IM/GIS Technical Specialist - International Disaster Response Reserves

  • Mid-level
  • Posted on 25 February 2020
  • Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, United States
  • Closing on 12 August 2020
  • Current

Job Description

Job Description:

Location: Global based on assignment

% of Travel Required: 50% - 75% up to maximum 6 months per year


International Disaster Response (IDR) Reserves are disaster management professionals who have extensive experience in emergency operations management, coordination, or specific technical areas. In all cases the role of the IDR Reserves is to support the response and recovery activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement disaster operations. IDR Reserve employees of the Red Cross are paid while working on disaster operations and on specific non-disaster assignments. IDR Reserves are expected to be available for disaster response deployments for a minimum of 4 weeks and no more than 6 months at a time, must be available to either deploy or provide remote support with a minimum notice and must successfully complete a medical clearance form. Travel is required on some IDR Reserve assignments. IDR IM/GIS reserves additionally support remote activations for response operations as part of the Surge Information Management Support (SIMS) network through either coordinating or technical support to information needs and deliverables (such as maps, data analysis, infographics, etc).

The IM/GIS Specialist provides both deployed and remote support to the IFRC and Operating National Society (ONS) in order to facilitate effective response activities in keeping with IFRC/ONS disaster management strategy for a response operation. Based on the emergency strategy and the support requested the role may include the following responsibilities:


  • Serve as the focal point responsible for coordinating information on Red Cross/Red Crescent activities especially through data products such as 3W, and including geospatial information.
  • Engage as part of an information management or assessment team to support data-driven decision-making.
  • Identify data/analysis/information needs to support decision-making of operational leads and sector specialists.
  • Support the operation with data collection. Advise and set up appropriate methods and/or tools, as well as advocate for improved survey design. At times you may be required to support the development of data analysis plans with other colleagues.
  • Collect, collate, and analyze data related to operational information requests and assessments and assure quality of data.
  • Identify appropriateness of data storage solutions and proper methodologies for managing various levels of data.
  • Design, create, and/or coordinate IM/GIS products such as visuals to accompany assessments, planning, and reporting.
  • Determine information needs by various audiences and incorporate design principles to effectively communicate and disseminate information.
  • Analyze available data to identify gaps, overlaps, and bottlenecks by sector/area/program; communicate analysis through maps and other products as needed.
  • Advocate for and support the implementation of data protection best practices when collecting and collaborating with operational data.

Additional duties as needed:

  • Support preparation of situation reports and communication documents, briefing papers, maps and final reporting; specifically, responsible for IM/GIS products such as visual representation of information used in reporting and communication activities (maps, graphics, charts, etc).
  • Support Red Cross/Red Crescent participation in inter-agency coordination across sectors (for example, reporting into the Cluster System).
  • Design or advise on database management for integration with longer-term data management needs for programming.
  • Advocate and apply the use of secondary data and translate into information to support an operation.

An ideal IM/GIS Specialist has a mixture of technical and interpersonal skills, as well as experience working in international contexts and foreign language skills. We are looking for a combination of the following:

  • Excellent analytical skills, including the ability to synthesize, process and prioritize various sources and amounts of information quickly. Can appropriately sift through large datasets or extrapolate from small datasets, and understands the limitations of both situations.
  • Strong understanding of data collection: tools, methods, and management.
  • Significant computer literacy with moderate to advanced skills in QGIS and/or ArcGIS. Ability to produce high-quality maps in the field is highly desirable though mapping can often be supported remotely.
  • Additional skills with databases, IT equipment, web design, scripting, and use of cloud services are all an added asset.
  • Some experience with graphic design and the ability to translate digital datasets into graphic, informative presentations. Adobe Illustrator skills preferred. GIS products are required for different audiences, utilizing a mixture of text, charts, graphs and other visual displays of information to effectively communicate complex geospatial information.
  • Knowledge of mobile data collection and survey techniques using the Open Data Kit suite or KoBo Toolbox.
  • Good understanding of humanitarian response, the groups involved, and the impact of evidence-based decision making upon the delivery of humanitarian action.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience with teamwork and coordination. IM/GIS Specialists often need to bridge the communication between decision makers, coordinators, etc. and technical personnel responsible for delivering various technologies aimed to assist in data collection, storage, or analysis.
  • Experience with monitoring and evaluation is helpful. This position will often need to liaise with Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting delegates to support overall operational data needs.
  • Familiarity with the transition from surge to early recovery is a plus.
  • Strong attention to detail, and ability to identify gaps and take the initiative to address them.
  • International work experience preferred.
  • Experience with case management systems preferred, but not required.
  • Good stress management and ability to work in high stress environments.
  • Fluency in a foreign language (preferably Spanish or French).

About the Organization

As one of the nation’s premier humanitarian organizations, the American Red Cross is dedicated to helping people in need throughout the United States and, in association with other Red Cross networks, throughout the world. We depend on the many generous contributions of time, blood, and money from the American public to support our lifesaving services and programs. If you share our passion for helping people, join us in this excellent career opportunity.

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