Core map


These show who (which agencies) are doing what (in terms of relief operations) and where they are operating, and are also known as 3W. As a response continues this can evolve into a 4W: who, what, where and when (time).
Strategic or operational?

Normally strategic, though occasionally operational (e.g. urban search and rescue). Largely dependent on the scale and level of aggregation within the data.

Basemap, baseline or situational?


When might it be produced?

Operational 3W maps might be required during user search and rescue phases. Strategic 3W maps will be required as the clusters and overall coordination mechanisms ramp up. 3W mapping is usually intended as a tool to help decision-makers track and allocate resources, filling gaps and avoiding over-resourcing. It's an essential planning tool in most emergencies.

Intended audience

Organisations - Governments (National or Local), UN, Clusters, NGOs, Donors and others;

Roles - Programme Managers and funders

Influence on humanitarian decisions

The most commonly invoked rationale for 3W mapping is to identify gaps and overlaps in the relief effort and provoke the reallocation of aid as appropriate. A much more detailed discussion of the purpose of 3W mapping (from OCHA’s perspective) can be found here: OCHA 3W - Its Purpose Target Audience Scope and Products - V1 - May 2013. Note that cross-cluster 3W data is normally limited to recording ‘operational presence’ of agencies but is NOT expected to serve as a tool for monitoring volumes of assistance delivered.

Produce two versions that compliment each other and serve the audience:

  1. Humanitarian presence - this is an overview map with a count of organisations or activities per administrative unit - See Liberia: Ebola Outbreak - 3W Humanitarian Presence (as at 5 Sep 2014)
  2. Cluster specific - detailed mapping of cluster activities per administrative unit. See - Philippines Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): 3W - WASH (as of 03-Dec-2013)

Large 3W datasets can be mapped using Data Driven Pages (ESRI) or QGIS Atlas.

  • Standardised 3W data formats are normally agreed by an information management working group at national level, with OCHA advising and providing templates. Compilation of 3W data is then normally done through clusters, and contributed to a master 3W matrix which may be online (e.g. a Google spreadsheet) at predetermined intervals: e.g. two ‘3W deadlines’ each week.
  • Good quality administrative boundaries and p-codes are required. These must be in agreement with coordinating body for the data to join, so use of the common operational and fundamental operational datasets is recommended.

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