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<nettime> INFOACTIVISM: Giving relief that edge, via maps and GIS -- San
Frederick Noronha [फ़रेदरिक नोरोनया] on Wed, 4 Feb 2009 06:56:43 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> INFOACTIVISM: Giving relief that edge, via maps and GIS -- Sandra Sudhoff (France)

Giving relief that edge, via maps and GIS -- Sandra Sudhoff (France)

French NGO CartONG uses mapping and GIS. So what, you might ask. It's
goal is unusual: to offer info-management services to relief
organisations. It also uses geo-spacial data to manage displaced

At cartong.org, Sandra Sudhoff is the Information Manager. She's keen
on developing web mapping for advocacy.

Likewise, she's also spearheading an initiative called GeONG. It's
goal is to link diverse French humanitarian organisations in the
fields of GIS and mapping.

FN: Could you explain cartong.org in brief? It's history and current focus?

CartONG is a non-profit organization registered in France since Fall
2006 and based in Chambery.

[Chambéry (Italian: Ciamberì or Sciamberì) is the capital of the
department of Savoie, France. It has been the historical capital of
the Savoy region since the 13th century, when Amadeus V of Savoy made
it his seat of power.]

CartONG provides information management services and GIS to
humanitarian relief organizations. Its specialisation lies in using
geo-spatial data to manage displaced populations.

FN: Tell us about some of your projects?

Past projects have included:

Creation, management and roll-out of a Return Monitoring Database
Implementation of Google Web applications Assisting the Logcluster
with the management of field based information in an emergency context
And, of course, maps production, digital and hard-copy, for various
organizations. (References: UNHCR, UNJLC/LogCluster)

Most projects are field-based. Except for capacity building
interventions at the HQ level for technical staff as well as decision
makers within international organizations
(References: Solidarites, ACF) and map production for visibility
purpose on Global level (References: UNHCR Global Appeal Maps as well
as Google Earth Outreach)

FN: What drew you to South Asia for this
[http://www.informationactivism.org] camp?

So many cutting-edge and innovative people will be there; CartONG
hopes to learn from their experiences.

FN: Which of your work are you exceptionally proud of?

The production of the UNHCR Google Outreach layers; the district
brochure produced for Gulu/Amuru district in Uganda; the Uganda IDP
WebInfo online Google Map application.

[An August 2008 report says: Representatives of Google and the UN
refugee agency (UNHCR) have unveiled a powerful new online mapping
program that provides an up-close and multifaceted view of some of the
world's major displacement crises and the humanitarian efforts aimed
at helping the victims. See

FN: What is the main goal of your campaigns and your work?

Providing mapping services and information management for humanitarian
organizations. Our main partner is the UNHCR (United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees).

Our main objective is to enable organizations -- local governments too
-- to manage existing data and use it as baseline to plan their
interventions and monitor their progress and impact.

By "existing data" we refer to the local governments' own data, as
well as integrating from other available data sources. Thus, capacity
building is one of the key elements in a CartONG field based project
to ensure sustainability.

FN: How do you see your work empowering other campaigners?

The data collected and the tools developed will enable other
campaigners to bring a spatial dimension into their campaigns.
Geography and the spatial context matters.

FN: What's the biggest challenge you have with handling information?

Different file formats and [the need for] streamlining the type of
information collected, and how it is collected.

Often this results in a lot of [unnecessary] manual labour. This could
have be avoided if the participating parties had discussed the
prerequisites beforehand.

FN: What is your background? Why did you opt for this alternative field?

I am an engineer (Landscape Planning/Landscape Architecture) by way of
a first degree and completed a Masters in GIS and Remote Sensing.

Since writing my first thesis for the GTZ (German Technical
Cooperation, a development agency) and a Master Thesis for UNHCR, I've
been interested in the humanitarian and development field ever since.

FN: Why is your focus on lawyers? How do they respond (generally
speaking) when it comes to taking up new tools?

Most of the UNHCR staff (our main partner) have a legal background;
that is why we are focusing on them.

Taking up new tools really depends on the individual. But, generally
speaking, most could improve the visualisation of their campaigns for
the non-legal staff and campaigners and consequently have a bigger

CONTACTS: CartONG, 180, rue du Genevois, 73000 Chambery, France
s_sudhoff {AT} cartong.org +49 175 505 6413 (cell) +33 4 79 26 28 82
(CartONG office line).

MORE INTERVIEWS at http://www.informationactivism.org/blog
FN * http://fredericknoronha.wordpress.com
M: +91-9822122436 P: +91-832-2409490
Copylefted Goa books http://goa1556books.notlong.com/

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