Missing Maps is an innovative project which uses remote volunteers to map the most vulnerable areas of the world, so that humanitarian agencies, local NGOs and individuals can better respond when crises occur. It was set up in 2014 by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the British Red Cross and the American Red Cross.
The project brings together thousands of volunteer mappers to ‘trace’ satellite imagery of vulnerable communities which currently lack detailed, accurate maps. In practice, this means identifying and marking features like buildings, roads, and terrain on satellite images from sources such as Bing.
The impact of Missing Maps
Once a section of map is completed, further details are added and verified by local volunteers in the field and are then made freely available via Open Street Map. The resulting maps are powerful tools which can be used by humanitarian organisations to help in activities such as the provision of aid, distribution of essential resources and in carrying out epidemiology studies to enable effective responses to disease outbreaks.
Just as importantly, it provides the local residents of some of the developing world’s most at-risk areas with accurate maps that they can use in their daily lives and to improve resilience in the face of emergencies.
Volunteering for Missing Maps requires a dedicated and trained teacher or supervisor to check the mapping quality and act as assessor. Please speak to your teacher or supervisor about this before starting this volunteering opportunity. If your teacher or supervisor is committed to Missing Maps as well, or if there is interest in starting a Missing Maps club at your school, please do get in touch. To get you started, we can help organise training sessions for teachers or supervisors.
For more information please email [email protected]