• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

UNHCR rolls out satellite tracking system for vehicles

News Stories, 26 May 2010

© UNHCR/R.Redmond
A UNHCR convoy carries refugees from South Sudan home from Uganda.

GENEVA, May 26 (UNHCR) After pilot projects in Chad, Sudan and Uganda, the UN refugee agency is rolling out a satellite tracking system for its vehicles that will improve staff safety through real time monitoring of movements.

The automatic reporting of position and monitoring of routes will enhance road safety in operations where there are difficulties in communication, where road and driving conditions are poor and where UNHCR staff face security risks such as carjacking.

The tracking technology piloted by UNHCR's Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS) will also help the agency improve fleet efficiency while reducing the environmental impact. It will cut fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, monitor driver performance and improve vehicle maintenance.

DESS, in collaboration with the Division of Information Systems and Telecoms and with the support of technical staff in the field, has already installed tracking devices in 60 vehicles in the Chad, Sudan and Uganda operations.

This pilot was part of the HUMA-NAV initiative launched in 2009 and entirely sponsored by the Centre National d'Études Spatiales, France's space agency. It focused on developing a reliable vehicle navigation, tracking and data capture service tailored to the needs of the humanitarian community.

An equipped vehicle sends its Global Positioning System, or GPS, location through a transmission network GSM, satellite or radio network to the HUMA-NAV data centre, which processes the information. Country fleet managers, radio operators and field security staff can then connect to the fleet management software through the internet to see the fleet status and positions in real time.

The geographic information is developed by UNOSAT, a specialized UN agency. The private firm Novacom is providing its extensive knowledge in tracking solutions, while INSEAD University's social innovation centre coordinates the project and performs the research on the fleet management.