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News — 04 October, 2019

MapSwipe 2.0: Support humanitarian response in five minutes with a mobile app

With two new projects types and an improved user experience, MapSwipe is making it easier than ever for volunteers to get involved in mapping, one swipe at a time.

In 2015, MapSwipe began as a solution to a complex question: How do we better identify where communities and populations are, allowing mapping to be more efficient and effective?

There are millions of people around the world affected by disasters, disease, and conflict. Humanitarians helping these communities often have to cover large areas, but don’t have the map information for an efficient, effective response.

MapSwipe enables volunteers to swipe through a series of satellite images, tapping in areas where they find crucial infrastructure, such as buildings and roads. This enables mappers to focus only on areas where they know features are located, saving time and producing a more accurate map for first responders. MapSwipe can be used anywhere and at any time, which makes it easy for volunteers to contribute to the Missing Maps project without being restricted to their laptop.

That was MapSwipe then – this is MapSwipe now.

Build Area.png

MapSwipe 2.0 introduces two new projects, transforming the way that volunteers can contribute to humanitarian responses globally with just a few simple taps on their phone. These improvements are:

  1. Building Footprint: Machine-learning and AI is changing the way we are mapping, but we still need volunteers to help us make the technology more accurate. This project allows volunteers to indicate where building traces identified by AI are inaccurate or of low-quality, signaling where improvements need to be made.
  2. Change Detection: Map data should constantly evolve to reflect the changes happening within a community. Volunteers compare old and new satellite imagery to indicate when change is detected in an image, signaling the need to revisit mapped areas and update data where needed.

Volunteers contributing to MapSwipe have also been working to improve the user experience, ensuring that the mobile app functions on any mobile device in any geography. The new in-app tutorials coach MapSwipe volunteers on how to successfully and accurately contribute to projects.

To date, over 29,000 volunteers have covered an area totaling more than 600,000 sq. km. (that’s larger than the entire country of France!) using MapSwipe.

And we are just getting started.

If you want to learn more about MapSwipe, are interested in submitting a project, or want to get involved on the team that develops and maintains the app, visit for more information and to download the app.