The aim of Information management (IM) in the Mine Action world is to supply decision makers with appropriate information on which to base their decisions. This is closely linked to the concept of evidence-based decision making in quality management (QM). IM involves the collection, analysis and timely provision of information to all mine action stakeholders, based on their continually specified requirements.
To be effective, IM requires the close collaboration of all parties in mine action. Effective IM makes programme achievements more measurable and easier to manage, and management more transparent and accountable. It enables monitoring, evaluation and the adoption of QM systems. Ineffective IM forces decisions to be made in ignorance and based on intuition rather than evidence. In turn, this opens the door for corruption and inefficiency.
The GICHD aims to continuously improve IM by providing tools and methods for the broader mine action community in order to ensure that mine action actors are able to effectively leverage information towards more efficient strategic and operational decision-making. One of these tools is the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA).
IMSMA was first developed in 1999 and has represented a cornerstone of GICHD’s support to the mine action community ever since. IMSMA was designed specifically to fill a gap in available technical solutions for capturing mine action information and its requirements, at a time when Information Management was heavily underutilized in the sector.
IMSMA’s first generation (now known as IMSMA Legacy) was built in the late 1990ies. A fundamental redesigned was carried out in 2003, leading up to IMSMANG – new generation.
Between 2003 and 2013, IMSMA NG went through a number of upgrades while retaining a consistent technical architecture and user interface.
IMSMA V6.0, launched in 2014, retained much of IMSMA NG ‘look-and-feel’ while upgrading its core technological components and adding significant new functionalities (updated terminology, vastly extended functionality for Victim Assistance, online interactive manuals (IMSMA Wiki), a simplified reporting approach, and a web-based indicator monitoring tool (the Mine Action INTelligence Tool – MINT). Designed with flexibility and usability at heart, IMSMA is very adaptable and can be continuously customised by individual programmes to suit their evolving IM needs.
More on IMSMA at http://mwiki.gichd.org.
In January 2015, the GICHD initiated a new development cycle. This provided the opportunity to set new goals for IMSMA, both in relation to maintaining regular IMSMA updates and addressing evolving and emerging requirements. IMSMA is a system of tools. Through this next development cycle, the IMSMA concept will be developed so that these tools becoming increasingly interrelated and operate together to provide the mine action sector with sound information management. They will be developed both by the GICHD and by external partners.
There are four overreaching objectives for IMSMA as a system of tools and standards:
This new component is currently in development: it will be a streamlined version of the current IMSMA that focuses on robust data validation and storage and allows for the standardised exchange of functionality and data between the other specialised tools in the system.
Existing IMSMA tools, such as mobile data collection (IMSMA mobile), spatial analysis (IMSMA Geoservices) and reporting (IMSMA MINT), will continue to be maintained and modified. Third-party applications will be developed according to the specifications of IMSMA Core and will have the capacity to share their information with the preexisting tools. Many of these are already in development, either by the GICHD or its partners.