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News — 29 May, 2015

OpenAerialMap Beta Goes Live

We are very excited to introduce the first release of OpenAerialMap! The current image catalog is still in beta but gives an insight of what OAM will provide to the community of HOT and OSM mappers in the very near future: a single place to find and share open imagery.

The OAM project was started earlier this year with gracious support by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund and with the goal to meaningfully improve rapid access to aerial imagery for disaster mapping and humanitarian response. After an initial period of project planning and design, Development Seed was hired to implement the catalog and application programming interface (API). Additional components that will allow users to upload and share image data are being designed and will be released soon. This means that anyone from traditional satellite image providers to individual drone mappers will be able to easily share imagery for humanitarian mapping!

Innovative image display methods implemented in OpenAerialMap offer the user a simple interface to finding, browsing, filtering and reviewing available data. The entire system is built using open source software and designed to dynamically scale in performance as the catalog grows with millions of images. You can read more details about the beta release on Development Seed’s blog and in the OAM GitHub repository.

Rapid proliferation of earth observation satellites and the advent of small unmanned aerial vehicles have significantly increased the amount, detail and timeliness of data available, but the time it takes for delivering useful imagery to decision makers, mappers and responders is still surprisingly long. This problem was sadly illustrated during the recent Nepal earthquake. An unprecedented amount of imagery data was made available by providers, but the very limited resources of international humanitarian organizations made it nearly impossible to efficiently search, review and access timely imagery data for response mapping. OpenAerialMap’s streamlined and centralized method of review, selection and access to the large amounts of imagery available is aimed at dramatically improve response effectiveness and coordination.

The OpenAerialMap project is currently lead by HOT with active participation by Cadasta Foundation, Azavea, Planet Labs, Stamen Design, Development Seed, OpenDroneMap and OSGeo community members. If you are interested in sharing or using open imagery please join us in this exciting project!

PS: did I mention OpenAerialMap now also has a cool looking logo? :-)