OpenStreetMap

You can't do this with any other map but OpenStreetMap

Posted by lxbarth on 10 April 2014 in English (English)

Hal Hudson from New Scientist wrote a great article on how OpenStreetMap helps Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) fight Ebola in Guinea:

Online army helps map Guinea's Ebola outbreak

He reports:

WHEN doctors working for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) arrived in the West African nation of Guinea last month to combat an outbreak of the deadly Ebola haemorrhagic fever, they found themselves working in an information vacuum.

MSF enlisted the help of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team (HOT) and within a few days, a huge number of mappers flocked to OpenStreetMap, putting the affected areas on the map. Where existing Bing imagery was not sufficient, Astrium and DigitalGlobe provided fresh takes.

Few days into the crisis Pierre Béland from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team shared numbers of this effort on the mailing list:

Even if this crisis is not in all the medias, the contribution from the OSM contributors is fantastic. In 8.5 days, 302 contributors, 1.2 million objects, 114,000 buildings, 5,000 places and 6,100 landuse polygons.

The New Scientist article explains how OpenStreetMap helps fight the virus:

Mathieu Soupart, who leads technical support for MSF operations, says his organisation started using the maps right away to pinpoint where infected people were coming from and work out how the virus, which had killed 95 people in Guinea when New Scientist went to press, is spreading. "Having very detailed maps with most of the buildings is very important, especially when working door to door, house by house," he says. The maps also let MSF chase down rumours of infection in surrounding hamlets, allowing them to find their way through unfamiliar terrain.

Since the response to the Haiti earthquake we are now seeing time and again how OpenStreetMap is facilitating incredibly mapping of badly needed geo data, helping first line emergency responders do their work.

You can't do this with any other map but OpenStreetMap.

This type of massive mapping effort is only possible because of OpenStreetMap allowing direct editing of data to anyone and the availability of OpenStreetMap as raw and open data. The former allows anyone to get involved in helping respond to a crisis, the latter gives full power to responding parties over how exactly maps should look like or access to raw data for analysis. No other map offers this level of openness at a global scale.

Join the effort mapping Guinea on the HOT tasking manager or by support MSF in responding to the crisis.

Comment from mikelmaron on 10 April 2014 at 20:03

Thanks @lxbarth. I like the idea of highlighting what you can only do with OpenStreetMap, we should collect these. Here's a few more: http://brainoff.com/weblog/2012/02/02/1756

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Comment from lxbarth on 10 April 2014 at 22:26

Yup, love that post, mikel.

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