Ithaca – Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation and Action

The non-profit association ITHACA, based in Torino, Italy, is a center of applied research devoted to support humanitarian activities in response to natural disasters by means of remote sensing techniques.

ITHACA has built strong competences in the field of acquisition, management and elaboration of geographic and cartographic data for emergency response purposes, delivering methodologies, analytical services and technical tools to improve the capacity of the international humanitarian community in early warning (study and analysis on disaster prone areas), early impact (post disaster analysis and assessment) and other risk management related areas.

The association was founded in November 2006 in a joint initiative of Politecnico di Torino and SiTI (Higher Institute on Innovation Territorial Systems) and in cooperation with other partners such as public and private research centers, companies operating in the aerospace and telecommunications fields and other territorial data providers. Therefore, ITHACA’s operational team is composed of experts from the academic, industrial and scientific environments with deep experience in several of the domains concerning geomatics, such as remote sensing, photogrammetry and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

With a view to cooperate with the WFP (World Food Programme) – the food aid arm of the United Nations and the world’s largest operational humanitarian agency – the Association proposes itself as a centre of applied research and for the distribution of products and services related to Information Technology in support of humanitarian operations. It aims to bridging the gap between advanced research science and humanitarian practitioners, delivering scientific methodologies, analytical services and technical tools to improve the capacity of WFP and the broader humanitarian community in early warning and early impact assessment phases.

In the framework of the project “Environmental protection and sustainable development: building local capacities on solid waste management in Myanmar”, ITHACA is in charge of the creation of an updated information system that collects and manages all available geodata related to Yangoon City area and to the state-of-the-art of solid waste management.

A good geographic information management that provides integration, storage, editing, analyses, sharing and display of geographic information, can be extremely useful for informing decision making. Ithaca will assist the PCCD in the implementation of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and will provide training to local officers on its maintenance and usage.

The actions foreseen are: i) Data collection (spatial and thematic data availability assessment), ii) Spatial Data Infrastructure implementation and iii) Technical training (specifically addressed to Yangoon City practitioners in the field of waste management).