Making a Difference Awards

Jack Dangermond presents the Making a Difference Award to Haru Hyashi from the Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems at Kyoto University, and to Daniel Eriksson, Head of Information Management at the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.

Jul 11th, 2011

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00:01To begin with, we're going to give two special awards.

00:03We give these awards every year; they're called Making a Difference Award.

00:09The first one is to a gentleman who can't be here today, but he's going to be with us by video.

00:14His name is Haruo Hayashi. In Japan.

00:20He's with the Center for Disaster Reduction Systems at Kyoto University.

00:25He's an amazing guy.

00:27He's worked for decades in disaster response, and when the big quake happened a couple of months ago…

00:37…although he's an academic and a researcher, he mobilized a team of him and his students into action…

00:45…to create maps and do what I'd call heroic work.

00:50They made maps for the prime minister's office, they gave situation awareness, they worked on disaster response work…

00:58…and damage assessment, all of the different life cycle of what we would call disaster response.

01:06And I would call him a hero.

01:11When I was checking that word out, it was sort of interesting word.

01:15The distinction between a normal person and a hero is not much, actually.

01:21But the distinction is very important; it's a person who actually takes action, and this is a guy who takes action.

01:28He moves out of his normal realm and did some wonderful efforts.

01:33I'd like to show a brief video so that you understand who this guy is and acknowledge him in the right way.

01:39So could we see that video please?

01:43The point we really wanted to make by our project was to develop the disaster information system…

01:56…which can be used for both prior risk assessment as well as the postevent response and recovery.

02:07So this is a matter of course, but because of a long history of Japanese emergency management…

02:17…this basic fact had been relatively neglected.

02:22And then this award help to make a big difference in the future of the Japanese emergency management…

02:33…to have more integrated emergency management disaster information system…

02:40…which can be used for risk assessment at the normal time.

02:47This is a result of long-lasting relationship with the Esri group, and I really appreciate all the help we received.

03:01And then we hope to continue making more differences in the future.

03:06I do hope that no further disaster will happen, but if it happens, we'll do it again.

03:16Thank you.

03:19Great. The second Making a Difference Award is to an organization called the…

03:30…Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining.

03:35A couple months ago, I was in Geneva, and I visited this operation, and they're doing also heroic work by any measure.

03:47These are people that go out and crawl around and demine minefields.

03:53They risk their lives, and there's a GIS component to this.

03:59This is an organization that facilitates demining and, frankly, saves tens of thousands of people's lives every year.

04:08And GIS has made a huge contribution in that respect.

04:12Beyond the 10,000 or 20,000 lives it saves, it also saves hundreds of thousands of kids and other people…

04:20…from getting blown up and having a horrific life for the rest of their life.

04:26When I was in Geneva, I was visiting with these people, specifically, Daniel Eriksson…

04:32…who you're going to meet in just a moment, and he was showing me how the system works and how they target areas…

04:38…and go in and do all of this work, and then we were looking at the information system, which records all the events.

04:44And it all got very real for me.

04:50Hard to talk about.

04:53Well, Daniel's going to come out and share a little bit about this.

05:00What I wanted to say was, I was looking at this form; it's just like a normal little form.

05:04This was of a person that was blown up in Afghanistan.

05:08It was a little kid called Muhammed, and he got his legs blown off, and I thought, agh.

05:14He's still alive; last… It was November, wasn't it?


05:19And it's just like, agh.

05:20Looking at the record, seeing it, and then seeing the kind of work that you do, Daniel.

05:25Daniel is also a hero of mine; he's climbed around those areas and done demining himself, personally.

05:32Then he got GIS; he came back and he set up this facility.

05:39Thank you.

05:40Thank you. You going to talk a little bit?

05:42Yes, if I may. Thank you.

05:48So, as Jack mentioned, I did demining, and that was about 15 years ago, a little bit more…

05:55…that I started out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, shortly after the conflict there.

06:01And as some of you might remember, at that point in time, the experts in the world said it would be many decades…

06:09…if not centuries, to rid the world of the problem that the land mines caused.

06:16And this was at the same time as we knew that the land mines were causing harm to society.

06:25People were losing limbs, losing lives, as a consequence of them.

06:29But we simply didn't understand the geospatial nature of the problem.

06:34We didn't understand where land mines were, or where they were not.

06:40After all, land mines, it's not like HIV, it's not like we don't know the cure.

06:45The cure is to stop new mines getting into the ground and to get those who are in the ground out of the ground.

06:52And you can see it is a geospatial optimization problem.

06:55How do we go about ensuring that the most dangerous mines get out first…

07:01…and how can we use our tools and resources that we have available, in terms of machines and dogs and deminers…

07:06…the most efficient way?

07:10It's looking good.

07:11More and more countries are actually declaring themselves mine free.

07:15Casualty statistics are on the decline, even though as Jack said, there's still people being injured.

07:22None of this would have been possible without the support of several actors.

07:28Of course Esri, and I would like to highlight the role of the global team and in my village and I…

07:33…as well as the government of Switzerland, who paid the bill for most of our work.

07:39But it's a team effort; it's a team in Geneva, an awesome team that I work with.

07:44There's also those who use the system; the system is currently used in 57 countries.

07:50We have more than 1,000 installations.

07:54And some of the users are actually here today.

07:59And I would also like to mention our software developers, FGM Incorporated…

08:05…who helped us to develop this system the way it has grown to be.

08:15The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining responded to this initial problem 15-plus years ago…

08:23…by deciding to develop a standardized information system that listened to the specific needs of the demining organizations…

08:32…around the globe.

08:33And one of those needs were to develop a system that allowed for organizations and individuals…

08:39…with very limited computer literacy to gradually grow and adopt functionalities…

08:46…geospatial and other types of analytical functionalities, that would allow them to do better work.

08:53So now when I'm standing here, it might sound like I'm giving a bit of a rosy picture of reality…

09:00…but as I said earlier on, people are still being maimed and killed around the world.

09:05Less so by land mines, but more so by the explosive remnants of war like cluster munitions and so forth…

09:10…like is being exemplified in Libya right now.

09:13These people need the support from the GIS community, from people like you here today.

09:19There's a lot to be done.

09:21I'm convinced that we have only scratched the surface of what is possible to be done with the use of GIS in humanitarian aid.

09:30I see, as been highlighted this morning, I see the future in collaboration.

09:34We have to work closer together to get a shared understanding.

09:38We have to share our lessons learned, and specifically for the humanitarian community, we need to share our tools.

09:45And I invite you all to come see us in our booth in the Environmental exhibit as of tomorrow.

09:54And once again, I would like to thank Jack for this award.

09:58Thank you very much.

10:00Thank you very much.

10:01Thank you.

10:02Please take it.

10:03Thank you.

10:04You bet. Okay. A real hero. Normal person, but acts. I like that.

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