Mapping Sanitation Facilities in Bangladesh

SHARE (Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity) is a consortium of five organizations that have come together to generate rigorous and relevant research for use in the field of sanitation and hygiene. SHARE is a five year initiative (2010-2015) funded by the UK Department for International Development (shareresearch.org). An objective of SHARE is to both synthesize existing knowledge and to generate new knowledge for improved policy and practice.

In April 2012, Joseph Pearce and Sue Cavill, of SHARE’s partner WaterAid, were in Bangladesh to pilot the SHARE-funded Sanitation Mapper – an online tool to map sanitation facilities. The tool was designed to provide both area-based mapping and point-based mapping in efforts to provide useful information that could impact decision-making, planning, and the overall understanding of access to sanitation in particular areas of interest. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology has offered individuals with a mechanism for better understanding and addressing pressing issues and need. The pilot Sanitation Mapper offers a way for managers and planners to better understand where increased access to sanitation is needed.

To read more about the April 2012 Bangladesh pilot project, check out Mapping Sanitation Facilities in Bangladesh.

Pearce and Cavill have since then conducted further testing and training of the Sanitation Mapper in Tanzania in June 2012.

Lisa MacCarrigan, Research Assistant, Vertices, gis@vertices.com

GIS Techniques to Track Soldier Health

The U.S. Army Public Health Command’s G-6 Directorate of Information Management/Information Technology has a small team of geographers who use maps to tell detailed stories. By taking data with spatial components and applying geographic information systems techniques- relationships, patterns, and trends can become revealed in a variety of visual formats.

Shannon Lowe, one of the three geographers with the GIS team said, “A geographic information system is a technique that integrates hardware, software and data to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of geographically referenced data” (Hawaii Army Weekly).

During the first Gulf War, GIS technology was used to capture, manage, analyze, model and display data that tracked smoke and particulates from the Kuwait oil well fires. This information was linked to the locations and movements of Soldiers and units to determine exposures and possible health risks.

Tracking smoke particulates from fires and linking this information to the health and geographic locations of soldiers is just one way that GIS technology has been used to understand health in relationship to environmental exposures. The advancements of GIS over the years has enhanced the capabilities of its applications and arenas in which is can be used. All in all, GIS has provided individuals with invaluable tools for looking at data, interpreting it, and finding accurate answers to questions that were more difficult to answer prior.

Read the original article published by Hawaii Army Weekly.

Lisa MacCarrigan, Research Assistant, Vertices, gis@vertices.com

UK flood warning map: Delivering Up-To-Date Information

The UK Environment Agency provides data from its many nationwide monitoring stations that issue flood warnings and alerts. All of the most recent alerts (within 15 minutes) are displayed on an interactive map, alerting citizens of potential hazards while additionally offering them a custom alert function that sends warnings right to their Facebook accounts if there is a flood warning near home or a place of work.

To learn more about this mapping initiative, check out the full article here.

Lisa MacCarrigan, Research Assistant, Vertices, gis@vertices.com