Web Mapping for Disaster Relief in Haiti

Historic Map of Haiti

Driving into Sacramento today, I heard a story on Public Radio International’s “The World” about how the GIS community is responding to the current crisis in Haiti.┬áReacting to the initial inadequacy of available geographic data (for example, there was little to no public information on transportation networks and building locations in the country), thousands of volunteers took up researching and digitizing historic maps of Haiti. Also, mobile GPS devices have been distributed in Haiti to provide accurate locational information to relief workers. Much of this data is being visualized and printed for distribution using OpenStreetMap, a free, online map that receives most of its data from the general online community.

An international volunteer network called the Crisis Commons posted these screenshots of available geographic data in OpenStreetMap before and after the earthquake, as documented by Mikel Maron:

OSM Before

OSM After

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