Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crisis Mapping: a valuable tool

More and more acceptance of the fantastically positive role played by digital volunteers in emergencies.

Amplify’d from

Academics Join Relief Efforts Around the World as Crisis Mappers

Jen Ziemke can't feed the needy in Libya. But, like many academics, the political scientist in Cleveland can pitch in on relief efforts with a different skill: map making. And as agencies look to exploit new-media tools during crises, they're turning to volunteers like her for help.

From her office at John Carroll University, Ms. Ziemke joins hundreds of citizen cartographers who scour blogs, social-media sites, and news outlets for information about Libya. They then label that data—security threats, health needs, refugee movements—and plug it into a United Nations-requested Web site called Libya Crisis Map.

"We're taking a big leap," says Andrej Verity of the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "We're diving into collaboration with the volunteer community in a first effort to try to make the response better."


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