Emergency Response & Recovery

About Technology in Emergency Response


Technology is key to our emergency assistance and humanitarian response. Immediately after a disaster, our teams use tablets to collect data that allows staff to quickly identify who is most in need and where. The same technology is used for registration and monitoring aid delivery. Through technology, we are able to identify populations in need of assistance, map our response and share information easily.


  • Data Collection: CRS uses iPod Touch, GPS and iFormBuilder software to collect basic information about the people we assist during emergencies and register ad verify program participants. 

  • Location Mapping: We use mobile phone technology and GPS to locate key structures — like wells — that were destroyed by conflict or natural disaster. 

  • Assistance Mapping: We use ArcGIS software to map the assistance we provide in different areas affected by disaster.   

    CRS field staff register beneficiaries in Madagascar using iPad minis. Photo by Heidi Yanulis for CRS

  • Barcodes: We use barcodes to track the movement of relief items to ensure that they reach their intended destinations and facilitate timely reporting.  

  • Mobile payment: To save time during crisis situations, we use mobile payment methods to distribute funds to people in need and to process payroll for first responders. To address the challenge of providing cash securely, CRS provides prepaid debit cards to disaster-affected populations in areas with functioning markets, banks and ATMs.