SDG: Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-being
A high-quality digital map of a neighborhood is something which many developing countries are lacking. The absence of these maps becomes especially a problem when a disaster occurs because humanitarian aid misses information on where to go to, how to best get there, where people live, or how to bring someone to the hospital. Disasters kill roughly 100,000 people a year and displace 200 million people. Creating maps or filling the gaps in maps could improve the impact and speed of the relief efforts towards the people in need.
OpenStreetMap (OSM) is an online map where everyone can contribute to and is supported by the Missing Maps initiative. During a disaster, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) gathers volunteers to map as quickly as possible the unmapped disaster area to support the incoming relief aid. Remote volunteers review satellite images to identify roads and buildings and transform the image to a digital map. Local volunteers add extra information to enrich the maps. Subsequently, the map is published and provided to relief agencies to inform them. OSM also builds on maps for areas where disasters might occur to be even more prepared in the wake of a disaster.
The OSM has informed several organizations (e.g. World Bank) during the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Also, the maps helped agencies during the Northern Mali conflict (2013), Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2013), the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014) and the earthquake in Nepal (2015). After the Nepal Earthquake, 4000 volunteers started to map the country and were able to provide within 48 hours 21,113 km of roads and 110,681 buildings. With the usage of post-earthquake satellite images, the volunteer could identify where new camps were set-up by citizens and potential helicopter landing spots. The maps helped deliver different kinds of aid such as healthcare, food or shelter.
BBC Click (2015). Nepal quake: Could a mapping project help with recovery? BBC Click. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxYKDHbzCpg&frags=pl%2Cwn
Missing Maps (2018). Putting the world’s vulnerable people on the map. Retrieved from https://www.missingmaps.org
HOT (2018). What we do. Retrieved from https://www.hotosm.org/what-we-do
Missing Maps (2018). How we work. Retrieved from https://www.missingmaps.org
Turner, A. (2010). World Bank Haiti Situation Room – featuring OSM. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajturner/4329833289/in/photostream/
Sneed, A (2015). The open source maps that makes rescues in Nepal possible. Wired, Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2015/05/the-open-source-maps-that-made-rescues-in-nepal-possible/#slide-2