Project impact management commonly pass by the creation of transparent mechanisms for the monitoring of various activities as well as the measure and the estimate of their social and environmental impacts on the operating environment.
Several actions can be taken by the companies to demonstrate their commitments to the communities affected by the project. Among these, we can count the inventory and monitoring of:
- Persons and the territory affected;
- Meetings with communities;
- Complaints and grievances,
- Of the local employment etc.
All the field data collected will be used to fill up these lists. The control of information flow and quality is quite complex. For this reason, a complete database combined with geomatics expertise greatly facilitates the control and management of this large amount of data. This system is the main analysis and communication vehicle of all information collected and diffused to project stakeholders. In a social impact project, this system answers three main needs:
- Facilitates communication;
- Manages business processes related to social impact measures;
- Manages, canalizes and diffuses spatial and descriptive field data.
In social responsibility, information comes from different sources and therefore, has different characteristics and natures. It’s important to assure a correlation between descriptive and geographic data to be able of withdrawing global resultant information. For example, in a project involving resettlement of a community, the following elements should be collected on the field by specialized teams in survey and sociology:
- Location of the boundaries and calculation of the affected land area
- Determination of the owners and socio-economic study
- Complete asset inventory (crops, trees, structures, etc …)
In most cases, information that can be geo-referenced is collected using sub-metric GPS technology coupled with handheld computersthus allows a fully electronic input as well as incorporates quality control checks on the fly.
Later, this information is synchronized with the system, analyzed and distributed according to users and managers demand within 24 to 48 hours following the survey. To manage special requests or specific surveys, the information contained and updated in IMS can similarly be transferred to mobile devices and thus become available on the field, often allowing a better understanding of problems.
Technological advances combining Geomatics and IT expertise allows, at any point in the process, a better control of the quality and the traceability of information traded.
Olivier Chaumont, Boréalis
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