Collaborative mapping for disasters

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BusinessWeek takes a very superficial look at the use of community driven mapping efforts during emergencies.  While the article doesn’t go much in depth on the different types of mapping efforts that kick in during emergencies, it does look at two sides of the collaborative mapping issue.

On one side of the issue are efforts like GeoCommons.com that use the collaborative efforts of the community to help provide updated geographic information during emergencies: “In the wake of devastating flooding in the Midwest in May, people created their own maps of everything from bridge closures to outlines of flood zones to Home Depot locations where people could get supplies. The maps in turn were made available to anyone.”

On the other side are those proponents that welcome community input but restrict the mapping of geographic data to a moderated group: “After Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, the UNJLC used maps that collected information about the extent of flooding and the state of critical transportation and health infrastructure. The center asked the community to e-mail information about the state of roads, bridges, ports, and waterways, and then used that information to update the map.

Read more: Making Maps Work When Disaster Strikes


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