Better Coordination in Online Mapping Needed

A New York Times article discusses a report on the lessons learned from crowdsourced humanitarian mapping mostly focusing on the efforts during the Haitian earthquake.  According to the report, Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies, the potential of online mapping to transform humanitarian services will not be realized without better coordination and communication between digital volunteers and veteran agencies in the relief field, like the United Nations and the Red Cross. The report is a collaboration of four groups — the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Vodafone Foundation, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Humanitarian groups say that the crisis-mapping response to the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 was striking proof of new mapping tools’ potential.  Nonprofit efforts built on broader changes in the field of satellite imaging and global mapping, led by large companies — notably Google and Microsoft and a group of online mapping organzations, such as OpenStreetMap, Crisis Mappers, Sahana and Ushahidi.  “On the technology side, Google, Microsoft and OpenStreetMap have really democratized mapping,” said Nigel Snoad, strategy adviser for the communications and information services unit of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

To read the article, click here.

Source: New York Times ; Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies

Sachiye Day, VERTICES intern. sachiye@vertices.com

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