The Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) plays a central role for disaster risk management and emergency operations. RRD is responsible for disseminating information on natural disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, awareness raising and capacity building activities. RRD is also responsible for coordinating relief and rehabilitating operations undertaken by UN agencies and NGOs.
In recent years, Myanmar focused on efforts on disaster-risk reduction. The Myanmar Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction (MAPDRR) lists a large number of activities which require up-to-date hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments derived from space applications and ground-based data.
Considerable base-line data/maps are available with various Ministries and Departments of the Myanmar Government. However, the mission also took note of a coordination gap that exists among government agencies in the context of both disaster-risk reduction and emergency response efforts. In addition, compartmentalization of data with various Departments and Ministries is major constraint that needs to be addressed.
In the context of access to and use of space-based information, the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), the Forest Department, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Remote sensing department of the Mandalay Technological University have the best capacity. The DMH routinely accesses data from meteorological satellites. The Forest Department carries out landuse and landcover mapping of the entire country. The remote sensing archives in the department include Landsat and LISS II coverage. The most recently added imagery to the archive are the IRS LISS III images of the entire country acquired in 2010. Besides, DMH has procured QuickBird, IKONOS and ALOS images of specific areas. NOAA images are regularly used to monitor forest fire. However other government agencies lack the capacity to use space-based information or maps obtained from other sources such as the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters and Sentinel Asia.
There are no national standards regarding Geographical Information Systems. However, the Forest Department has developed its own standards for internal use and follows the Metadata standards provided by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
The mission took note of the gap that exists in making spatial data (baseline data, thematic mapping, infrastructure atlas etc.) available to Ministries. As a result, every Ministry or Department has to create its own GIS database based on the paper maps purchased from the Survey Department. This creates challenges in data sharing as data standards and formats do not match and many organizations carry out a duplication of efforts. The mission therefore took note of the fact that different organizations are working with different standards when it comes to geospatial data and information.