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  • When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017,

  • we all watched as a disaster played out on our screens.

  • At least 160,000 people were displaced,

  • and nearly 3,000 people died.

  • Electricity was cut off to the entire island,

  • and some neighborhoods didn't get power back for 11 months.

  • Many of those watching didn't know how to help.

  • Some donated to international NGOs.

  • Some lobbied their elected officials.

  • But as with so many crises,

  • so many of us simply gave in and felt helpless.

  • At the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team,

  • also known as HOT,

  • we did something different.

  • We mobilized 6,000 volunteers across the world

  • who mapped every home and every road in Puerto Rico.

  • And here you can see the maps those volunteers made taking shape.

  • Responders then used those maps to assess the state of buildings and roads

  • and to provide emergency funds, WiFi and phone-charging points

  • to people whose homes were damaged.

  • All crises,

  • including the COVID-19 pandemic we're living through right now,

  • have devastating characteristics.

  • But many of them have one thing in common:

  • the people hit the hardest are often literally not on the map.

  • Right now, more than one billion people live in places that are not mapped.

  • If you look those places up online,

  • you'll see nothing but a blank.

  • And that blank isn't just a huge statement of disrespect

  • to our fellow human beings,

  • it's an injustice,

  • causing very direct, very real and very avoidable human suffering.

  • So what does not being on the digital map actually look like?

  • I live in Peru, and a few months ago,

  • some community health workers asked us to help them map.

  • Obviously, where they were wasn't mapped,

  • so to get there, we asked a local mayor to draw the route.

  • This is what he drew.

  • This piece of paper was hard to follow. (Laughs)

  • We didn't really know what these lines were.

  • He put some numbers on there that he assured us were travel times,

  • but as we were driving along,

  • these did not correspond to our reality.

  • But this isn't about me getting lost

  • or about shaming someone's bad drawing skills.

  • Think how inefficient it is to manage a team

  • who need to work in this place

  • without a map to tell them where they need to go.

  • Then, once they're in the right village,

  • how can they collect some data and associate it to that place?

  • Those community health workers know that needs in this region are high,

  • particularly anemia and malnutrition among children.

  • They just don't know where those children are,

  • or what is causing that problem.

  • They want to be able to locate the home of every child under five,

  • but how can they do that without a map?

  • After a brief training, we went out to make a map,

  • and this is what those community health workers produced.

  • This map has everything you need to navigate,

  • like the rivers and bridges,

  • but it also has every local landmark, the school, the football pitch, the plaza.

  • And I'm pleased to say that a few weeks ago,

  • we got a call from those community health workers,

  • and they're using this map in their response containing COVID-19.

  • So you might be thinking:

  • Why aren't these places on commercial maps?

  • In short, mapping the most vulnerable places in our world

  • just hasn't been a priority for for-profit companies,

  • whose business models typically rely on advertising and data sales.

  • This leaves out the poorest communities

  • and means that individual aid organizations create maps

  • for the small areas that they're working in

  • in offline systems which rapidly become out-of-date when a project ends.

  • So what we have here is a lack of easily shareable

  • and easily updatable data.

  • But we also have a solution.

  • We map with a tool called OpenStreetMap,

  • which was founded in 2006

  • and is a free, open-source tool which anyone can use to map the world.

  • Just as anyone can read or edit an article on Wikipedia,

  • anyone can use or edit the map in OpenStreetMap,

  • and the resulting map is public good,

  • free and open for anyone to use,

  • creating one map for all of us.

  • It works in two phases.

  • Buildings and roads might not be on the map yet,

  • but you can see them clearly in satellite imagery.

  • Volunteers working anywhere in the world turn satellite images into maps

  • through drawing the buildings and roads

  • on top of them.

  • We call this a base map.

  • On average, each time a volunteer logs in,

  • they map an area less than 10 kilometers squared,

  • but add all those contributions together,

  • and you can map entire cities in just a couple of days.

  • And second, local mapping.

  • People living and working in the places we're mapping

  • take that base map and color it in,

  • for example, identifying: Is this building a school or a hospital?

  • Those people add information you can't see in a satellite image.

  • We found people able and eager to map

  • in even the most challenging situations worldwide,

  • and we've optimized the tools to work on smartphones

  • costing as little as 30 dollars.

  • Additionally, the tools work offline,

  • so people without regular access to cell service can still contribute,

  • adding things to the map as they go about their daily lives,

  • and then uploading when they get access to cell service or WiFi.

  • In 10 years, we've seen people from all walks of life take part.

  • Refugees have mapped broken water points.

  • Rural women have added place names in Indigenous languages.

  • And, in doing so, people become active agents of change

  • in their communities.

  • Since 2010, HOT has engaged over 200,000 volunteers

  • who have mapped an area home to more than 150 million people

  • in OpenStreetMap.

  • Those maps have been used by search and rescue operations

  • to free hundreds of people trapped in collapsed buildings

  • after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

  • They've been used to provide polio vaccinations to children

  • across all of rural Nigeria.

  • And they've mapped the camps, routes and new homes

  • of more than eight million refugees fleeing South Sudan, Syria and Venezuela.

  • We work with the biggest humanitarian organizations in the world

  • to make sure these maps have impact --

  • the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF to name a few --

  • and we currently have a queue of more than 2,000 places

  • needing to be mapped.

  • So that's the story so far.

  • But wouldn't it be great if these places were on the map

  • before they were in crisis?

  • Now we're ready for a step change.

  • Over the past few years,

  • we've gained access to global, regularly updated satellite imagery.

  • Machine learning and AI are helping human mappers

  • to work more efficiently.

  • And worldwide, more and more people are willing and able

  • to map their communities.

  • Over the next five years,

  • we'll engage one million volunteers who will map an area

  • home to the one billion most vulnerable people

  • across 94 countries.

  • To achieve this,

  • we need to do three things.

  • First, we need to grow our community to one million mappers,

  • who will build a world where everyone everywhere is represented.

  • We'll set up a network of regional hubs

  • to train and support those volunteers

  • to map the vulnerable places in their own countries.

  • Second, we need to invest in technology.

  • Right now, you can add something like a building or a local landmark

  • to the map in just a few seconds,

  • but learning to map

  • and mapping easily and quickly on a mobile

  • can be a problem.

  • We need to invest in technologies

  • to make mobile edits to the map possible at a massive scale.

  • And third, we need to raise awareness.

  • Aid projects across the world need to know

  • that these maps are free and available for them to use

  • and that they can request maps for the areas that they're working in.

  • For me, this is one of the most wonderful things about this project.

  • It isn't really about HOT or any single organization.

  • It's about creating a foundation

  • on which so many organizations will thrive.

  • Whatever we do,

  • disasters and crises will still happen,

  • and humanitarians will still respond to them.

  • Development programs will continue,

  • but without maps, they'll lack critical information

  • about what to expect in the community before they get there.

  • With open, free, up-to-date maps,

  • those programs will have more impact than they would do otherwise,

  • leading to a meaningful difference in lives saved or improved.

  • But it's so much more than that.

  • It's 2020, and one billion people in our world are not visible.

  • That's wrong.

  • This is a tool through which every citizen of Planet Earth

  • can become known and seen,

  • to literally be put on the map.

  • My peers complain about being too overconnected,

  • so how can it be possible for more than a billion people

  • to remain invisible?

  • Luckily, this is a problem even the laziest among us

  • can help to solve.

  • If you can swipe left or right,

  • you can help.

  • Map this morning

  • and influence life-changing decisions this afternoon.

  • Frontline health workers and humanitarians are literally waiting for you.

  • Thank you.

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017,

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B1 map mapped community health people mapping billion people

Can we call it a "world map" if it's missing a billion people? | Rebecca Firth

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/01
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