Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Humanitarian Mapping

The most recent version of "Words into Action", a periodical of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, features an interview with Patrick Meier, one of the co-founders of Crisis Mappers.  In the article, Patrick shares his thoughts on the advent of volunteers working together to remotely produce map products in support of disaster responders.  Based on recent experiences in Libya, he also offers his ideas about the connection of disaster maps to social media, and where this mix of technology is headed in the future.  To learn more, use the link below:

Comment: Good article - I enjoyed seeing this topic covered in an international disaster response organization publication.  However, one thing.  In reference to the first sentence of the third paragraph, I'd like to offer a correction.  When talking about the creation of Crisis Mappers, Dr. Meier states the concept of remote disaster mapping by volunteers was invented by what is now the Crisis Mapping organization when he states (emphasis added): "That’s because it had never been done before and it wasn’t even started by humanitarian organizations." Ah, not so fast.  I know we are out here in the sticks, but a little old organization by the name of the MnGeo EPC beat Crisis Mappers to the core concept by almost a year when EPC volunteers reacted to record flooding in the Red River Valley of the North during March of 2009.  In that instance, an extensive series of continuously updated 1KM and 10KM U.S. National Grid maps showing flood extent and location of critical infrastructure was produced for the entire valley north from Fargo-Moorhead to the Canadian Border.  Furthermore, that system employed its own online viewer which allowed responders to search and download available maps by location.  All implemented remotely, all implemented by volunteers. For more on that story, click here


  1. Dr. Meier's first name is Patrick, not Andrew.

  2. Talk about a bone-brain move on my part. Not sure how that happened. Only excuse I have is I wrote that blog at the end of a 18-hour day. Anyway, thanks for the correction - greatly appreciated. Nothing is more personal than a person's name and that I made that basic mistake while pointing out something I thought was a mistake, is rather ironic and silly - don't you think? Anyway, my most sincere apologies to Dr. Patrick Meier, his friends, and partners at Crisis Mappers.