The non-profit association ITHACA, based in Torino, Italy, is a center of applied research devoted to support humanitarian activities in response to natural disasters by means of remote sensing techniques.
ITHACA, founded in 2006 by Politecnico di Torino with the financial support of the Compagnia di San Paolo, has built strong competences in the field of acquisition, management and elaboration of geographic and cartographic data for emergency response purposes, delivering methodologies, analytical services and technical tools to improve the capacity of the international humanitarian community in early warning, early impact assessment and other risk management related areas.
With a view to cooperate with the World Food Programme (WFP) - the food aid arm of the United Nations and the world's largest operational humanitarian agency - the association was founded as a centre of applied research for the distribution of products and services related to Information Technology in support of humanitarian operations.
ITHACA activities are carried out in cooperation with Politecnico di Torino, specifically with DIST (Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning) and with other technology partners such as public and private research centres, aerospace and telecommunications companies and other territorial data suppliers.
ITHACA is governed by a Board of Directors composed of four members.
ITHACA undertakes comprehensive operational and research activities in the field of geomatics for the analysis, evaluation and mitigation of damages caused by natural or man-made catastrophes. Its main objectives are:
ITHACA was founded in November 2006 in a joint initiative of Politecnico di Torino and SiTI (Higher Institute on Innovation Territorial Systems), who actively participated into the Association’s Board of Directors until December 2016.
SiTI – Istituto Superiore sui Sistemi Territoriali per l'Innovazione (Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation) is a non-profit association set up in 2002 between the Politecnico di Torino and the Compagnia di San Paolo, to carry out research and training oriented towards innovation and socio-economic growth. Its activities are concentrated in the following sectors: Logistics and transport, Environmental heritage and urban redevelopment, Environmental protection, engaging the help of numerous researchers who complete the various specialist skills available within the Politecnico di Torino, the Universities and other research centres.
Politecnico di Torino is a real research university, where training and research work together to meet the needs of the local area and economy and above all of the students. The Politecnico di Torino offers excellence in technology and promotes the ability to carry out theoretical and applied research, to achieve concrete and reliable productive processes or organize services and facilities. At the Politecnico, today's needs are analyzed to design a sustainable tomorrow. Engineers and Architects are its main professional figures. Both have strategic planning and a common interdisciplinary approach since their education goes beyond a technical knowledge of engineering and architecture.
ITHACA's activities have been realized thanks to the generous support of its donors. So far, Compagnia di San Paolo has been its main sponsor offering the financial support needed to initiate the projects and maintain the research and operational activities. Since January 2017, the Compagnia entered directly into ITHACA’s Board of Directors
The Compagnia di San Paolo was founded in Torino in 1563 as a charitable brotherhood and is one of Europe’s most important private foundations. The current Articles of Association, adopted in the year 2000, specify its purposes: the Foundation participates in society’s activities by pursuing ends that are of public interest and social utility, with the aim of favoring civil, cultural, and economic development in the community in which it is active. Development is thus the goal, but also the criterion according to which the initiatives supported by the Compagnia are evaluated.
The areas in which the Compagnia acts are those of scientific, economic and juridical research; education; art; conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage and activities and of heritage sites; health; assistance to the socially deprived categories. These areas of intervention go side by side with interdisciplinary activities, which are more and more needed in order to respond to the complexity of modern life. The Foundation’s activities are financed with the income produced by the estate over the course of centuries and which the Compagnia has the task to pass on intact to future generations.
The Compagnia is a member of the European Foundation Centre and of ACRI, the Italian Association of Foundations of banking origin.