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© UNHCR/G.Amarasinghe

The World's Our Stage

Maps are vital to UNHCR's operations around the world. For example, they can depict, accurately and one-dimensionally, the location of a forcibly displaced population or the location, lay-out and infrastructure of a refugee camp. They can also show the environmental impact that camps have on surrounding areas. This kind of easy to digest pictorial information is invaluable for staff.

UNHCR's Field Information and Coordination Support Section (FICSS) is kept busy all year meeting the in-house demand for the latest geographic information and a wide range of cartographic products. The section uses a variety of tools, including archives, satellite imagery, global positioning systems and computer technology, especially Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to produce the materials required by staff in headquarters and the field to help them do their daily job and plan ahead.

The FICS experts use the GIS software and our databases to analyze and display information with geographic dimensions. Available in portable document format, or PDF, these maps show the global presence of UNHCR and are categorized by country or region.

The UN refuge agency allows use of these maps by governments and other partners, academics, the media and the general public so long as UNHCR is credited and the maps are not altered in any way.

UNHCR is developing a Geoportal which will allow access to public geographic information and also facilitate data exchange through the Internet. The system is expected to be on-line in the second half of 2009.




UNHCR and Google Earth

Putting refugees on the map.