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Afghnistan | South
Africa - Port Elizabeth | New Orleans | Indonesia
Peace in Afghanistan : Can mapping help with poverty reduction
by identifying job gaps and creating 'Sustainable' jobs?
Rupert Douglas-Bate visited Afghanistan in
May and June 2010, to research the domain of sustainable job
creation. A sustainable job is one where someone gains a skill
enabling them to create an immediate and enduring income,
wherever they are.
The visit confirmed that to achieve long-term
peace the primary strategy must be on poverty reduction, by
establishing national job-skill training programs as an integral
part of the secondary school programs and by creating massive
numbers of sustainable jobs, especially for young men.
South Africa, Port
During August 2008, GMA volunteers Anton de Witt and Mzwabantu
Collen Vantyi, with support from Rupert Douglas-Bate, made a pilot-survey
to map and record the daily movement and activity of a selected
group of street children, over a seven day period, in the City of
Port Elizabeth. The project was an initial exercise, with a long-term
goal to map the conditions of another group, the 800,000 AIDS orphans
in South Africa.
The project is dedicated to The Royal Families of Dubai and Jordan,
with grateful thanks to Adrian Gardiner and to the Mantis Collection
hotel group, part of Dubai World Africa, for their support.
Little is known about the street children, however, it is a logical
starting point to define as clearly as possible how, where, and
why they live, for two reasons:-
a) it will promote a better informed discussion and actions to
help them by local aid agencies and
b) it will help promote their needs to donors, of all sorts, near
The survey displays its results on a map. This is not a new technique,
yet it is phenomenally effective and it has been done before. In
1889 Charles Booth a socially minded capitalist, created a poverty
map for London, which showed the social condition of every street.
His map grabbed the attention of politicians of all parties so that
much better attention was then focused on actions to reduce poverty,
for the reasons mentioned above.
GMA Street Children Map, Port Elizabeth, 2008
original size map (2.5 MB)
The group mostly stays intact for much of the day and its entire
spatial activity pattern hardly ever exceeds a spatial extent of
more than 1km2. This limited space in other words mostly represents
the group's 'world'. Sometimes however its members tend to spread
out over a small area (when they 'work' for example) and from time-to-time
some individuals may even leave the group and venture beyond its
usual spatial activity pattern. When it was for such reasons not
possible to follow and observe the group as a whole, one particular
group member named Sabta, was randomly chosen for this purpose and
In summary, the activities of these children represent a colossal
'feat of survival' with corresponding qualities of ingenuity and
entrepreneurship. For these same qualities they are sometimes perceived
as a nuisance.
Global MapAid volunteer team members: Elisabeth Huff, Brody Dittemore,
Heather Carlisle and Rupert Douglas-Bate began data collecting and
mapping on the 7th September 2005, soon after Katrina struck. They
made and distributed 50,000 black and white maps, starting with
20,000 maps for the Slidell and Jefferson areas.
Reverse of Map
of Slidell Town showing useful
phone numbers where families might
Map of Slidell Town showing where
families might get practical help.
Reverse of St
Louis Waveland showing useful
phone numbers where families might
Map of St Louis Waveland showing
where families might get practical
Reverese of Map
of North Jefferson Parish showing
useful phone numbers where families
night get help.
Map of North Jefferson Parish showing
where families might get practical
The maps assisted returnees to locate food, water and clothing.
In addition the GMA team helped our fellow aid workers at the Red
Cross by supplying colour maps to their Emergency Response Vehicle
teams, operating near Covington. These disaster relief maps showed
food delivery boundaries, so their teams were better able to deliver
hot food to the people and avoid covering the same areas over again,
or miss out areas.
During this mission GMA made contact with the University of New
Orleans and in particular Dr. Merrill Johnson, Associate Dean and
Professor of Geography at the College of Liberal Arts and also Professor
Juana Ibáñez of the College of Liberal Arts. They
were both helpful in mapping and distributing maps to returnees
and this friendship has led to our partnership and the Geo ERV program
for disaster recovery.”
Indonesia, Northern Sumatra,
Bande Aceh 2005
On Sunday, December 26, 2004 a massive earthquake shook the province
of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalem (NAD) in northern Indonesia. The quake
triggered an enormous tidal wave, known as a tsunami, which struck
the Indonesian province of NAD on the northern end of the island
Sumatra. The Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Bureau recorded
the quake's epicenter nearly 20 kilometers below sea level and 149
kilometers south of the city of Meulaboh (2.9N-95.6E). The US Geological
Survey recorded a magnitude of 9.0. The death toll caused by the
tsunami, as reported on March 25, 2005 by the Indonesian government's
disaster coordinating agency, BAKORNAS, exceeded 220,000 lives;
in addition to making more than one million people homeless and
also orphaning approximately 35,000 children. Initially relief poured
in from around the world from both national governments and non-governmental
organizations (NGO), although subsequent delays of relief have been
Global MapAid (GMA) is a unique non-profit organization which
takes the initiative to train locals to do the work, which ensures
that local humanitarian mapping is sustainable, once foreign NGO
Assessing the Local Needs
In March 2005 a two-person team, Rupert Douglas-Bate and Frank
Chang, went to Bande Aceh in Sumatra to assess how best to support
the local mapping capability.
En route, the party passed through Medan in Sumatra and met with
Paul Berg, the US Foreign Service Officer who is the Consul General
at the newly reopened office in Medan, where a considerable amount
of NGO coordination is handled.
Mr Berg proved very helpful in providing advice to Global MapAid,
particularly towards building a partnership with the University
of Syiah Kuala (Unsyiah) in Bande Aceh.
Starting a Local Partnership
In short, GMA made a partnership agreement with the University
Task Force for Aceh Reconstruction (UTFAR) at the University of
Syiah Kuala (Unsyiah) in Bande Aceh, to help map the tsunami devastated
region, in order to help local authorities plan for the cities rehabilitation
and reconstruction. UTFAR is headed by Dr. Hizir Sofyan, director
of the Mathematics Department, and Muzailin Affan, head of the GIS
and Remote Sensing Development Centre at the university.
In April, May and June, data collection equipment was researched,
purchased and retrofitted to be able to withstand the conditions
in northern Sumatra. These conditions typically involve 100% relative
humidity, 40 degrees Celsius, frequent power outages and risk of
loss due to pilfering. Please therefore note, all budding GIS volunteers,
aid work is often neither romantic, nor for the faint of heart !
Implementing a Partnership Training Activity
In July 2005, GMA sent Erin Kees an American GIS expert to train
a team of students at Unsyiah in using mobile GIS/GPS to collect
data for the mapping project. With a generous donation from the
Vodafone Foundation USA, GMA was able to purchase four Garmin iQue
M5 handheld PCs with built-in GPS, ESRI's mobile GIS software ArcPad,
and ArcPad Application Builder for customizing ArcPad.
A series of data collection activities and subsequent mapping
activities were accomplished.
The GIS training for the eight students is intended to build a
knowledge base at Unsyiah, so that the team working there may continue
to grow by sharing their mapping knowledge. GMA is thus enabling
UTFAR to go out and map specifically what they - local residents
- deem most important at any given time.
The iQue M5 PDA's donated to Unsyiah for the mapping project,
with GPS capabilities, allow a totally wireless and very portable
means for data collection in the field. The software chosen for
the project, ArcPad 6.0.3, is the latest version of ESRI's software
for mobile GIS and field mapping applications using handheld and
mobile devices. ArcPad Application Builder was also purchased in
order to customize ArcPad for the data collection exercise. Application
Builder allows users to design custom forms to streamline data collection
and ensure data integrity in the field. When installed on the iQue
PDA's, ArcPad is able to link with the GPS to collect data that
is geo-referenced and may have numerous attributes associated with
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