Tsunami Update

By Directions Staff

Many thanks to those who wrote to update us regarding Tsunami Relief efforts.It feels like the major emphasis in the past week is how we, as a technology community, are getting organized around volunteering our time and resources to assist in the relief effort.

As we mentioned in last Wednesday's newsletter, The nature of our "horizontal technology" requires us to participate in planning for, response to, and mitigation of disasters, both man-made and natural.
In the long-term, mapping activities will continue in this region for some time to assist with shoreline repositioning and reconstruction, demographic population displacement analysis, corridor analysis for road, telecommunication and other infrastructure network projects, and many other projects to assist governments and businesses to start the rebuilding process.GIS as a technology and the solutions providers who sell them will be tested to see how efficiently data can be assembled, integrated and analyzed in a way that makes an immediate impact to help the reconstruction effort.In a very real sense, all the good words we throw around about interoperability between software solutions will be exposed as either truths or falsehoods.And who knows, maybe new advances in both function and form will come out of this.Let's also hope that as a technology community, we're putting our best effort forward to solve the problems and not descend into and argument over "who's system is best."

Here's a short list of organizations that are currently active.If you're not already involved either as volunteer or as a contributor of resources, we encourage you to do so.(We apologize in advance for anyone in this list of charitable organizations we may have missed.Please write us so that we can update this list of organizations and let our community know what you are doing and what you need from us.)

GISCorps is a URISA initiative operating entirely on a volunteer basis under the auspices of URISA, and currently has 130 potential volunteers registered.GISCorps is working on staffing three efforts (Global MapAid/MapAction, Vietnam Veterans of America and SeedsIndia).
Global MapAid
GMA "mission is to assist aid efforts towards the hungry poor by providing and assisting in the provision of mapping and corresponding communications systems for aid agencies." The organization has issued an appeal for funds to "
do an evaluation followed by a one year project on the Indian Ocean seaboard."
MapAction "is a UK-based international charity, staffed by specialist trained volunteers, whose core role is supporting humanitarian operations through the provision of data collection and mapping capabilities in the field." They are also currently seeking support.(Ed.Note: we are hoping to provide an update from MapAction's field activities in the next weeks.)
International Charter - Space and Major Disasters
The International Charter aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to "Authorized Users" affected by natural or man-made disasters through authorized users, and has several current "activations" related to tsunami.Each member agency has committed resources to support the provisions of the Charter and thus is helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property.

Published Thursday, January 13th, 2005

Written by Directions Staff

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