A simple definition of mapping is "the process of making maps". Humanitarian mapping refers to the production of spatial information to provide evidence-based situational analysis and enable appropriate decision making. Humanitarian mapping is a key part of the information management process. It starts at the analysis stage and ends with a final product at the communication stage.

Mapping is one of the most vital skillsets of OCHA’s information management officers. There are different kinds of maps depending on their style, size, format, software used, the information that needs to be conveyed and their intended use. For some basic standards and guidelines, check the guidance section.


There are different kinds of mapping tools. Some are leading edge in the map making process and others are emerging technologies. For more information on mapping tools, see the following sub-pages.


Community and Open Source Network:

Examples of reference maps created with Data Driven Pages template:


Mapping/Graphic Styles Resources