Using Mapbox + PowerBI for humanitarian response with the Red Cross

March 11, 2021
March 11, 2021
Johnny Henshall
Senior Officer for Information Management and GIS, IFRC / British Red Cross
Mikel Maron
Community Team Lead, Mapbox
Marena Brinkhurst
Community Team, Mapbox
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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) comprises 192 members, all with different roles, capacities, strengths and weaknesses - so how to provide a map that accommodates the needs of all of them, whilst upholding the core principle of neutrality?

The IFRC’s emergency response data platform GO uses Mapbox to underpin its mapping service for member National Societies, ensuring that its maps meet a diversity of specific requirements, including representing disputed territories and boundaries across the world. But why limit this to one website? Using the PowerBI and Tableau plugins, the GO MapBox styles and data are now being made available across the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for operational products that help with monitoring and decision making in emergency response.

Over the past few months, IFRC have been working with their development partners, Development Seed, to streamline the process of updating the maps using the Mapbox Tiling Service (MTS). The aim is to have GO as the 'source of truth' of geographical data at the IFRC and for that to be reflected across the Mapbox styles available for use across the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

You’ll learn how to...

  • Use Mapbox within PowerBI and Tableau
  • Use maps to support humanitarian response
  • Streamline map updates with the Mapbox Tiling Service
  • Build a central map for a wide range of stakeholders


IFRC's GO data platform for emergency response coordination

Homepage of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Tutorial to create data visualizations with the Mapbox Visual for Power BI

Tutorial to use a Mapbox custom style within Tableau

Tutorial to get started with the Mapbox Tiling Service

About IFRC & GO

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. Founded in 1919, in the aftermath of world war and in the midst of the so-called ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic, the IFRC comprises 192 member Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, which provide lifesaving assistance in an auxiliary role to governments across the world.

IFRC GO aims to make all disaster information universally accessible and useful to IFRC responders for better decision making in disaster response and preparedness. The platform channels information on emerging crises from field reports from National Societies, automates data exchange with humanitarian partners, and provides a platform to organise key information from ongoing emergency operations, including situation reports, surge deployment alerts, contacts and dashboards.


Johnny Henshall is the Senior Officer for Information Management and GIS currently seconded to the IFRC from the British Red Cross, where he has been for five years. He’s been involved in various humanitarian mapping projects since 2013 including the MapSwipe app, Missing Maps as well as being a volunteer with MapAction.

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