Guatemala: In order to generate and make better use of geospatial information to support risk management and emergency response, Guatemala government agencies are setting up the Inter-institutional Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Group for Risk and Disaster Management.
The group represents an inter-institutional approach to enhance the decision-making process of the State of Guatemala regarding the reduction of the effects of natural hazards and to minimise the vulnerability of the population of Guatemala and its assets. It will derive products from remote sensing applications and adapt the information into a geo-spatial format to increase the use of such information.
In recent months, the members of the group have been outlining a strategic framework and a plan of action to be implemented in the coming years. Four key elements are included in this framework: Information management, publication and dissemination of information generated by the group, capacity building and institutional strengthening and coordination mechanisms and support in case of disasters.
More concretely, it foresees the following activities:
-An inventory of satellite images as a way to enhance their use by the group
-An effort to homogenise existing hazard, vulnerability and risk maps
-The establishment of a clearinghouse for the group
-The design and implementation of a Spatial Database Infrastructure incorporating remote sensing data
-The conduction of training activities and elaboration of guidelines to make use of remote sensing applications to generate information for risk management and emergency response
-The establishment of a library of documents
The initial agencies forming this group include the Secretariat for Planning and Programming of the Presidency of Guatemala (SEGEPLAN), the National Coordinating Agency for Disaster Reduction (CONRED), the National Geographic Institute of Guatemala (IGN), the National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH) and the Registry of Cadastre Information of Guatemala (RIC). It is expected that other government ministries and agencies will also join this effort soon.