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Tufts Crisis Mapping Class » Crisis Mapping

The Adventures of the Catholic Relief Services Team and Google Earth

Last week we explored Ushahidi as a mapping platform for crises, in particular the earthquake in Rabat, Morocco. More recently we used Google Earth to map the cases we wished to deal with on the ground. After having experience with both platforms, we came to the conclusion that Google Earth offers better resources for our goals. For example, Google Earth provides better visualization of geographic satellite information such as the location of roads and buildings, and paths from aid stations to where it is needed. This was especially useful to us because CRS’ mandate targets the poor and the disaster stricken, who typically live in areas that aren’t mapped. For example, our crowdmap could not provide details of the shantytowns; thus, we felt that Google Earth was much more useful … Read entire article »

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Moroccan Red Crescent Team Google Earth post

Moroccan Red Crescent Madeline Luce, Miriam Ross-Hirsch, Ben Wang, Emily Parker Benefits and Challenges As we mapped relevant data on Google Earth, we learned a lot about the benefits and challenges of using this platform. We enjoyed the ability to easily create categories (folders) and then sort data points into these folders. This allowed for easy navigation of the information. Google Earth also allows for the embedding of content, which makes it easier to see what’s going on, serving as a visual accompaniment for any data or information. If one puts enough time into clearly organizing data, it can easily be shared and interpreted. On Google Earth we can additionally see the terrain and land affected. The inability to access updated road and land … Read entire article »

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UNICEF Conclusions

Originally in our project design, we assumed that our long-term goals would be implemented much later after the earthquake occurred, but foundation building would be useful if not effective soon after the crisis has occurred. In the simulation, many people were reporting that it wasn’t just food and water that they were lacking, it was money and something to occupy themselves with. If these people are internally displaced and the city has been ravaged, they don’t have anything to occupy themselves with. If we were to change our plan, we would likely dive into the foundation building in a shorter time frame than we had originally thought in order to limit the long term damage. We also have to take into consideration that our supplemental meal plan may not be as … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping, Disaster Management, Humanitarian Action

CRS in Morocco

Looking back at our original program design As a reminder, our original program design was to alleviate poverty by: Immediately providing disaster relief to the affected low socio-economic populations in the coastal shantytowns of Rabat and later creating jobs to encourage sustainable economic self-sufficiency. 1. Sending in aid supplies a. Assessing the situation through communication with existing relief organizations b. Using supplies to stimulate the economy such as recirculating money and putting in more money 2. Creating jobs a. temporary relief-oriented jobs b. restarting previous sources of employment and income such as agriculture and the phosphate mining industry. Modifications? Given our lack of experience in Morocco, including language and sociocultural barriers, it proved to be a wise decision to limit our target population to only the low social economic status areas of Rabat. It is difficult to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping, Humanitarian Action, Technology

World Food Program: Concluding Post

Original Program Design As the World Food Program, our ultimate mission in this scenario is to promote long-term food security. After assessing the needs of the population in the face of the Rabat earthquake crisis, we judged that doing so would require a two-phase approach. We first have to provide immediate aid as a part of the response effort. Concurrently, we should begin the development of programs to promote long-term food stability as an integral part of the reconstruction process. These will continue beyond the duration of the immediate crisis. For each of these phases we designed plans to meet our objectives. As a part of the response effort, we would lead an aid-distribution effort that galvanized local fishermen into a network of distributors servicing the camps developing along the Bou Regreg … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping, Featured, Humanitarian Action

Moroccan Red Crescent Team Final Post

Crisis mapping is an extremely new field. It is definitely not an exact science, and we learned that we needed to be extremely flexible with our crisis response plan. While we learned many things in class, it was obvious to us that no amount of information can prepare us for how crisis mapping functions in the field. As the Moroccan Red Crescent our original program was providing water and sanitation to Rabat and the surrounding areas immediately following the earthquake. We decided to provide these services while at the same time starting an education program to inform people about clean water and sanitation practices to make our efforts sustainable. The addition of new technology will not drastically change our initial approach to the crisis, but it will change the way … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping, Disaster Management, Humanitarian Action

Ministry Health Final Post

As the Moroccan Ministry of Health, we realized that we had a unique set of considerations, as we were the only group situated in Morocco and were already familiar with the culture, customs and policies of the country. As the process of drafting a disaster response continued, we came to understand more about our specific role but initially could have a stronger sense of what it meant to be the Ministry of Health. Many of our assumptions and questions in the beginning phases of the class could have been answered if we understood the role of a ministry of health to a fuller extent, and that was something we should have taken into consideration sooner than we did. Initially, our group assumed that we would direct the entire relief effort in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping, Disaster Management, Humanitarian Action

FieldEx 2011 Wrap-up

At 9 am this morning, we arrived in Fletcher to begin the Field Ex Crisis simulation. With limited knowledge of the background situation in Comootros, including political unrest, ethnic tensions and NGOs on the ground, we brainstormed a structure to organize the workflow for our crisis mapping team. We divided into 3 teams to assess and map data: Administration maintained phone contact with trusted sources on the ground as well as the public information officer who interfaced with the media. Logistics gathered and categorized SMS data, while maintaining and monitoring blog and twitter posts. Operations mapped raw data on Crowdmap to share with individuals to aid in NGO and UN efforts on the ground. The process of mapping and verifying reports is an intense one, as reports … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping, Headline

Group Dynamics, Volunteer Management, and Crisis Mapping

Moroccan Red Crescent The inherent collaborative nature of crisis mapping and its reliance on a network of both professional and civilian workers has both its benefits and its challenges.  From our practical experiences working on class assignments and our crisis simulation, as well as from accounts drawn from the blogs of more established crisis mappers, we have quickly become familiar with the advantages, as well as the drawbacks, of a multi-member response team. One advantage of the cooperative nature of crisis mapping is the efficiency that results from the ability to mobilize a mass of volunteers, sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands, who can respond to crises immediately.  In his blog post, Patrick Meier describes this massive force: …in the wake of the Haiti earthquake…more than a thousand Creole-speaking volunteers in no … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping, Disaster Management, Headline

Blog 1 – Why Crisis Mapping?

I am an exchange student from Germany and studying at Tufts for two semesters. Since I only get one credit transferred from Tufts to my German university, I am in the lucky position to be able to take only those classes that genuinely interest me. So far those have ranged from Swahili to Snowboarding, and now I added Crisis Mapping to my ‘collection’. I skimmed through the Tufts ExCollege catalog when I stumbled across the description of this Crisis Mapping class. I have to admit that in the beginning, I had absolutely no idea what it was about, but after reading the syllabus it became a little bit more clear to me. I think I took the course because I really wanted to learn more about the field of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crisis Mapping