South Sudan Deployment : Mapping the Story

On July 4th  the Standby Task Force was activated in partnership with UN OCHA’s Coordinated Assessment Support Section. The purpose of the deployment was to collect secondary data for South Sudan to help build a better picture of on the ground conditions for OCHA’s assessment team, who would then build on this information once in country. SBTF was deployed because digital volunteers can collect a lot of information quickly – and help fill the initial gap in data, which for South Sudan was pretty big ( see image below)

Over 15,271 records were collected over 3 days by dedicated volunteers. The bulk of the information was found by searching the internet for reports, articles and existing datasets South Sudan. We collected data on population, displacement, returnees, refugees, security incidents, schools, water sources, health facilities and economic constraints.

Our next step is to create stories out of these themes. We are asking questions like What can these data tell us about the situation in South Sudan? What visualization methods are best suited to illustrate these stories?

We’ve experimented with cartograms and aggregation maps but maybe we need to think about using dashboards or setting up interactive maps where users can query, analyze, and contribute to how these stories are curated?

The work we’ve done so far is displayed here using the ArcGIS online Map Gallery Template.

The great thing about this deployment is it covers the full spectrum of GIS – from data collection to analysis and visualization. It challenges us to adapt existing or develop new data models and think of ways to effectively tell a very complex story.

If anyone would like to help develop these stories, share ideas, or experiences please email me at – I would love to hear from you.

Keera P.

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