AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program: Programs–2

Numerous well-established and long term institutional programs exist which are of interest to the geospatial technologies and human rights community. A sample of these are presented here, and AAAS welcomes suggestions for additions. Please email us with your suggestion and include a link to the program and a brief description of its relevance to geospatial technologies and human rights. Note that Institutional Programs also often host Projects of relevance, and many of the programs mentioned below are linked to samples of their respective projects.

Map Action
MapAction is a UK-based NGO that specializes in the deployment of teams to support mapping needs in the event of humanitarian disasters. This group of volunteers has assisted in Burkina Faso after flooding in 2009 and in China after the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province.

Open Street Map
OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you. OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth.
The Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies serves as a venue for discussing community and participatory mapping. The Forum’s objective is to provide disadvantaged groups with the resources to improve decision making in the areas of land use planning, property rights, and conservation. Their site provides information on open source GIS alternatives, attaining aerial imagery, and web mapping.

PreventionWeb serves the information needs of the disaster risk reduction community, including the development of information exchange tools to facilitate collaboration. The site covers a wide range of issues, from disaster risk management and early warning, to critical infrastructure and the implications of climate change.

RESPOND Consortium
The RESPOND Consortium is made up of public and private sector partners who work to disseminate geographic information for the benefit of the humanitarian community. The work of the consortium stems from the GMES joint initiative of the European Space Agency and the European Commission. Since 2004, RESPOND has produced over 400 maps to aid in public health, disaster preparedness, and food security.

Tactical Tech
Tactical Tech is an international NGO helping human rights advocates use information, communications and digital technologies to maximise the impact of their advocacy work. We provide advocates with guides, tools, training and consultancy to help them develop the skills and tactics they need to increase the impact of their campaigning. We also carry out projects with various advocacy groups ranging from sex worker health and rights to HIV/AIDS access to treatment groups. Tactical Tech’s Mobiles In-a-Box project has how-tos on using cellphones for capturing images, sending messages, and securing information.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
OCHA is the arm of the UN Secretariat that is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. OCHA’s mission is to mobilise and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate for the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention; and facilitate sustainable solutions.

UNOSAT is a service of the United Nations providing satellite imagery and GIS services to the international humanitarian relief and development communities. The organization’s humanitarian rapid mapping service provides imagery processing and mapping support to UN relief and coordination agencies involved in emergency response efforts.

UN ReliefWeb
ReliefWeb is the world?s leading online gateway to information, documents and maps on humanitarian emergencies and disasters. An independent vehicle of information, designed specifically to assist the international humanitarian community in effective delivery of emergency assistance, it provides timely, reliable and relevant information as events unfold, while emphasizing the coverage of “forgotten emergencies” at the same time. ReliefWeb was launched in October 1996 and is administered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Ushahidi, which means ”testimony” in Swahili, is a website that was developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Ushahidi’s roots are in the collaboration of Kenyan citizen journalists during a time of crisis. The new Ushahidi Engine is being created to use the lessons learned from Kenya to create a platform that allows anyone around the world to set up their own way to gather reports by mobile phone, email and the web – and map them. It is being built so that it can grow with the changing environment of (more)…

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