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Posted by on Dec 28, 2013 in Information Management, What's new | 0 comments

Information management in the Humanitarian sector

Information management in the Humanitarian sector

If you are reading this article, there is a fair chance that you know what Information Management is and what it is useful for, and even more so concerning geographical IM. We are all agreed that, technically speaking, having a decent IM strategy means that you facilitate:

  • Data capture,  with a proper data structure and model for a consistent database,

  • Proper storage and classification, with metadata specifying the data’s quality, sources, and a temporal dimension that helps understand the data on the long run,

  • Dissemination inside and outside the organization, with data that explains itself.

However, it’s not all about technology. It helps, but none of these aspects click together if there is no strong coordination and a centrally decided governance to help fashion it properly. The key question is how you manage to set up the strategy, which depends of course on the size and type of your organization, but with some undergoing rules:

  • Make sure that all actors are committed to the strategy, with a proper change management focus.

  • Show the different users the benefits that it will bring them, depending on their profiles. They must gain an appreciation of the importance of the approach to become part of it.

  • Have user-friendly tools to capture, analyze and disseminate information, that ensures positive user experience.

This will be a win-win approach for organizations and individuals that are part of these organizations. But, more than that, it is also a first step towards a more coordinated approach at another scale, that of the humanitarian world- as the data’s quality improves, there will be a natural incentive to share it more widely, as well as to build it together.

This will be a real improvement, for the following reasons:

  • TdH-BFA-2013As more actors get involved in the data, it will improve its accuracy at a given moment, reduce unnecessary data (noise) and ensure that it is ready-to-use in maps and reports, therefore making the information created more effective.

  • Having more actors involved associated to a real metadata policy will also improve the data’s life expectancy, taking into account not just the post-crisis emergency mapping but also the rebuilding, mitigation and awareness arousal to reduce future risks.

  • In such situations, the data can also become an extra link between organizations in the field that can encourage them to exchange more frequently and coordinate their action for better efficiency. It can also help avoid duplication of efforts in data capture.

  • It will also help channel the initiatives towards the essential goals, making the initiative ever more human and relevant to the situation.


This article have been published originally in CartONG’s December 2013 newsletter.

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The content of the CartoBlog was transferred to the Information Management Resource Portal in May 2021:

Please note that the CartoBlog will be decommissioned in early 2022. From now on, we warmly encourage you to consult the tutorials, benchmarking studies and other resources directly onto the new portal.

Thank you!

🚚 📦 On déménage !

Le contenu du CartoBlog a été transféré sur l’IM Resource Portal en mai 2021 :

Veuillez noter que le CartoBlog sera désactivé au début de l’année 2022. Nous vous invitons, dès à présent, à prendre l’habitude de consulter les tutoriels, benchmarkings et autres ressources directement sur le nouveau portail.

Merci !