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GDEST 2008 Conference Sessions 

Theme 2 - Analysis of Regional Challenges
The Use of Geospatial Technology to Survey Urban Internally Displaced Persons
Patrick Florance, Tufts University, USA

In an effort to facilitate the development of better quality information on urban IDP populations in conflict-affected countries, IDMC commissioned a study of three urban locations: Khartoum (Sudan), Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and Santa Marta (Colombia). The primary objective is to gather reliable data on urban IDP populations to find out more about their social and economic integration and their assistance and projection needs. The research project will generate recommendations which will feed into a broader effort to engage humanitarian actors in improving operational activities targeting IDPs in urban environments.
A variety of geospatial technologies such as GIS, maps, spatial statistics, remote sensing, virtual globes (Google Earth), and GPS were employed to facilitate the operation and management of the urban surveys. The integration of these geospatial technologies proved vital in conducting the surveys and in allowing the information to be used in a meaningful way to researchers. The integration of these methods also revealed several key issues in the use of geospatial technologies for humanitarian assistance such as the need for improvements in: spatial data infrastructure, approaches to data modeling, education and training regarding spatial information literacy, and incorporation of geospatial technology and techniques in the initial budgeting and planning stages.
The project is managed by Feinstein International Center at Tufts University with regular inputs and assistance from the Tufts GIS Center, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), and the Norwegian Refugee Committee (NRC).