Visualising access constraints: the Logistics Cluster provides GPS and Road Assessment training in Iraq

19 October 2015

As the movement of staff across the country is restricted in Iraq, it is crucial to have qualified personnel in several locations across the country that can assess road conditions. The Logistics Cluster in Iraq trained 29 staff from 14 organisations in collecting road assessment information. Fabrice, the Logistics Cluster GIS Officer, who regularly produces access constraints maps prepared two trainings for logistics and security staff from organisations active in Dohuk and Erbil: “It was a great experience to see participants engaged in learning how the use of geographic information can benefit their daily work”. Part of the training was dedicated to practical waypoints collection and road assessment exercises. Presented with different scenarios, participants had to use the Logistics Cluster SDI-T road assessment form to gather information on road conditions, access and hazards such road blocks and floods. “Prior to the training in August I had little knowledge on how to collect operationally relevant data” - emphasized one of the participants – “now I know how to take GPS coordinates, and how vital they are to produce detailed maps. Next time I come across a damaged bridge, or an interrupted road, I will know that there is something I can do to help colleagues in their daily duties and that my GPS and road assessment skills will make a difference. The information I share can be used to study alternative roads and to quickly initiate repairs. The humanitarian aid we transport will arrive to its destination”. Fabrice is already working on the next training; following participants’ positive feedback, he’s developing a new module that includes more hands-on exercises that will be useful to train more logistics and security staff from different organisations.



Fabrice showing how to setup the GPS handset during the outdoor drill, Erbil

Participants included staff from ACF France, CARE, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Japan Emergency NGOs (JEN), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Malteser International, Médecins du Monde, MSF Switzerland, MSF France, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children, Triangle Génération Humanitaire, UNFPA, WFP, Un Ponte Per and World Vision International.