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Category: GIS

ICGC’s “Geodesigning the Future We Want” Cocktail Soiree




The Institute for Conscious Global Change (ICGC) held our First Annual Spring Cocktail Soiree on Friday, April 25th 2014. The event was hosted on the 19th Floor of the Tribeca Park building (400 Chambers St, Tribeca Park, NY, NY).  The gorgeous venue provided attendees with a beautiful outdoor terrace and a spectacular view of the city.


Titled, “Geodesigning the Future We Want”, the intimate meet and greet was attended by members of the organization, guests and long time supporters.


Attendees had a wonderful time as they sipped wine and snacked on delicious fingers foods while networking and discussing the organization’s work and our GIS based approach to sustainable development.  


The evening culminated with a message from ICGC’s CEO Ms. Etta Jackson, who’s message and affirmation of ICGC’s work and future, left the room engaged and excited about what is next to come.  


Ending on a high note, patrons left looking forward to the organization’s future work.


We look forward to future events and hope to see you all there as we strive to “Put Equity On The Map”.

To see more pictures please visit our Facebook Gallery here!


Press Release – The Institute for Conscious Global Change Honored as 2013 Top-Rated Non Profit

For Immediate Release: 

Media Contact
Etta D. Jackson, Founder/CEO
Phone:  212-810-0038



New Award is Based on Positive Online Reviews

New York, NY;  October 22, 2013 – The Institute for Conscious Global Change announced today that it has been honored with the prestigious 2013 Top-Rated Award by, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.

We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2013 Nonprofit,” says Etta D. Jackson, Founder/CEO, The Institute for Conscious Global Change. “We are proud of our accomplishments this year, including the launch of our Millennium Earth Project: A Visual Framework for Sustainable Development and also the establishment of our Youth Department—Youth Advocates for Sustainability (YAS)”.

The Institute for Conscious Global Change’s Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on the large number of positive reviews written by volunteers, donors and clients. The overwhelmingly positive commentary made the Institute for Conscious Global Change a real contender this year.

While the Top-Rated Awards run through the end of October, The Institute for Conscious Global Change was part of the inaugural group to qualify for the year.

“Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “People with direct experience with The Institute for Conscious Global Change have voted that the organization is making a real difference.”

Being on the Top-Rated list gives donors and volunteers more confidence that this is a credible organization.  The reviews by volunteers, clients and other donors show the on-the-ground results of this nonprofit.  This award is a form of recognition by the community.

The Institute for Conscious Global Change, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit civil society NGO organization with Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the United Nations. The institute’s mission is a part of the United Nations focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and emerging Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Geographic Information Systems.

About GreatNonprofits

GreatNonprofits is the leading site for donors and volunteers to find reviews and ratings of nonprofits. Reviews on the site influence 30 million donation decisions a year.


Youth Assembly Panel


     ICGC recently attended the UN’s Annual Youth Assembly Conference as guests on the Youth Leadership and Academic Development panel.  The overall conference focused on Young Professionals, New Technology, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Social Entrepreneurship within the context of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The February 1st session outlined opportunities in the field for youth within the context of the MDGs.

     ICGC’s Chief Operating Officer Sienna J Dutkowski spoke on behalf of the organization. She shared her experiences in the development field and how through creating technologically innovative solutions to the world’s development challenges, ICGC is an example of a youth driven organization.  Other guest panelists included Joyce Moy, Professor at City University of New York’s (CUNY) & Executive Director of CUNY’s Asian American/Asian Research Institute and Cosmo Fujiyama, NYU Reynolds Fellow and co-founder of Students Helping Honduras. They delivered an equally powerful argument on youth empowerment and self-initiated action plans for change within development.  Overall, the session and the panel discussions were a tremendous success and it was evident that students left the room feeling reinvigorated and inspired.

What is CADD Technology?


How is CADD used in Engineering, Architecture, Urban Design and Planning? 

     Computer Aided Drafting & Design (CADD) replaced hand drafting for designing in the 1990s. In the past, architects, engineers and master planners drafted their ideas into beautiful plans and renderings. This was a time consuming process; one that did not easily allow for many mistakes or modifications. Older architects reminisce about the times in which they were required to spend 2 hours per day for several months practicing lettering and line weights before they were allowed to touch an actual set of plans.


     Today, we can watch a video which flies through a future building or master plan before it has even been constructed. Almost like a movie, it allows us to experience the transformation of our world. Citizens can participate in the planning and design process more actively.

      It shows us how our environment accommodates social, environmental and economic transactions. We can predict the way water will move from one point to another. There are methods to show us where a building is losing heat. CADD allows us to incorporate more information and data (for example, traffic, weather patterns and sun radiation) to build more effectively thus reducing waste and cost.  In addition, you can simultaneously integrate various disciplines together which  makes it faster and easier to modify the design and/ or fix mistakes, all by a simple click of a button.

     CADD technology allows for the study of terrain, data, patterns and processes in various scales: a small house, city block, neighborhood, city proper and region. We can simulate different scenarios at larger scales within a shorter period of time. Clients can receive a PDF of their design plan on their smart phone and send their comments as fast as they received it.  The art of manually drawing plans will soon become a memory for too many, and a non-existent skill for others.

     CADD enables us to keep up with the large amounts of data that is available on the internet and to build intelligent buildings- responsive to the people inhabiting them as well as giving back to the environment. It is a fast-paced world, with a fast moving mouse!


GIS & MEP: Why GIS Works For Us


Click on image or this caption for a Saint Raphael (Haiti) Interactive Map

     The Institute for Conscious Global Change, Inc (ICGC) has an innovative and revolutionary plan to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) post 2015.  The objective of the “Millennium Earth Project” (MEP) is to construct a virtual globe to act as an online library of maps and 3D infrastructure models. Initially Millennium Earth will focus on the 49 least developed countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, but eventually this will expand to include developing and developed countries as well. You might ask yourself, how does GIS (Geographic Information Systems)  allow for this and what role does GIS play in MEP specifically?  

     This is a great question; in fact, GIS is indispensable for our work towards achieving the MDGs. Comprehensive development is a complex issue that requires in-depth, site-specific knowledge and analysis in order to develop culturally sensitive strategies for improving the quality of life. This is where GIS comes in. GIS is a  technology that allows users to create maps of the current landscape, search and manipulate data and design  spatial models of planned landscapes. ICGC chose GIS because it provides a unique opportunity to visually display several features of each country’s development. MEP utilizes the latest GIS software to create 3D models of city infrastructure complete with site photos and construction drawings. In order to accurately depict the uniqueness of each country’s issues, MEP collects extensive primary data and secondary data for each of the 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

     This research will provide the important details our maps need for analysts to better understand the needs of each country, as well as what changes must be made to transition each country towards a “developed” status. GIS analysts overlay multiple elements in the same map and utilize color-coded symbols to represent the important spatial aspects of development statistics, demographics, natural resources and other physical landform features. These maps will encompass a “virtual globe” and illustrate current issues hindering development in each LDC.

     These elements combined will provide a juxtaposition of each country’s current and planned states. This comparison will act as a developmental roadmap, allowing policymakers, country representatives, civil society organizations and relevant stakeholders to effectively analyze and interpret each country’s  pathway to development. ICGC believes GIS and the MEP are the holistic and revolutionary “outside of the box” solutions needed for achieving a virtual MDG plan pre and post 2015. 

     We would like to thank ESRI for donating the ArcGIS Desktop licenses needed to develop the core of our work on the Millennium Earth Project.  ESRI is also providing valuable support and consultation with our Haiti (Saint Raphael) Prototype.


Climate change, a key challenge for the attainment of MDGs

As 2012 has seen record-breaking temperatures across the US, climate change and its collateral damages are getting harder to avoid. This is even truer for developing countries. So to what extent is it affecting them and what are the consequences for the global development agenda?

How is climate change affecting developing countries?

Climate change effects can be observed through different forms and at different time and space levels. They are particularly hitting developing countries and LDCs through the following events:

  • Longer droughts and/or more frequent floods according to the concerned area
  • Increased water-stress
  • Expanding parasites range
  • Crop decline and increase of arid and semi-arid lands
  • Sea-level rise threatening low-lying areas like deltas and small-island states
  • More frequent tropical storms due to warmer ocean temperature
  • Higher risks of social conflicts over natural resources and land use and increasing number of climate-refugees

Unfortunately, given the amount of greenhouse gas emissions already emitted these effects are expected to amplify over time due to positive retroactions – i.e. mechanisms triggered by climate change and amplifying climate change in return, following a cyclic pattern.  Considering this, they need to be addressed as soon as possible in poverty-reduction strategies through an adaptation process, aiming at merely preparing population to face these inevitable effects.

Why are LDCS particularly vulnerable to climate change?

Three factors are making LDCs particularly vulnerable to climate change, namely:

  • Their low adaptive capacity:

This factor is the result of various parameters including the poor and/or lack of infrastructures (in terms of housing, energy, health and emergency), low human capital (in terms of education and personal security), low technological development and low institutional and social capital (in terms of governance and decision-making).

  • Their high exposure :

Africa, Asia and Small Island States are particularly hit by climate change because mainly located in the tropical areas of the world which are subject to intense climatic activity (drought, flood, heat, hurricanes, monsoon, El Niño…). High mountain regions depending on glaciers are also particularly vulnerable to climate change as their balance is tightly linked to hydrological cycles, atmospheric dynamics and thermal characteristics.

  • Their high sensitivity:

Climate change-induced events are generally directly felt by LDCs population with immediate consequences in terms of victims, damages and costs determined by the two previous factors.

What is the link between MDGs and climate change?

Climate change directly affects four key components of poverty-reduction strategies, namely: water, food, energy and human securities which compose the basis of Millennium Development Goals or at least play a role in their respective achievements. Water security is a perfect example of climate change multi-sectoral nature. Although it is targeted by MDG#7 (drinking water and sanitation), it plays a prominent role in the achievement of:

  • MDG1 (end poverty and hunger): irrigation and food production are directly dependant on water quantity, quality and availability;
  • MDG2 (universal education) and MDG3 (promote gender equality and empower women): water chores are mostly borne by children and women, preventing them from going to school or attend other activities (paid-job, community implication). With increased water stress, women and children are likely to be required to spend even more time to fetch water because of further or deeper water sources;
  • MDG 4, 5 (child and maternal health) and 6(combat diseases): access to water in sufficient quantity and of good quality is a primordial health factor, including in terms of prevention and hygiene;
  • MDG9 (infrastructures): basic infrastructures like hospitals and schools are highly dependent on water accessibility to function correctly.

Therefore, a holistic approach should be set as a priority in poverty-reduction strategies by not only considering climate change in the perspective of environmental sustainability, embodied by MDG7, but by making a mainstream implementation at all MDGs levels to enable the emergence of effective adaptation and sustainable development.

Written by:

Maeva Johanna Charles
(MDG #7 Team Leader; Environment & French Translation)


A geographic information system (GIS) is a collection of interacting and interdependent geographic components used to describe the earth. It integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

The Millennium Earth project is a GIS intended to educate and engage individuals while challenging them to envision a world of equality. Mirroring the technology we utilize, our organization consists of interdependent members interacting from around the world to change the current development dynamic and share the responsibility of meeting the Millennium development goals.

How does our GIS tie into this?

Geography is a lens, revealing the “who, what when, why, and how” of “where.” Our GIS attaches the “who, what, and when” to the “where” and allows us to ask “why and how.” Until recently this lens has been unable to truly focus on what was happening on the ground and display it in a profound way.

The Millennium Earth Project embraces new technologies and finds innovative ways to implement them in order to bring our focus, our data, to the ground. We utilize the top down data that organizations have been collecting for years in concert with our ground level data to fill in the spatial gaps of global development statistics with the sights, sounds, and stories which collectively compose the narrative of life. The elements of this narrative will provide a better understanding of how we can address the Millennium Development Goals with culturally sensitive analysis and truly create a world of equality that can be embraced by all.

I encourage you to take our hand and join us in building equality from the ground up.

By Scott Allen
GIS Specialist, Project Manager