Vulnerability and access map

Protection and security


Protection products are those that focus on vulnerable groups within the affected population, typically focusing on child protection, gender-based violence (GBV), mine action or land, housing and property concerns. Security products typically report on incidents that have occurred, and may also show plans such as evacuation routes. Due to the sensitive nature of what this information may show, both protection and security products should be published and shared cautiously. In some cases they may only be shared within an organisation.

Strategic or operational?


Basemap, baseline or situational?

Baseline and situational.

When might it be produced?

Protection products can be produced at any point. This is particularly the case during complex emergencies or in areas where there has been underlying tension in the past, i.e. areas that have a history of conflict. Demining programmes may occur during or immediately after the event, although these programmes will often be long term and therefore product updates may carry on longer too.

Intended audience

Anyone responsible for the protection of vulnerable groups, particularly child protection and victims of gender-based violence. Anyone involved with demining activity. Agency security officers who need to know where incidents may have occurred. IDP camp planners who may wish to allocate specific areas or specific resources to different groups based on their needs.

Influence on humanitarian decisions

The mapping of any reported incident or issue should highlight either broad areas of concern or hot spots where there may be groups of vulnerable people. In some cases this may lead to the need to evacuate vulnerable groups from the area. Cross-referenced with other information, it might be possible to address the problem by providing the appropriate aid.

Anyone responsible for demining activity, this may lead to the evacuation of the local community where explosive remnants of war (ERW) may be scattered. If there are known minefields these will be shown as ‘no go areas’, with advice to avoid them.

Caution may need to be taken, particularly when publishing products on protection, as it is possible to aggravate already sensitive situations. It is sensible to use anonymous or data aggregated to a suitable level to mitigate this.

With security mapping, particularly relating to conflict, any maps representing land held should be represented as clearly as possible, particularly areas close to borders that are being fought over or areas that change hands frequently. To show the intensity of incidents, heat mapping is a good way of representing centres of activity. These maps also have a temporal element to them and lend themselves to animation too. Organisational evacuation routes should never be shown publicly without prior consent, as this may lead to an organisation being left vulnerable.

Demining activities have detailed standard operating procedures for the physical removal or destruction of mines and explosive remnants of war. With this in mind there is often a significant buffer around a contaminated area, and these are marked using internationally recognisable symbols. Areas can be divided into sectors in a similar way to those of search and rescue activities, so that they can be systematically cleared. Any evacuation routes or rendezvous points should be mapped.

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