Tacking the Challenges of Humanitarian Mapping

Humanitarian Mapping

##Disaster requires quick action! Maps are an incredibly powerful tool for humanitarian crisis response. One of the most compelling phenomena in recent times has emerged from global communi ties committed to solving some of the many challenges that arise from timely humanitarian response. Ground-breaking initiatives such as OpenStreetMap have reframed the ways in which we collectively generate spatial data. Even more importantly, organizations such as the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team are taking this culture of mapping to new heights by activating global communities to create previously impossible amounts of data for use in crisis and humanitarian response efforts.

Last week, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Maptime NYC, and CartoDB teamed up for a very special evening of mapping. The session was in response to a powerful earthquake which struck the coast of Ecuador on Sunday. Through mapping, the session aimed to provide international and local NGOs and individuals with maps and geographic data to better respond to crises. Tyler Radford, executive director of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team was special guest with a talk about the importance of crowd sourced mapping for crisis.

##CartoDB’s Continued Commitment Events of this type, and organizations such as the Humanitarian OpenSteetMap Team, have truly shaped the lives of countless people in need - especially in regions where infrastructure, road, and building data is not generally available. Here at CartoDB we feel that mapping and open data are the new frontier of rapid response.

Earlier this month we launched our Grants for Good initiative. Our new, more robust grants program is intended to fortify our commitment and dedication to efforts such as Humanitarian OpenSteetMap and the organizations that dedicate themselves to improving the lives of people and the environment across the world. In the face of crisis and environmental disaster, the tools and resources to allow for deep, meaningful action are critical, and we’re 100% committed to making CartoDB accessible and free for any community or organization in need. During these critical times in support of the Ecuador earthquakes - and for all timely humanitarian relief efforts, we’ll be expediting grants to make sure the organizations at the forefront of real response and change have our full support. In addition, if you’re an individual or project group working in these spaces, reach out community@cartodb.com and we’ll make sure you have the hook up on resources.

##Use ALL the Support! If you missed last week’s Maptime NYC, it’s not too late to get mapping with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. You can sign up for a free account here, and learn to map from your living room here.

Our friends at Digital Globe have also joined the effort and are releasing before and after imagery of the areas impacted, as well as crowdsourced data layers identifying damaged buildings, impassable roads and other sites of major destruction under a CC0 license.

Finally, an incredible way to show your support for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is to attend their benefit concert Sunday May 1st titled Coming Home: A memorial for the vicitims in Japan and Ecuador to support their disaster mapping work, including response to Ecuador and Japan. Go get your concert on for a great cause!

Happy Data Mapping!

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