The 7th International Conference of Crisis Mappers (ICCM) makes it way first time in Asia in Manila, Philippines. The three days event (Sept 28-30, 2016) along with pre- (Sept 27, 2016) and post- (Oct 1-5, 2016 ) conference event.
ICCM is a platform for international experts working in (Disaster) Crisis Mitigation, Response and Management to come together to share the works that they have been doing, learning from others and collaborating and networking. The conference also holds Ignite Talks, Self Organised Sessions, Tech Fair, etc. among other routine talk and keynote presentation. Nevertheless, this is a unique opportunity for the mappers to gather around to discuss the world-leading ideas and discovering unique opportunities.
I was fortunate to have been awarded the fellowship by the ICCM committee. The fellowship included my travel as well as accommodation cost covered. And I was included in the ignite talk. Yaay 🙂
DAY 1: Welcome Reception – Wednesday, September 28 @ The Palace Pool Club (Pre-Conference Event)
The welcome reception at the Palace Pool Club was mostly about networking and Technical Stall Fair. The stall was showcased by UN-OCHA (United Nations – Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), OSM (OpenStreetMap) Philippines, Code4SouthAfrica, Mapillary, etc. The presenters showcased various desktop and mobile apps for Information Management, Visualization, Reporting, Data Collection, Mapping, etc.
After the dinner and some chats, we decided to sneak into The Brewery at the Palace which served us different in-house brewed beer.
DAY 2: Main Plenary – Thursday, September 29 @ Bayanihan Center
The main plenary was at the Bayanihan Center which started around 8 am, where I got to meet many people in faces, that was in the email, and/or internet. I also meet the fellow speaker for the ignite talk. More excited and little nervous, this is how my day started.
Making All Voices Count Panel: Mapping for Community Resilience and Open Governance
The first panel was led by Celina Agaton (MapPH), JD Bothma (Code4SouthAfrica), Kate Chapman (Cadasta/OSM), Czarine Medina-Guce (ULAP), Declan Ottaro (MAVC) and Pim de Witte (Map Swipe). The main theme for the panel was Mapping for Community Resilience and Open Governance. The speaker talked about their experience and presented some good practices of successfully involving the community for disaster resilience.
Map Swipe was interesting to know how they were able to involve thousands of volunteer to map millions of tiles. The age didn’t matter as the game-type-app was able to attract people from as much as 8 years to older people. Code4SouthAfrica talked about how they are deploying open governance tools and themes across various places in Africa.
The panel was followed by the Ignite talk. The speaker with the topic can be viewed here. I was fortunate to have been included in the list. It was a huge opportunity for me to present especially in front of so intellectual audience. I planned to present on the project that I was doing with Asian Institute of Technology and Sahana Software Foundation, namely – “The role of Sahana Alerting and Messaging Broker (SAMBRO) as cross-agency situational-awareness platform for Disaster Risk Management“. Super excited to PRESENT…PRESENTING…and DONE :D. I hope all went well 😉
You can view my presentation here, thanks to ICCM.
Special Keynotes on Building Resilience followed by a moderated fireside chat and interactive Q&A
Dr. Nama Budhathoki (Kathmandu Living Labs) and Dr. Mahar Lagmay (Project NOAH ) were the major attraction for this session. Dr. Budhathoki talked about how KLL effectively used crisis mapping tool (Ushahidi) to cope with the Nepal Earthquake. Dr. Lagmay talked about different aspect under the Project NOAH and various tools that came out. He also talked about the importance of risk and other thematic maps during the early warning stage. He shared the bad risk map experience during the Typhoon Haiyan.
Thanks to both speaker for answering our curiosity during the interactive Q&A.
From Global to Local: How Organizations are Building Community Resilience Across Asia
Speakers in the talks were Hunter Goldman (Rockefeller Foundation), Angela Kabari (MAVC), Adin Mbuh (Hysteria Organisation), Andrew Schroeder (WeRobotics) and Erik Wetter (Flowminder). Speaker talked about how they have been using technology like OpenStreetMap, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), etc. to help for building a better community in the Asian Region. Andrew and his WeRobotics team did the post-earthquake UAV flight for the damage assessment purpose in Nepal. Adin described the art of engaging community for mapping and making them aware of the chaos situation during the disaster. The interesting was to hear about the mobility of people during the disaster using the mobile network data by Erik. Also about how the funding organizations have a mechanism and the specific.
The closing remarks by Celina ended the main session. It was such a fruitful day to learn so many new things, to know about how other people are thinking and what work they are doing and most of all networking. I couldn’t wait for the next day 😉
DAY 3: Self-Organized Sessions – Friday, September 30 @ Bayanihan Center
The schedule and the breakdown with the theme and presenter can be viewed here.
I attended the session by Luis Hernando Aguilar Ramirez on the topic “Ties between Citizen, Government and International Community in disasters: Are we doing all that can be done?”. It was an interactive session. We discussed how we could engage the public and the international community for the disaster response without actually causing any kind of trouble, discuss how VIT was able to lure in movie stars to engage more people, how the situation of affected people was getting worse even after months of Nepal Earthquake, and many more. Also, we discussed how people trying to help during crisis sometimes may be causing the problem to the affected people. It was amazing to listen to the experience of the veterans.
The other sessions that I attended were regarding Drone, MapBox and the Health. I feel that engaging the community and getting them to use the map in their day-to-day life or during a disaster if not map every day is a very challenging job. It requires you are willing to sacrifice your time for the betterment, and the more time you spend better you become. I have some experience of community mapping and engaging people during my time at KLL and I can say that working directly with people in the field is the best feeling that you will ever have. Don’t believe me? Give it a try and come back to me 😉
DAY 4: Saturday, October 1 — Field Visit A: Project NOAH & Philippines Red Cross
Project NOAH is one of the finest projects that every country especially developing countries should implement. It covers most of the aspect of the country in terms of disaster, community engagement, poverty, resilience, etc. Dr. Lagmay, who also gave special keynotes, is the Executive Director of Project NOAH. He presented on different tools and system that came out of Project NOAH. He shared his experience of how an incorrect map during Typhoon Haiyan caused more casualties as they move to the wrong place because of inaccurate hazard map.
Next stop was the Philippines Red Cross. It was exciting for me as I had not seen Emergency Operation Center (EOC) before and Red Cross Office such organized. They had different units like EOC, Blood, Emergency, Fire, foreign Red Cross like German, Finns, France, etc. all under the same roof.
DAY 5: Sunday, October 2 — Field Visit B: Pusod Taal Lake Conservation Center
The Taal Volcano Protected Landscape is composed of over 65,000 hectares in 13 towns and 3 cities, including Lipa City, Tanauan City, and Tagaytay. The land is the risk for events like typhoon, flood, volcano, landslide. After having lunch at the Taal Lake Conservation Center, we did a little history of the place where they had a volcano last time. It has a 100 year return period and our guide told us that it’s around these decades 😀 :D. And then we went boating around the lake. It was stunning and so beautiful. We could see some people inland on the lake. This visit helped to understand the impact of the disease, nutrition and disaster risk in the resilience of communities.
The other three days, October 3-5 was the excursion to Palawan. But I had to return back to Bangkok.
In nutshell, it was a very good experience in terms of meeting new people, networking, listening to new ideas, having fun together and many more. I am hoping to continue to visit and present at such a conference.