GIS Assists Recovery Efforts in Post-Tsunami Indonesia

Feb. 6, 2007
Two-Year Anniversary of Indian Ocean Tsunami Finds GIS Use Growing at Local Government Level

Redlands, California--The Spatial Information and Mapping Centre (SIM-Centre) of Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstrucksi (BRR) NAD-Nias in Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, is using ESRI geographic information system (GIS) software to support the activities of humanitarian agencies rebuilding after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. SIM-Centre is actively building sustainable GIS capacity in the government through the creation of an online data catalog, training local personnel in GIS technology, and creating a spatial data infrastructure (SDI).

"Aceh Province will continue to develop [its GIS] well after the international aid community has left the area," says Yakob Ishadamy, SIM-Centre manager, BRR. "GIS has a role to play by providing information to government officials and others to support their efforts. The reconstruction, economic, and social factors involved all have a time and space component. GIS provides an invaluable framework for building an information base and providing the best decision support, communication, and collaboration possible."

SIM-Centre has standardized with ESRI ArcGIS, an integrated collection of software products for building a complete GIS. ArcGIS enables users to deploy mapping and spatial analysis wherever it is needed--on desktops, on servers, in custom applications, over the Internet, and in the field.

SIM-Centre uses ArcCatalog to create metadata, which is then hosted on the online metadata catalog (, a free-of-charge service available to all cooperating agencies in the area. Not only does the metadata catalog provide guidance and accessibility to necessary datasets, but it also establishes confidence in the quality of the data, something lacking in the area before the tsunami.

SIM-Centre has created and supports a GIS user group and GIS consortium to advance the use of GIS in the area. Currently, the GIS consortium is creating a customized training manual for ArcGIS written in Bahasa Indonesian and based on Aceh Province datasets.

Since the transfer of GIS capacity from United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator (UNORC) in early 2006, SIM-Centre has trained 115 people on the use of GIS and GPS in the region, filled approximately 750 client requests for GIS data, and printed more than 3,500 maps.

"SIM-Centre at BRR is an amazing organization," says Jack Dangermond, president, ESRI. "It has brought ESRI's vision of collaborative GIS to life, even in the face of an insurmountable tragedy. The successful transfer of GIS to the government of Indonesia, personalized training, and attention to the quality of the spatial data in the area are incredible achievements for the GIS community at large."


About ESRI
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world???s mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit

ESRI, the ESRI globe logo, GIS by ESRI, ArcGIS, ArcCatalog,, and are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!