Workshop on the Use of Open-Source Software and Satellite Data in the Prevention of, and Response to, Disasters in Mesoamerica

When: Monday, May 19, 2014

to Friday, May 23, 2014

Where: Tonantzintla, Mexico

Secure World Foundation and its partners organized and held this workshop from 19-23 May in Tonantzintla, Mexico (near Puebla, SE of Mexico City). This was the second capacity-building effort in a year to reach out to Mesoamerican disaster management and crisis response officials and their technical staffs. Our goals were to 1) introduce prevention and disaster mitigation managers, and emergency / civil protection managers, to the additional assistance to be gained from using free or low cost Earth observations data and analytic tools in their work; 2) train analysts in the use of the free, open-source software, Q-GIS and TerraMA2, chosen because there is a substantial user-base for each of these powerful packages; and 3) foster the creation of an active network of disaster reduction experts in Mesoamerica. 

Some 27 individuals from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the United States, as well as from the regional centers, CATIE in Costa Rica and CATHALAC in Panama,  took part in the workshop. Presenters from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN SPIDER), and the World Meteorological Organization provided inputs virtually from their offices. Presentations from this workshop are available here: [Need to fill up the list]. During the Workshop, participants from Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico  developed a plan with short and long term goals to create the Mesoamerican Open Source Disaster Activities (MOSDA) group, a working group for creating and spreading the use of geospatial information for Mesoamerican disaster planning and development. Thus, not only did workshop participants head home with new tools and information to assist their work, but they also resolved to carry their new knowledge into the wider Mesoamerican community.

Last updated on June 2, 2014