How not to get your truck stuck: SDI-T Geoportal - A new approach to mapping in emergencies11 December 2009
As a logistician in an emergency operation your job is to deliver humanitarian aid to affected populations in the fastest, most efficient and safest way. Taking decisions on the best use transport assets is one of your skills. But when bridges are down and roads are blocked by floods, hostile military checkpoints or landmines how do you reach cut-off areas?
How do you get the information you need to make these decisions? A key task in logistics coordination is to put together information from all responders about the constantly-changing conditions of access routes. As logisticians face blocked roads they report back to colleagues in other organisations and find ways around the problem. The government and military give updates on inaccessible areas or dangerous zones affected by conflict.
Now with the launch of the SDI-T GeoPortal this has just become a lot easier. An on-line map can be directly accessed from the field to check out the latest updates on road conditions and to calculate the best route to an area depending on the type of vehicle used. Information on obstacles such as roadblocks or damaged bridges can be uploaded onto the map immediately. No need to report back and wait for new maps to be published. No need to get your truck stuck ever again.
The pilot phase will be launched at the beginning of 2010 in Sudan, DRC and Haiti with full roll out for all Logistics Clusters by the middle of the year. Low bandwidth will ensure accessibility from remote field locations.
And now for the technical part:
Based on the latest open source web technologies, SDI-T GeoPortal is a web mapping platform providing SDI-T related tools, including GIS functionality, for Logistics Clusters and humanitarian logisticians in the field. As a web based platform, worldwide access can be provided through the internet. The whole system is built on OpenSource software packages, which can be extended individually and do not have licence costs.
The current version is based on a prototype developed by a student at the University of Bonn during his master thesis, together with the Global Logistics Cluster Support Cell. The GIS Unit of the Logistics Cluster Support Cell has just finished the migration of the whole system to our server in Rome. From now on we are hosting, administrating and developing the SDI-T GeoPortal.
Photo: DRC, Province Orientale, Pont Epulu. La photo avait ete prise par un representant de la compagnie de transport du camion se trouvant sur le pont.