The increasing number and intensity of natural disasters in the past few years have had severe consequences in terms of human lives that were impacted, but also in terms of structural damage and economic losses. In years to come, extreme events will no longer be exceptions; therefore, it is essential for sovereign territories in the Caribbean region to strengthen both their preparedness and response capacities to efficiently cope with future disaster events.
Geospatial information technology including satellite imagery analysis and data visualization play a vital role in understanding the geographic extent and severity of catastrophic events. Nevertheless, the ability of national and regional authorities as well as disaster management experts to seamlessly collect, integrate, analyze and distribute geospatial information in a comprehensible format to support evidence-based decision making remains a challenge that needs to be addressed with ad-hoc training and capacity development programmes.
To meet these challenges, UNOSAT is offering an introductory course in the use of Geo-Spatial Information Technology applications to support operational planning and decision making during emergency response. The course is designed to accommodate selected participants from line ministries and national/regional authorities with little or no previous GIS experience.
The aim of the course is to enable participants to work with basic GIS tools and methodologies in preparation of disaster related maps in support of emergency response operations.
Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:
- Define and describe basic concepts and terminology related to geospatial information technology
- Apply basic methods and functionalities of GIS software (ESRI ArcGIS) to manage and analyse spatial data
- Explain the role of Geo-information in the response phase of a disaster
- Undertake the process of map-making in support of emergency response operations
- Identify, search, collect, organize and analyse geospatial related information including GIS data
- Apply basic GIS methodologies to perform impact analysis and preliminary damage assessment in the immediate aftermath of a disaster
The course is focused on providing insight into various tools available in GIS for situation mapping. Emphasis will be given to understand the concept of GIS and its integration in disaster situations. A central part of the course involves collecting pre and post disaster baseline data from web sources, preparing, and analysing and creating situation maps to support emergency response. Hands on experience with the field data collection tools like GPS, PDA and UAV will also be part of the course.
This is a full-time, face-to-face course with lectures and GIS lab exercises using datasets from past disasters (80% lab exercises, 20% lectures and discussions).
The whole course is designed in a way to have a balanced approach between theoretical and practical methodologies, which will enable the students to gain maximum knowledge on the subject. It will be taught in lecture/discussion formats illustrated with Power Point presentations, live demos, videos, maps, diagrams, field visits, interactive sessions and content on web sites. The final case-study will be designed to give a near real-time scenario for the students to have confidence in handling similar situations in the near future.
The course is divided into 10 Modules offered over a two weeks period. Each module is structured into 4 sessions of 1.5 hour each. The average workload per week is likely to be around 25-30 hours.
There will be filed visits to various UN organizations in and around Geneva.
Professionals working in DRM/DRR and humanitarian assistance who wish to strengthen their practical skills in GIS/RS applications for working in emergency response.
Participants will be given a UN certificate from UNITAR on successful completion of the course.
The GIS lab exercises will be based on ESRI ArcGIS editor 10.4.1 with extensions (spatial analyst), Google Earth and internet access.
Participants MUST bring their own Windows laptops able to run ArcGIS software, for use during the entire duration of the course.
The number of participants is limited to 20 to ensure quality support is provided.
This course is offered by UNITAR-UNOSAT in collaboration with the Master of Disaster Management Programme of the University of Copenhagen.
Participants are expected to cover their own expenses pertaining to travel, housing and meals in Geneva.
Mr. Luca Dell'Oro, Specialist at UNITAR-UNOSAT