You don’t need the latest and greatest GIS program to do Geographic Distribution Analysis. While working in the Allai valley after the Kashmir earthquake we initially used a hand drawn map to plot community sizes and locations, IDP movements, NFRI distribution data, helicopter landing zone locations, and security incidents. The original map was reproduced by the simple expedient of tracing it on to new paper. For several weeks it was the most accurate and most used map of the valley.
How to make an all-weather, no power, low failure, Geographic Distribution Analysis system.
Step 1 - Assemble the following items:
• A map of the appropriate area
• Clear transparent self-adhesive laminate – Sometimes it is sold as shelf paper in the house wares section of department stores. Con-Tact
or any similar brand will work.
• Chinagraph pencils – Also known as grease markers, Chinagraph
pencils can be used on almost any surface, including Con-Tact paper.
• Paper – Ruled paper makes creating sketch maps easier.
• Toilet paper
• A large re-sealable plastic freezer bag.
Step 2 - Cover the map with the laminate. Its easier if you work with a partner. Cut a piece of laminate slightly larger than the map. Separate the laminate from its backing and slowly lower the laminate onto the printed side of the map. You’ll need to let it sag slightly in the middle so that your partner can press the laminate to the map starting at the centre and working slowly to the edges. If you practice a couple of times on a large sheet of paper you should be able to do it without trapping any air bubbles or making a lot of wrinkles.
You’ll now be able to use the Chinagraph pencils to mark the covered map. The annotations are waterproof but they can easily be removed by rubbing them with a bit of the toilet paper.
Step 3 - Fold
Step 4 - Place everything inside the re-sealable bag.
That's all there is to it. Put the whole thing in your field bag or cargo pant pocket and it'll be ready whenever you need it. You can plot security incidents, checkpoints, IDP locations, damaged infrastructure, photo locations or any other location based data.
Tip: You might be tempted to use permanent markers on your Con-Tact covered map. Don't. The marker will slowly bleed into the soft plastic eventually leaving a permanent stain that even rubbing alcohol will not be able to remove.