For 20 years, the GICHD and Esri have been working together to bring geographic information systems (GIS) to mine action in order to facilitate the efficient clearance of explosive ordnance from contaminated land. To clear landmines and other explosive remnants of war, we need to know where the hazards lie. By gathering and then mapping data of explosive hazards, it is easier to target and prioritise resources.
Using Esri's powerful GIS tools, this work of mapping and prioritisation is greatly enabled. On 8 July, GICHD Director Toscano and Olivier Cottray, GICHD Head of Information Management, took centre stage in front of nearly 15'000 people at the annual Esri User Conference to explain mine action, how it uses GIS and propose the concept of "GIS for Peace".
In his keynote address, Ambassador Toscano emphasized:
"GIS gives us a common language to talk about space. No matter what we speak or where we come from, we all share the visual language of maps. Maps allow us to see multiple perspectives at once and, ultimately, to share space in a manner that benefits all. Here's what I'm saying: peace is not about the absence of conflict, peace is about the resolution of conflict in non-violent and collaborative ways. Every time we use GIS to solve a potential conflict over space we are, infact, contributing to peace. I like to call this GIS for Peace."