UNOSAT/Esri Conference Considers Role of GIS in Disaster Preparedness

4 April 2012: Participants attending the “GIS for the United Nations and the International Community” conference considered the role of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in reducing disaster risk and addressing global challenges, such as climate change.

The conference, which was organized by the Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Esri, took place from 3-4 April 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference aimed to raise awareness of the potential for cooperation among GIS professionals to address global issues such as disasters, climate change and humanitarian assistance.

Discussions focused on promoting the use of GIS and spatial analysis for missions undertaken by the UN, the humanitarian and human rights communities, and the international community. During the conference, participants gathered in three breakout sessions focusing on: disaster and emergency planning, preparedness and prevention; response and recovery; and transition to development planning. In addition, during a post-conference workshop, participants heard presentations on how organizations can collaborate online to create and share mission-focused maps using Esri's ArcGIS Online cloud solution. [UNITAR Press Release] [Conference Website]