Global Studies and Collaboration with CrisisMappers Japan

CrisisMappers Japan
Posted by:
Heather Leson
Date posted:
May, 27 2015
Working group:

[Ed.Note: Written by Taichi FURUHASHI(Prof. of GSC, Aoyama Gakuin Univ. / President of CrisisMappers Japan / Voting member of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team), Hisayo Kikuchi (Associate Prof. of GSC, Aoyama Gakuin Univ. ) and Hiro Aida(Prof. of GSC, Aoyama Gakuin Univ.]

On April 28, 2015, Prof. Furuhashi, of Aoyama Gakuin University's School of Global Studies and Collaboration held a seminar for some twenty beginning students studying Crisis Mapping.  The seminar took place at the Global Learning Commons, a free space for students to gather at Aoyama Gakuin’s Sagamihara campus. This online project is part of the relief efforts of volunteers for Nepal’s catastrophic earthquake.

Photo:A recture for newbie mappers at the Aoyama Gakuin Univ. (photo by Kenya Tamura)

Crisis Mapping is a volunteer activity designed to offer immediate, detailed mapping of the critical areas following natural disasters or infection outbreaks. The project is known as OpenStreetMap.

In the past, the projct’s crisis mapping activity followed events such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake / Tsunami, the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the 2013 massive mudslide in Izu Oshima island (Tokyo), the 2014 Ebola outbreak in the West Africa and the Hiroshima’s disasterous landslide in the same year .

OpenStreetMap Japan is staffed by business people, who may sometimes encounter scheduling conflicts due to other commitments.

There are some fifty active members of OpenStreetMap Japan on a given day. This is one tenth the number of such mappers in Germany, which has the largest corps in the world. Even though Japan’s dedicated mappers edit no less than 100 entries per day, it is not sufficient to meet the need at the time of crisis. In order to solve these problems, Crisis Mappers Japan, composed of university students, started on April 28.

Fortunately, Aoyama Gakuin University launched its new School of Global Studies and Collaboration in April, 2015. The purpose of the school is to provide global education, by collaborating with people worldwide in order to make the world a better place. The vice president of OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan, Prof. Furuhashi, began to work for the school as professor to promote GeoSpatial Information. Crisis Mapping is a core program of this department, with OpenStreetMap activity as a factor in its educational process.

TaiChi Furuhashi  Photo:Official website of the school of Global Studies and Collaboration, Aoyama Gakuin Univ. ( )

The students participating in Crisis Mapping activities are mainly from the department of Global Studies and Collaboration, but also include students from other departments of Aoyama Gakuin as well as other universities, such as Rakuno Gakuen University, Osaka City University, Ritsumeikan University, Tokyo Metropolitan University and Nara University.

Business people can also join in Crisis Mapping activities. OpenStreetMap Japan plans to invite mapping experts to support students. In addition, they ask international organizations, such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Google to support their activities. Crisis Mappers Japan team works as Japan’s team for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), and as Japan team for the global network Crisis The members also engage in other activities relating to crisis mapping, such as Ushahidi and

Digital Humanitarian and Partner organizations

 Fig:CrisisMappers Japan relationship for Domestic and International communities

CrisisMappers Japan plans to expand their activity field to the entire Asian region, which is the world’s most natural disaster-prone area. To begin with, their priority activity is to support earthquake-stricken Nepalese, while at the same time developing members’ skills and building up the organization.