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OFFICIAL TALKING POINTS ON

GDIN: THE GLOBAL DISASTER INFORMATION NETWORK

www.gdin.orggdincommunity@hotmail.com

 

What is GDIN?

  • A voluntary, independent, self-sustaining, non-profit association with an interest in facilitating the provision of the right information, in the right format, to the right people in time to make the right decisions. It is committed to assist disaster managers find the information they need, particularly when other means have failed, to develop unique information sharing procedures that augment the existing system, to foster the development of new disaster information technologies and to foster professional development.
  • GDIN is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charity under US Federal Tax law.
  • GDIN  encourages an active, collaborative association of experts from NGO’s, governments, International Organizations, industry and academia, and donor organizations

What is the web site address of GDIN?

What is the email address of GDIN?

What is main group of people GDIN wishes to help?

  • GDIN helps its members and disaster managers worldwide enhance their capacity to receive and use disaster information, generally through the more effective use of existing resources.
  • GDIN is most beneficial to disaster managers in areas where there is poverty, are few resources and limited access to technology.

What kind of disasters does GDIN focus on?

  • GDIN is available primarily to assist in any natural or technological disasters. It also can help in complex humanitarian emergencies; but it is politically neutral.

Why is GDIN Important/Special?

Finding who has the right information in the right format in a timely manner can be daunting for any disaster manager, especially during a crisis or in areas with few resources. GDIN intends to help by:

  • Offering a suite of services or one-stop center linking users with appropriate information provider.
  • Paying, on special occasions, for information when the disaster manager can’t.
  • Fostering the development of pilot projects.
  • Providing integration across disaster regions to share information quickly.
  • While many other organizations facilitate information sharing, GDIN’s collaborators come from all sectors and try to make sure that GDIN information fits the needs of each.

Does GDIN intend to be a primary funding source for disaster managers?

  • No; but GDIN does intend to offer specific services, based on the advice of its members, and to foster pilot projects and research.

Does GDIN Intend to replace the current suite of National, Private Sector, UN and Regional Operations Centers?

  • No. GDIN will develop a formal partnership that links established disaster information centers with private sector and government information providers so that the comparative advantage of each can be used to benefit the whole. This kind of global, multi-sectoral partnering does not now exist.
  • Through this linkage, which GDIN manages, GDIN will give additional strength to each element without controlling any of the parts.
  • GDIN is not a competitor with existing systems; it is an enhancing facilitator of the information these systems can provide.

Does GDIN focus solely on remotely sensed data?

  • GDIN tries to do is help disaster experts find information that they are otherwise hard pressed to locate, regardless of format.
  • GDIN has facilitated the development of fresh GIS products based on remote sensing for Vietnam, Mozambique and Turkey, but has also assisted others in finding maps on the internet, and more recently, developed textual reports on infectious diseases in Afghanistan and a well regarded paper on Anthrax. (see GDIN products under www.gdin.org)
  • In addition, GDIN sees as a distinct service its ability to convene meetings of experts from all sectors, sitting as equals around a single table. This allows for a unique cross-fertilization of ideas and professional growth.

Who has collaborated with GDIN?

  • Governments: Australia, Turkey, Italy, the United States, Canada, Russia, Mexico, Switzerland
  • IOs and NGOs: the UN, the EC and OECD, the American Red Cross, ADPC, ADRC
  • Academia: Iowa State University, Middle East Technical University
  • From the HQ Pacific Command: the Asia Pacific Area Network, the Center for Excellence, the Pacific Disaster Center and the Virtual Information Center
  • Industry: Space Imaging, SPOT Image, SAIC, ESRI

Mexico, Turkey and Australia contributed significant intellectual capital, and by sponsoring the annual GDIN conferences in 1999, 2000 and 2001, as well as other events provided in-kind financial support.  Without these intellectual and financial contributions, GDIN would not have prospered, as the conferences form the primary basis for defining GDIN’s mission. Italy made such a contribution in 2002 by sponsoring the annual conference in June. Switzerland also hosted a joint GDIN conference in 2006 in Davos, Switzerland and offered to host another in 2008.

Is GDIN an American Government Project?

  • No government owns GDIN.

The Office of the Vice President of the United States and the US Department of State did originate the idea in 1997, based on experiences with the G7 and the UN; but the international community quickly decided at the first GDIN Conference in Washington that GDIN would be an international project that operates in partnership with all sectors, and it is not owned by any one entity.  Various parts were incorporated over time until the entire effort finally was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charity under US tax law, making the entire effort completely independent.

Is GDIN an International Organization?

  • No. GDIN is an incorporated charity.

Who manages GDIN?

  • The Chief Executive Officer is the Executive Director.  before all parts of GDIN were incorporated, this person was elected by the annual or semi-annual conferences; but now is an employee of  the Corporation and reports to the Executive Committee. 
  • The current Executive Director is Larry Roeder..
  • The policy governance body of GDIN is the Executive Committee.
  • The Annual Conferences acts as a "shareholder conventions" in that participants can vote on what they believe should be the direction of the project. These recommendations are then considered by the Board of Directors.  This tool is used to make sure that GDIN is developed bottom-up, rather than top-down.

Who Pays for GDIN and how is the money spent?

  • Any entity or person can contribute to the GDIN Fund, which is incorporated as a 501(c )(3) under US law..
  • Services can be supported by direct cash contributions or in-kind contributions. 
  • Overall the Executive Director, the Executive Committee and the Fund Director, acting as a team, manage the policy on how money is spent.

Who Has Contributed to GDIN?

  • Private citizens have made contributions.
  • Host governments, and Conference participants have paid for GDIN Conferences.
  • The US Department of State contributed the services of the Executive Director and support staff from1997 until October, 2005.  The US Department of Commerce and AMTECH also covered much of the costs of the secretariat from 1997-2005.
  • The US Government also paid for a variety of GIS products delivered to Turkey, Mozambique and Vietnam, which were based on private and public data.
  • The European Commission hosted the Mediterranean Working Group.
  • Australia hosted the Asia-Pacific Working Group.
  • The firm SAIC, the United States Institute for Peace and elements of the executive branch of the US Government have jointly hosted the GDIN Infectious Disease Working Group.
  • The firm ESRI hosted the GIS/Remote Sensing Working Group, in partnership with the Cartographic staff of the UN High Commission for Refugees, and continues to provide expert advise.
  • Iowa State University in Ames Iowa contributed the chair of the Academia Working Group and the Pilot Project Working Group.
  • Many world-class experts have contributed to GDIN in their own right.
  • The United Nations has chaired or co-chaired a variety of GDIN Working Groups, and made a significant contribution towards advancing the Information Facilitator Working Group.

Who Can Join GDIN?

  • Any expert or expert body involved in disaster management. This could be an academic who researches the causes of earthquakes, a corporation that could provide satellite imagery or GIS products, a government officer who manages refugee camps, an NGO that focuses on medical treatment of displaced persons, etc.

Are there other GDIN related web sites?

Here is a partial list. It covers the web sites for the various official GDIN Conferences, as well as websites that mention GDIN; but www.gdin.org is the only official GDIN site.

  • The U.S. State Department maintains a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001 on http://www.state.gov/www/issues/relief/gdin.html. This contains information on the first International GDIN Conference, which was held in 1998 in Washington, DC, and some other conferences. There are also many old web sites that use GDIN to describe the US Domestic Program, now called the National Hazards Infrastructure Strategy.
  • Web sites containing Conference information:
  • ERIM International, Inc., hosted an industry symposium in support of the US and international GDIN programs on 9 October 2000 in Honolulu, Hawaii. That website is http://www.erim-int.com/CONF/GDIN/gdin.html. See also http://www.uni-freiburg.de/fireglobe/course/meeting/archive/meet00_15.htm
  • In September 2000, an exercise involving US-GDIN, GDIN-International and Russia took place. The web site for that exercise is at http://calder.ncsa.uiuc.edu/ACCESS/Events/Pics/2000-09-20_gdin/
  • NASA is developing a demonstration project called FIRE, and GDIN is a collaborating entity. We expect to see this project discussed at GDIN 2003. The web site is http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sge/UAVFiRE/links.html
  • Israel announced a National Disaster Information Network (GDIN Israel):
    http://www.gdin-international.org/news/gdin_news_0501.html
  • The GDIN pilot project known as PeaceWing is both on www.gdin.org and http://www1.etl.noaa.gov/radiom/peacewing/. See also http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/PAO/X-Press/1999/Oct29/frontfull1.html http://www.solaraircraft.com/HTML/06LINKS.HTML and http://dup.freeservers.com/_private/p15.htm