The purpose of survey activities is to collect evidence to support efficient and reliable decision making about where hazards are present and where they are not. All survey methods and techniques need to be appropriately matched to the local circumstances and conditions, the nature of the contamination and the purposes for which data/information will be used.

In the updated Land Release IMAS series, there is a greater emphasis on finding the best sources of information and on identifying evidence to improve operational decisions and efficiency. High quality and continuous non-technical survey activities:

•    better define when technical survey or clearance should start

•    support decision-making when operations are underway

Where possible, a dynamic approach should be taken, with survey and clearance plans being changed and updated as better information becomes available.

Non-technical survey should be conducted by trained, competent and where possible gender-balanced staff who are able to gather and critically analyse information from a broad range of stakeholders, including males and females, in affected communities. Staff should also be skilled in mapping hazardous areas as accurately as possible.

Work should be planned based on up-to-date information and maps of suspected or confirmed hazardous areas should be amended when new information warrants this action. Where appropriate, technical survey should be used to continue this process to gather better information and limit instances where hazardous areas are unnecessarily exposed to full clearance.

Survey is a key focus of the GICHD’s broader operational efficiency and land release activities. The GICHD carries out studies on up-to-date best practice for survey with a global scope. It then communicates this information to national authorities and partners through training and outreach activities. The GICHD also conducts training courses specific to regions and countries.

In addition to in-country support, the GICHD also provides remote support. This could include assistance with training materials, methodology or standard operation procedures.