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GISCorps volunteers tested an application for a non profit organization

The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) requested the assistance of several GISCorps volunteers for testing an application. GICHD, an international expert organization legally based in Switzerland as a non-profit foundation, works for the elimination of mines, explosive remnants of war and other explosive hazards, such as unsafe munitions stockpiles. The GICHD provides advice and capacity development support, undertakes applied research, disseminates knowledge and best practices and develops standards. The GICHD has 50 members of staff from many countries, funding from around 12 governments and others and visits around 70 countries per year, while working very closely with partner organizations to achieve its goals. The GICHD stays flexible in its response to needs, and to changes in its working context.

The GISCorps volunteers were involved in the beta-testing of the Multicriteria Analytical Scoring Tool (MASCOT) developed by the University of Geneva on the demand of the GICHD. The main objective of the tool is to score hazardous area for clearance based on geo-spatial data analysis, such as population, land use, infrastructure, water sources etc. The tool is integrated into ArcGIS and requires the ArcGIS 9.3.1 version and the Spatial Analyst extension. Originally designed for the mine action community, the tool may also be used in several other fields, such as health, transportation, land planning, tourism etc.

Figure 1: Volunteers used the MASCOT user guide in the QC process.

The developers finalized the first version of the tool in December 2011. The external testing resources were needed because of the lack of available GICHD staff resources and the necessity to test the tool in variable working environments. The GISCorps quickly assigned three highly qualified GIS volunteers to assist the GICHD in this important task.

Figure 2: Various components of the model was tested.

GISCorps volunteers deployed to this project were: Benjamin Koziol from Michigan, Curtis Day from Oregon, and Robert Cheetham from Pennsylvania. They did an excellent job in testing of the MASCOT tool which took one month. Several important bugs were reported and numerous suggestions of improvements were given by the volunteers. All reported comments were taken into account and permitted to continue the development work. The next stage of the project will be testing the application in a mine affected country before the final deployment of the MASCOT scoring tool.

Figure 3: Errors were found and reported to GICHD team.

The GICHD highly appreciates the work done by the GISCorps and volunteersí dedication and looks forward to further collaboration.