Micro-mapping is under the spotlight three days after Typhoon Haiyan barreled into the central Philippines, affecting close to 10 million people, with thousands more feared dead.
“The speed in which information can be filtered, categorized, and geo-located [has] increased dramatically through the use of digital humanitarian organizations and technology,” Cat Graham, a coordinator with the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN), a community of digital technicians, translators, and other tech-savvy Samaritans working to assist humanitarian efforts, told IRIN.
Geo-mapping, a fundamental component of DHN’s efforts to assist humanitarian efforts to respond to what could prove to be the worst typhoon in the Philippines history, combines crowd-sourcing from micro-mapping with machine intelligence, to filter and categorize information, which is then pinpointed on virtual maps in real time to support the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Philippines Red Cross’s joint ongoing rapid needs assessments.
“It provides real time data from people coming from various affected areas in terms of tweets, photos and messages on… what happened to their community, [and] information about their immediate needs,” David Carden, head of OCHA in the Philippines, told IRIN.
DHN digital volunteers are working alongside OCHA, the Red Cross, and the Philippines government to collect information for web maps that all responders can use and have access to, such as Open Street Map - updated up to 300,000 times for typhoon-affected areas in the Philippines over the past three days, according to OCHA. Read more.
#YolandaPH: Map Tour by StandbyTaskForce and GISCorps (DHN Members) This map was produced using a selection of photos from Twitter, Facebook, news articles, and other websites curated using the MicroMapper platform. The locations are approximate and more photos and information are currently being mapped and categorized by the GIS Corps.