On 18th April 2013, an informal workshop in Geneva saw representatives from various humanitarian organizations gather to share and exchange under the theme "GIS for Shelter and Settlement".
This workshop, organized by Rob Fielding (Shelter Centre), was intended to discuss specific needs and issues raised in Shelter and Settlement, and how GIS applications can support these needs. It was also the occasion to prepare the Shelter Centre meeting (25-26th April).
Amongst the attendees were the Shelter Centre, UN-Habitat, Acted/Reach Initiative, CartONG, MEDAIR, ESRI, and independent specialists in Shelter and Settlement. The main points examined were the needs of the Shelter Cluster for a common GIS platform and a core reflection about the purpose, the gains, and the difficulties of using spatial data for Shelter and Settlement. Attendees gave an overview of the state of progress of GIS use in their organization, and had the occasion to express their questions and expectations.
Specialized organizations presented GIS case studies : ESRI made a demonstration of ArcGIS online and its uses for non-profit organizations. As a major trend recently seen in data management, possibilities held by mobile data collection for Shelter and Settlement were also discussed. Acted/Reach Initiative and CartONG both presented projects using this kind of technology, to perform assessments on refugees shelter conditions.
This workshop was also the occasion to bring attention on the upcoming NOMAD workshop (Linking Humanitarian Organizations with Mobile Data Collection Tool Providers) on 15-16-17th May. Held by Immap and CartONG, this meeting could bring up interesting perspectives for Shelter&Settlement organizations. We are looking forward to meet again in Paris!