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Making Sense of Humanitarian Data


Project Overview

One of the key challenges to achieve the goal of improving the life conditions for people who live in disadvantaged communities in low and middle-income countries is the lack of accurate and up-to-date spatial data about urban areas and vulnerable communities without access to basic services and in humanitarian need. Even if humanitarian NGOs may have access to several external data sources (e.g. socioeconomic data from national and international agencies), frequently the capacity to make sense of this data is limited when planning, delivering, monitoring and evaluating humanitarian interventions. This poses significant limitations of the effectiveness and impact of humanitarian work.

Following a series of discussions with several NGOs working in the Humanitarian sector we identified the following challenges related to the use of geospatial data:

1. Data quality
2. Geospatial methods
3. Data governance and sharing

Goals and Objectives

This project’s objective is to through organizing a workshop with geographic information officers, epidemiologists and other practitioners from humanitarian NGOs working to improve urban development, health and wellbeing in low and middle-income countries to:

a) Build common understanding and a collaboration platform among actors from several humanitarian NGOs and social scientists around the challenges of data quality, geospatial methods and governance

b) Distil best practices and define a collaborative research agenda to improve data, methods and governance of humanitarian geospatial data in order to maximise impact towards sustainable development goals.


Making Sense of Humanitarian Data is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's Impact Acceleration Account.

Project Partners

Institute for Global Sustainable Development

Uni of warwick

Medicins-sans-Frontiers/Doctors without Borders

MSF logo

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap


Bangladesh Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Operations Team