of eight people from across the ASEAN region including Brunei, Laos, the Philippines and Indonesia who had graduated from previous courses. 

USAID logo
This work was made possible thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of a programme to improve the use of geospatial analysis and services across the entire humanitarian response sector.

MapAction and the AHA Centre have signed a Memorandum of Intent with each other which formalises our joint efforts to help build mapping and information management capacity among humanitarian actors in the ASEAN region, as well as helping them prepare for disasters by putting in place essential geospatial information and resources. This training forms part of this ongoing activity.

Training Caribbean disaster managers

We are proud to be supporting the delivery of an online course in crisis mapping in the Caribbean this month. The training course will involve around 50 disaster management professionals from across the Caribbean and is in partnership with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with input from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). 

This is the second time the online course has been run, and we used our extensive deployment and training experience in the design and development of it.

Screenshot of GeoCRIS
Screenshot of the GeoCRIS showing a map of part of Western Haiti with several map layers selected

As well as learning the principles of disaster mapping for response and resilience and OpenStreetMap data entry, the participants are practicing effective use of the GeoCRIS. This is the new regional repository for geospatial data needed for risk and hazard mapping, disaster preparedness and response operations. As MapAction was involved in setting up the GeoCRIS, we are well placed to design and deliver this training.

The month-long course also includes a disaster simulation exercise in which the students will have the opportunity to deploy their newly acquired skills in a realistic emergency scenario. Additionally, two members of MapAction’s Caribbean volunteer team who have both recently been involved in the response to the La Soufrière volcanic eruption will be running a live session to share their real-world experiences of emergency mapping in the region and answer questions.

We’re grateful to USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) for funding this activity as part of our ongoing programme to improve the ways in which geographical information systems (GIS), mapping and spatial analysis are used in humanitarian emergencies.