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British Red Cross turns to digital mapping to help meet increased demand for support due to Covid-19

By Eric Van Rees - 14th May 2021 - 08:45

The British Red Cross has created new mapping tools using Esri GIS, which are being used by the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership (VCSEP) and its network of over 250 organisations, to improve collaboration and outreach as it responds to the Covid-19 crisis.

Designed to help meet an increased demand for support from voluntary sector organisations and the public, interactive maps are providing a shared understanding of need, promoting multi-agency working and increasing the efficiency of the overall response.

Examples of support provided to date include carrying out Covid-19 tests at care homes across Lancashire, delivering 800kg of food to a foodbank in Leominster following a 487% increase in demand, and supplying laptops to children so they could participate in online classes from home.

The British Red Cross is a founding member of the VCSEP, which was created following the Grenfell disaster and the London and Manchester terrorist attacks in 2017. Bringing together national and local organisations from the voluntary and community sector in England, to improve support for those in need, VCSEP partners include national organisations such as the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Salvation Army and over 200 local organisations.

Esri's GIS has long been used by the British Red Cross but only on the desktop. The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the need to move GIS to the cloud, via a new Esri UK enterprise-wide licence, enabling more open sharing of geospatial data, the development of online maps and dashboards and the integration of GIS with other Red Cross business applications, such as Power BI.

Central to the VCSEP Covid-19 response strategy is an interactive web map and a simple request for support service. These new tools help the British Red Cross and the VCSEP to understand and match which national and local voluntary organisations are best suited to meet requests from voluntary sector organisations for support including testing, vaccinations, food, clothing and PPE. Organisations including charities and statutory bodies can also use the online form to request help.

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Read More: GIS Healthcare

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