Project Lead(s): Abdo Shabah
Information plays a critical role in organizing rescue, relief and reconstruction work for all kinds of disasters.
Humanitarian organizations, both in acute and recovery phases, need more mobile and technology-resilient tools.
Also, for rapid modeling of newly designed structures (such as field hospitals, new mobile clinics or refugees and internally displaced populations (IDP) camps), there is need for a new way of thinking, using 3D site design and 3D site planning.
Geographical information systems-based spatial project management is difficult to conduct in disaster settings. It requires collaborative assessments, complex planning concepts and deep knowledge of needs, such as the Sphere standards (minimum standards in humanitarian response).
It also needs to be mobile, adaptive and usable, especially for complex rural and urban settings.
A solution to such challenges in a rapidly evolving and unstable environment would be rapid 3D geographical information systems (GIS) modeling.
Rapid 3D GIS modeling in disaster settings offers a flexible, interactive system for providing the best visual interpretation for the planning and decision-making process.
The HumanIT3D project initially focused on the usefulness of rapid 3D site planning in disaster response, including field hospitals, refugee and IDP camps, and in the recovery phase, allowing GIS planning of essential infrastructures.
This technology had been used previously in real time while building the Canadian Red Cross Field Hospital that was deployed to Haiti in December 2010, in response to the cholera epidemic.
The HumanIT3D project goal was to bring this innovation onto a mobile device, allowing collaboration and a decision aid in disconnected environments.
Since 3D mapping requires drone management for image acquisition, HumanIT3D evolved to integrate drone mission planning as an integral component.
Field assessments in controlled environments (simulations, large sports events) confirmed the potential of the project, and further real-life assessments are planned in an international context (in Haiti, for the presidential election second tour).
Discussions were held with the Canadian Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to enhance awareness about the need for robust information technologies for humanitarian work.
The project team plans to apply for Phase II Transition To Scale funding to release the first version of the HumanIT3D product for testing to different NGOs, military groups, Homeland Security and private security organizations.
This would involve developing a marketing strategy and securing distribution channels through different suppliers for the humanitarian, military and civil world.