Sponsored by New Light Technologies, 14 professional mappers participated at Mapathon on behalf of the Humanitaran OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) at the GIS-Pro & CalGIS 2018 conference in Palm Springs. The team volunteered their evenings and expertise to assist first responders in their work during natural disasters, working through a portfolio of different humanitarian projects.
Some of the mappers that night were working through aerial imagery over Tanzania, performing infrastructure mapping of roads and buildings in support of the Tanzania Development Trust. Elsewhere in the same country of Tanzania – the Manyara region – Mapathon participants were making maps facilitate various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their outreach work to protect girls at risk of in areas with very high incidence of Female Genital Mutilation, extreme poverty, early marriage and Gender Based Violence. Other mappers worked adding buildings overtop the satellite footage North of Kochi, India, in support of current sever flooding throughout the Kerala Region of the country.
HOT oversees The Missing Maps project, the goal of which is to map most vulnerable places in the world – whether that means a vulnerability to natural dangers like extreme weather or disease or man-made crises such as poverty and political conflict. Users are able to access OpenStreetMap free of charge and pore over aerial footage, adding geocoded point, line and polygon data representing the geographic makeup of the area. The goal of the project is to pre-emptively map priority countries, so, before disaster strikes, response teams have access to current and useable map products that aid in the delivery of medical aid and resources.
The night was a success. GIS professionals were able to not only meet and network, but to also use their skills and expertise in helping some of the most vulnerable people throughout the globe – showing, once again, how GIS can be leveraged in making a better world.