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Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, disease outbreaks, conflict. All of these types of crises have benefitted from humanitarian mapping during the last ten years. Advances in open source GIS software, open data, volunteered geographic information, and social networks allow individuals and groups to participate in humanitarian crisis response on the ground and at home. Information communication technology such as smartphones/tablets, GPS units, drones, cellular networks, and ultraportable laptops allow responders to map data in the field and immediately share it with others. Those responders willing to help from afar may use tools such as OpenStreetMap, Quantum GIS, the Ushaidi Platform, Epi Info, or Google Crisis Response to map critical infrastructure. These data can be accessed by field responders in real-time to facilitate and coordinate humanitarian response.

As part of the University of Minnesota’s Humanitarian Crisis Simulation held on May 17-19, 2019, there will be a GIS team embedded in the simulation to support the data needs of the participants. Students will be immersed in a fast paced environment and need to provide maps, spatial analysis, and disseminate information.  Students do not need experience with humanitarian response work, but should have basic GIS skills. Students will need to register for PubH 6290 (1 credit) and pay associated course fees. For more information about the GIS component of the simulation, contact Len Kne (lenkne@umn.edu).