How Online Mapmakers Are Helping the Red Cross Save Lives in the Philippines

November 12, 2013

It will be months before we know the true damage brought about by super typhoon Haiyan. The largest death tolls now associated with the storm are only estimates. Aid workers from across the world are now flying to the island nation, or they just recently arrived there. They—and Filipinos—will support survivors and start to rebuild. But they will be helped by an incredible piece of technology, a worldwide, crowd-sourced humanitarian collaboration made possible by the Internet. What is it? It’s a highly detailed map of the areas affected by super typhoon Haiyan, and it mostly didn’t exist three days ago, when the storm made landfall. Since Saturday, more than 400 volunteers have made nearly three quarters of a million additions to a free, online map of areas in and around the Philippines. Those additions reflect the land before the storm, but they will help Red Cross workers and volunteers make critical decisions after it about where to send food, water, and supplies. These things are easy to hyperbolize, but in the Philippines, now, it is highly likely that free mapping data and software—and the community that support them—will save lives:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/11/how-online-mapmake...

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