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Ordnance Survey is helping to support the reconstruction efforts in Sri Lanka after the recent tsunami disaster. Britain’s national mapping agency has shipped eight highly specialist GPS receivers to map out the worst hit areas and collect information useful for rebuilding and construction work.
The technology, which is in extremely short supply, will be used to speed up the necessary resurveying work – vital to the difficult process of restoring the region. Four of the receivers are capable of sub-metre accuracy; the other four are of geodetic quality and are suitable for the highest precision tasks.
Together, this equipment will be of immediate and invaluable use in disaster-stricken areas. Ordnance Survey’s Director of Data Collection and Management, Neil Ackroyd, says: “In the aftermath of such an unprecedented disaster, there is certainly a role for geographic information to play in supporting reconstruction efforts. The GPS equipment will be immediately deployed to help establish the mapping infrastructure that will be an essential part of the rebuilding of so many devastated communities.” The offer of GPS receivers builds upon the work of Toby Wicks, GIS expert at Ordnance Survey, who flew to Sri Lanka after the tsunami. He put his skills to use for the UK-based international charity, MapAction <http://www.mapaction.org/>, supporting UN relief efforts. Toby helped develop a regional framework for management and coordination of aid as well as establishing a national GIS group. “I feel very privileged to have been part of MapAction’s response,” says Toby. “The need for spatial data and GIS was self-evident both for the immediate coordination of relief and for longer-term reconstruction.” Ordnance Survey has also contacted the national mapping organisations of ten other countries around the Indian Ocean to offer assistance.
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