Google Earth as a geospatial tool for development organisations: mapping climate change vulnerability
Crossley, Janet Ruth
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Climate change is an increasingly important issue within the development sector, and yet actors within the sector are still unsure about how it will impact on their activities. Mapping offers a useful tool for presenting the complex information needed to represent the issue of vulnerability, and Google Earth allows for users to explore and understand even more information. This study draws examples from a mapping project of climate change vulnerability in Niger, and discusses the lessons to be learnt if Google Earth is to be a useful tool for improving understanding of climate change impacts on the development sector.Geographical Information Systems have not been as successful in the non-governmental humanitarian sector as GIS professionals had hoped. If geospatial tools are to become more widely used and valuable within the humanitarian sector, it is perhaps time for a new approach to be taken. A debate is currently underway about the potential role of Google Earth in emergency relief operations. This research extends the scope of this discussion into the wider development sector, and asks whether Google Earth has the potential to become a useful tool in various aspects of development NGO work. Information management tools need to have wide support within an organisation to be successful, and it seems that many are very interested in what can be done using compromise geospatial/geovisualisation tools such as Google Earth. However there is also scepticism about its usefulness. This research suggests practical applications and recommendations for good use so that actors within the development sector can take the research further.