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Tufts Crisis Mapping Class » Crisis Mapping, Featured » Why take a class on crisis mapping?

Why take a class on crisis mapping?

So, why am I interested in taking a course on Crisis mapping? It’s not something I knew a lot about from the get go-I had to Google the term when it first popped up in the course catalog.

And even then, I was leery to say the least. My skills as a computer programmer are nonexistent, and the jargon filled summaries I read of the field made it seem useful in some aspects, but also esoteric and decidedly hands off. After the information session, however, my concerns were completely allayed by was what the course itself promised: to teach a skill. Rather than simply feeding us information, Crisis Mapping would be about learning a toolkit, and nurturing the organizational savvy to put it into action. Regardless of how difficult the computer aspect would be, the idea of taking a class that would give not just a university credit, but the ability to actually be of use in a real crisis was vastly appealing. Much of what I’m taking, while offering interesting insights, has little real world applicability, whereas crisis mapping, to my surprise, was not only useful on the ground, but lent itself to countless fields. I don’t just hope to gain the technical skills the syllabus says it will teach, however, as useful as they may be.

In my mind, this course is in part about immersing us in the mindset of humanitarian relief. From the simulation we are doing, as well as their culmination in this year’s Field Ex, I want to begin to build the thought processes that allow me to consider and cope with the very real problems of planning and executing relief efforts. Moreover, even though I have no plans to ever work from the technology end of the field I hope to have a familiarization with these tools that is beyond rote learning, something that, in a pinch, will allow me to see its possibilities in new situations.

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