Maps are integral to aid workers both in the field and at headquarters. Key advantages of relief maps are as follows:
Presentation of data through the use of icons, shading, hatching, colour, contrast and scale enables people, regardless of language, to understand the information.
Maps concentrate large quantities of information onto one page, enabling data to be rapidly cross-referenced and acted upon.
Interchangeable sectoral overlays enable timely and accurate decisions on populations, markets, logistics, strategy, security or policy. Sectors may be integrated and interrogated to meet specific user requirements.
The environment, including resource use, and communities exist in parallel, if the needs of either suffer, they both suffer. Maps can help define those needs and highlight mutually compatible solutions.
Accurate mapping of minefields and military no-go zones improves the security of relief workers, local resident populations and victims or refugees. Minefield maps are made with data from highly specialised de-mining NGOs such as HALO or Mine Action Group.