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News — 28 December, 2020

Population Counts: Aiming humanitarian mappers at populated areas with Disaster Ninja (by Kontur)

Correlating OpenStreetMap data with population density helps activate disaster mapping solely where it has humanitarian impact.

This article originally appeared on Kontur’s blog.

When a disaster strikes, better maps enable better response. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (also known as HOT) often coordinates emergency mappers at the request of organizations like the Red Cross, or as an OpenStreetMap initiative. The challenges HOT faces are to specify the area that should be mapped and pick out the datasets that serve as a basis for volunteers’ mapping efforts.

HOT follows a standardized process of doing preparatory work before the team asks the broader mapping community to help. For each disaster that threatens people’s lives, HOT prepares a Disaster Size-Up document that describes the disaster, its geographic scope, and its humanitarian impact.

Such preparatory work may take a while, from several hours to an entire working day. During fast-unfolding emergencies, a few hours here and there make a big difference. That’s where Kontur was able to streamline the process through technology.

Read the rest of the article on Kontur’s blog.