The technology advantage: how UNOSAT Humanitarian Rapid Mapping Service has become a UN standard in less than 10 years
Like most success stories, the partnership between UNOSAT and the international humanitarian community had a tentative beginning. Ten years ago, UNOSAT experts housed at the CERN laboratory in Geneva suggested for the first time the idea of a full scale service dedicated to supporting humanitarian decision making and ground operations. To be useful, the service had to be operational 24 hours a day, each day of the year, rely on standards and operational procedures still unwritten at that time, and be free of charge for humanitarian operators who had no time and no dedicated budget to pay for a technology service.
Since its birth as a project in 2000 UNOSAT work has been based on a professional commitment to producing concrete, tangible and usable results. Known at first for its maps and detailed assessments, UNOSAT evolved rapidly from 2000 to 2003 into a specialized team able to produce just-in-time geospatial products for identified users and beneficiaries in UN agencies, member states, and communities in a variety of areas, with a focus on turning technology into usable applications.