Structure of the guide

The guide is divided into the following sections:


These are maps that are useful at any point during a response regardless of a hazard or vulnerability and are often the basis for the rest of the maps.


These are maps may help with a specific cluster problem during a response (e.g. food, shelter, WASH, etc.). They should be supported by the core maps.

Hazard maps

These are maps may be produced in response to a particular hazard (e.g. earthquake, flood, storm, conflict, etc.). They should be supported by the core maps.

Which maps do I need?

This section begins to take a look at which maps might be useful for a particular group of users during a response.


The initial version of the example product catalogue started with a review of all maps that MapAction had produced between 2002 and 2016. These maps were consolidated and categorised with descriptions written for each map based on the experience of MapAction.

Overtime, MapAction has been consulting with subject matter experts for particular sections of the guide to begin to understand better how and what is useful in a map for them. This has helped us understand what the questions are and what data might be needed to help them make better informed decisions.

Map example structure

Each of map example follows the same structure:

  • An example - a real life (where possible) example from the field
  • Description - a general description of the map and its overall purpose
  • Context - to the map and when it might be produced
  • Audience - who is the intended audience and how might it help influence their decisions
  • Methods - tips on how the map can be produced
  • Data - what data should be used in the map
  • Resources - where can you find additional information on the subject.



USAID OFDA have funded the updating of the website and the updating of the health and food security sections. We are currently working on a research project that looks at how maps can support WASH activities.


ECHO funded the creation of version 1.0.


  • Version 1.0 - 2017
  • Version 2.0 - 2020