Open Innovation Project Maps Vulnerable Areas

September 9, 2016 By IdeaConnection

Mapathon_UP_2014-WLA_2487_710Open innovation is coming to the aid of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project that allows the crowd to map areas where humanitarian organizations try to get to during disaster situations.

According to figures, approximately 100,000 people are killed by disasters every year, and 200 million are affected or displaced.  Getting help into affected areas is difficult enough at the best of times, let alone when some of these places are low-income rural and urban areas that don’t appear on any maps – or if they do, there isn’t a lot of detail about them.

Missing Maps aims to put vulnerable areas on maps before a disaster happens.  This will provide emergency responders and aid groups with essential geographical information that could help reduce risk and speed up recovery during a crisis.

How it Works

The open innovation initiative has three steps in each area that it’s mapping.  The first involves armchair mappers tracing satellite imagery in OpenStreetMap, adding such information as roads and rivers.  No previous mapping experience is required as the Missing Maps website has a short beginners’ guide.

In step two, Missing Maps organizations liaise with local groups and people to add details, such as types of buildings (schools, clinics etc.).

In step three, humanitarian organizations use all of this new map data to prepare risk reduction projects.

Missing Maps was founded by the American Red Cross, the British Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International (also known as Doctors Without Borders) and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.

To find out more information, including how you can become an armchair volunteer, click here.

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