The UN-SPIDER programme aims at providing universal access to all countries and all relevant international and regional organizations to all types of space-based information and services relevant to Disaster risk management and emergency response to support the full disaster management cycle. In the framework of this mandate UN-SPIDER also supports and conducts research projects that look at specific elements of the use of space-based information for risk and disaster management.
The UNOOSA RIVAF project "Understanding Poverty Assessment through Disaster Impacts" has the objective of pointing out the recent Global Economic Crisis (GEC) effects on relationships between livelihood, poverty, and Vulnerability to natural disasters. It furthermore aims at understanding how natural disaster impacts are potential indicators of GEC impacts on the poor and vulnerable. The Rapid Impact and Vulnerability Analysis Fund (RIVAF) is part of the Global Pulse Initiative, which was launched by the Secretary General of the United Nations in 2009. Under the umbrella of RIVAF, a series of studies and research projects were undertaken by different UN agencies, looking at how the Global Economic Crisis has affected a variety of different sectors across the globe.
The aim of this project is to produce a publication to give evidence of the economic, humanitarian and organizational benefits which can be realized by applying geoinformation to disaster management, based on analyses of representative cases, and on an expert stakeholder assessment. It continues the efforts of the 2009 publication "Geoinformation for Disaster and Risk Management – Examples and Best Practices" that was jointly produced by the Joint Board of Geospatial Information Societies (JBGIS) and UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER. The second publication would further help to raise awareness in the political and programmatic environment and to set priorities in research and development.
In recent years, the United Sates Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) and UN-SPIDER have carried out efforts to promote the use of geo-information technologies and space-based information to contribute to the improvement of capabilities of national emergency committees or commissions, and national civil defense or civil protection entities with regards to disaster response. In 2013, USSOUTHCOM’s Science, Technology and Experimentation Division spearheaded the development of the GeoSHAPE tool with the goal of facilitating the shared generation of geospatial information among all involved in disaster response operations. This project combines a mobile application for the collection of data and photographs of affected areas using smart phones and tablets, and a web-based application that allows combining, publishing, and distributing geo-spatial information among all actors.