Maps in action

Maps in action

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Wai-Ming Lee
Wai-Ming Lee
member
MapAction, uk
The mapping requirements of any disaster can be very different from one situation to the next. MapAction is a UK-based international charity that specialises in the mapping of disaster areas and supplying geographical information for humanitarian relief operations. Shortly after the Tsunami disaster, a team from MapAction was on their way to Sri Lanka. This article is an account of MapAction’s work in Sri Lanka

Whilst readers will need no convincing of the merits of good geospatial information, in a disaster area the most urgent concerns are normally medicine, clean water and food. Maps aren’t top of many people’s agenda. However, it is in trying to make the most effective use of the life saving aid that the value of good quality, up-to-date maps becomes apparent to all. The need was realized and MapAction planned its visit to Sri Lanka after consultation with by the head of the UN Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) team in Colombo. MapAction is a UK-based international charity that specialises in the mapping of disaster areas and supplying geographical information for humanitarian relief operations. Shortly after the Tsunami unleashed its devastation on the Indian Ocean, a team from MapAction was on their way to Sri Lanka. This article is an account of MapAction’s work in Sri Lanka.

Using the GIS and GPS technology MapAction aims to produce instant, real-time maps of a disaster. It then provides the information to relief organisations – non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government agencies that are providing aid in the field. There is no single standard set of needs that the MapAction meets. The mapping requirements of any disaster can be very different from one situation to the next. The organization needed flexibility and self-reliance in its operations. Normally the organisation’s team would expect to operate from a field tent.