Friday, September 23, 2016

Doctors without borders (MSF) show Z_GIS products @ Ars Electronica 2016

Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders Austria showcased a wide range of innovative technological applications at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz from 8th to 12th September 2016.  A section of the former mail dispatch center at the main train station was turned into a make-shift field hospital. 

Displayed were the benefits of 3D printing for the production of prosthetics, and the use of drones for the rapid transport of tissue samples from the field to the lab to accelerate the diagnostics for tuberculosis. Virtual reality devices provided the visitors with a fully immersive impression of the work of MSF in crisis situations worldwide.

One of the prominent examples of new technologies displayed were the maps and services that leverage remote sensing technology for the humanitarian community, provided to MSF by Z_GIS. These maps of specific localities in crisis regions such as Nigeria, Syria and South Sudan provide much needed detailed information, for example on the extent and development of refugee camps and the estimated number of inhabitants – information, that can be difficult or too dangerous to gather on the ground.

Also, at the 10th Autumn Conference of the European Space Policy Institute recently held in Vienna representatives from international organizations, academia and industry discussed the growing relevance of space technologies in enabling sustainable development. EO4HumEn activities were highlighted in their supportive role for the operational work of MSF. The session also featured presentations from Simonetta di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, Mahama Ouedraogo, Head of Division, Human Resources, Science and Technology Department, at the African Union Commission, and Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation at ESA.

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