Wednesday, February 02, 2011

WARP Speed 0.5

The Wide Availability and Response Project (WARP) was launched by URISA GISCorps and MapAction yesterday. These two humanitarian organisations specialized in GIS have come together to help improve operational disaster-preparedness in the Latin American & Caribbean Region by establishing a swiftly available repository of basic GIS data to support rapid response humanitarian missions from within or outside of LAC countries in the event of a disaster.

GIS practitioners in the LAC Region are needed for this volunteer effort. The outcome will provide valuable, practical, disaster-preparedness for countries and your help is needed to make it happen. WARP will address country datasets in an organised manner, and to begin with is looking at collating appropriate data for Bermuda, Belize and Saint Lucia. Other countries will be focused on as the project progresses.

The Minimum Common Operational Dataset of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) will be used as an existing international standard by the project. So, if you have decent GIS skills and can volunteer 30-60 hours, in any combination of hours, at your own desktop doing data mining, collation, heads-up digitizing and metadata creation over a period of about two months, and would like to support this effort for your country or other countries, please join us - see the job description and other info via the first link above. Recruitment for this first phase will close on Sun 13 Feb 2011. Email your resume to

This initiative arose out of the 5th URISA Caribbean GIS Conference in Trinidad in Dec 2010 where MapAction delivered the Closing Keynote Address on lessons learnt from missions to Haiti and elsewhere.

In the event of a disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane or tsunami (i) simple datasets can allow GIS practitioners to assist the national or international response with situation maps, to bring relief to the affected population in a better, more organized manner; (ii) in the midst of the chaos, such datasets may not be easily or quickly available or may have been destroyed. Overall, in the circumstances of a disaster, a speedy but organized emergency response is the best way to save lives and ease human suffering amongst the affected population, and preparation is needed to allow GIS technology to help this to happen.

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