Skip to main content

Mapping Migrant Deaths in Southern Arizona: The Humane Borders GIS

Citation: Chamble, John F. et al. “Mapping Migrant Deaths in Southern Arizona: The Humane Borders GIS.” Humane Borders 2005.


Thousands of migrants die annually crossing the desert into the United States. Humane Borders is a Tucson, Arizona non-profit agency that provides migrants with strategically placed drinking water stations. We also work for immigration reform. Through cooperation with the U.S. Border Patrol and local medical examiners we produce maps showing the locations where migrants died. After ESRI donated ArcView 9.1, we launched an ambitious GIS program. Using personal geodatabases, we first create better migrant death maps. We then built Spanish-language warning poster that deter entry into the United States and warn migrants away from the deadliest parts of the desert. Recently we developed viewshed models for cellular phone service illustrating how better coverage would save lives by allowing migrants to call for government rescue. This paper demonstrates how GIS furthers our efforts to- in the words of Humane Borders’ President, Rev. Robin Hoover – “take death out of the immigration equation.”

Related Content
Ushahidi — Tracking xenophobic attacks in South…
RWI Human Rights ThemeMaps.
IMN — Indigenous Remote Sensing Collaborative.

Interpreting Optical Remote Sensing Images.
After the Killing Fields: Lessons from the Cambodian Genocide. Craig Etchenson
Accounting for scale: Measuring geography in quantitative studies of civil…. Bahaug H.; Lujala P.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
GIS Development
Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS Net)

Data and Tools
uDig GIS. Open Source
Sudan Interagency Mapping data.
European Commission Joint Research Center Fuzzy Matcher. European Commission Joint Research Center