Mobile tools for GDACS

GDACS on the move

In line with the strategy of GDACS to disseminate content on multiple channels in order to reach as many professional responders as possible, several mobile tools have been developed in the past years.

iGDACS is a mobile app that allows you to get the latest GDACS alerts and key statistics right on your iPhone or iPad. In addition, it allows you to provide feedback on GDACS events, which is - after moderation - communicated to the GDACS community ( This is available for all GDACS alerts, including Green alerts.

Note that this is an experimental service. All feedback is welcome (situation awareness, operational feedback, scientific observations, etc.) except for requests for assistance. GDACS will not respond to messages.



Fully operational crowd-source app dedicated to provide automatically geo-located photos and text messages designed to perform over both low and high bandwidths. The tools is available on iOS platform (iPhone) and Android. Simply scan the relevant QR code above to install the free app on your smartphone. By installing the free “UN-ASIGN”, users will have the possibility to take and upload photos with automatic inclusion of geographic coordinates and direction the photo was taken, accompanied with textual information if wanted, to a server hosted by UNOSAT at CERN. Individuals can then log onto the website,, to see their own photos and a map showing where these were taken. One can also request additional higher resolution versions of the photos, or subsets thereof, share and manage one’s collection as needed. The app is designed to work over low bandwidths as well as during off-line conditions. 

During major disasters, and when users have set their app to normal mode (as opposed to the default test-mode), UNITAR/UNOSAT will incorporate the feeds into its production cycle to both validate satellite image derived information such as flood extent, but also to create automatic feeds into operational coordination systems such as GDACS VirtualOSOCC, operated by UN OCHA. 

Read more about UN-ASIGN for iOS:

Read more about UN-ASIGN for Android:



The GDACSmobile project is a cooperation  of  the Information Systems Department of the University of Münster and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) set by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. The goal of the project is to create a mobile application (collectively  referred  to  as  "GDACSmobile")  for  information  exchange  and  coordination  support  in the first phase after a major sudden-onset disaster.

To  accomplish  this  goal,  GDACSmobile  will  be  implemented  for  a  selected  number  of  mobile platforms. The client will be supported by a server application which is responsible for data retrieval, storage  and  analysis  while  the  client  is  primarily  used  for  accessing  content  and  sharing/updating information.  In  this  context,  the  development  team  is  mainly  compromised  of  project  seminar participants  at  the  Chair  for  Information  Systems  and  Supply  Chain  Management  (University  of Münster)  while  professional  support  concerning  requirements,  preconditions  and  restrictions  is provided by the JRC.

The project was run from January to June 2012. The application is experimental and therefore not available on public App stores.

At the 2013 ISCRAM conference, University of Münster and JRC organized a Hands-on interdisciplinary Workshop “GDACSmobile” – Mobile Applications and Social Media in Crisis Management, where GDACSMobile and other technologies were compared.

Links and documents:

 Interoperability of Mobile Technology for Field Operations

Mobile assessment technology for field operations

Field assessment technology is mature in the sense that many different solutions exist, developed and maintained by private or public organisations. However, its use by emergency management organisations is not pervasive. The search for the ideal tool that meets all the user's (changing) needs can hamper a decision to adopt the technology.

Two issues are critical, and need a coordinated effort of technology providers and users:

  • Increase of efficiency. Many experiments, exercises and research projects have demonstrated the advantages of mobile assessment technology, including gains in time and accuracy for collecting data. Nevertheless, recent controlled experiments have shown that this does not necessarily lead to efficiency gains. Only an improved efficiency in the analysis of information and subsequent briefing summaries will convince organisations to adopt the technology. There is a need to further develop the technology, align it with existing standard operating procedures and training programmes and demonstrate efficiency gains.
  • Interoperability. In most phases of a crisis (including preparedness, response and reconstruction), organisations in the field do not act alone. To avoid duplication of efforts and waste of resources, there is a need to collaborate tightly, also in the field of assessment. Experiments have shown that mobile technology is mostly interoperable at a technical level (using data standards like KML). However, this is not sufficient to share information in an effective way. Semantic interoperability is essential, as is the capacity of the coordinating actor (e.g. headquarters or OSOCC) to curate, filter, manipulate, edit and delete assessment information of all actors. Technology and procedures to organise this process are essential for a more coordinated response.


 Related projects and events

Related tools and research projects


The iGDACS iPhone App provides users real-time information about disasters (GDACS Alerts) and gives them the possibility to send information in the form of a geo-located image and/or text back. Targeted users include professional emergency responders of tGADSC, as well as general users affected by disasters.

The App intended to tap the abundant information about disasters available from people who actually experience them. Reports of the iGDACS users are used to improve the overall situational picture.


GEO-PICTURES targets professional solutions for rapid access to full quality visual and sensor information anywhere anytime using satellite communications,  navigation and earth observation. The project is led by AnsuR in Norway, with users such as United Nations, EU Civil Protection and the Government of Amazonas.


ACRIMAS is a project funded under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), Theme SEC-2010.4.1-1 Aftermath crisis managment Phase I, Grant Agreement No. 261669 with 15 partners from 10 European countries, which shall develop a roadmap for an upcoming Demonstration Project (in Phase II) within Crisis Management (CM). The purpose is to make a small-scale experiment with various elements of a full-scale Demonstration Programme, in line with the iterative ACRIMAS approach of "concept development and experimentation". The purpose is to show that the methodology developed in Acrimas for evaluating demonstrations, assessing progress, and steering the iterative process of improvement can be realized. 

Related events

March 2012 - JRC/ACRIMAS workshop on Mobile Interoperability for Field Operations

The workshop on Mobile Interoperability for Field Operations (the ACRIMAS Pilot Case) took place in the European Crisis Management Laboratory (ECML) of the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, from 12 to 13 March 2012.


A disaster assessment operation must be set up in an international environment. Teams from various countries arrive on scene, each with their own tools and approaches to assess a situation and communicate it to a coordination centre. In order to set up a coordinated and integrated operation plan, the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) must be able to receive, process, and visualize information from all teams. The time to agree and set up an interoperable data transmission system must be reduced to a minimum in order to start the assessment as fast as possible. The focus is on collecting categorized information to get the "big picture" of the situation.


The outcomes showed that both paper and electronic OSOCCs reached a similar situation awareness in the same time, but only the electronic OSOCC had products available as sharable electronic maps and documents. Mobile technology is mature and can be deployed in an interoperable way. However, processing tools and training is still lacking. “It’s a dream to work with real-time data”, a representative of World Food Programme said, “but more tools are needed to exploit the information.” The participants encouraged a follow-up workshop after such tools are developed.

More information...

Other events


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 Mobile tools for GDACS

Mobile technology

Smartphones are becoming widely available and are able to provide quality content from areas affected by disasters. Within GDACS, work on using smartphones, cameras and other field equipment for surveying  is ongoing by several partners, including JRC, UNOSAT and PDC.

The main issues are:

  • Development of tools: user friendly, features for various user groups
  • Interoperability of tools: common API
  • Processing of information: what information will be extracted and presented to emergency managers
  • Deployment in GDACS: how and when to promote tools in the GDACS community

Work started in 2011 and is ongoing.