American Red Cross

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2015 Was a Good Year for Creating the World's 'Missing Maps' with OpenStreetMap

The Missing Maps project, which launched in 2014, aims to literally and figuratively put more than 20-million at-risk people on the map using OpenStreetMap (OSM) as a platform. We need to fill in "missing maps" before the next disaster strikes, ensuring the maps have detail sufficient for emergency responders to hit the ground running. OpenStreetMap is an open and free source of geographic data. Anyone with a username can add, edit, or update data, so the Missing Maps project is community driven and focuses on local knowledge. Remote volunteers around the world use satellite imagery to trace features, such as roads and buildings. Community members and volunteers in the area then use the base map to add local data to these shapes, including street names, addresses, building types, and points of interest. As we look back at 2015, here are a few success stories from the Missing Maps project...

6 Smartphone Apps To Help Fight Hurricane Sandy's Fury

Ian Paul | TechHive | October 29, 2012

If you live in the Northeastern United States and are bracing for Hurricane Sandy's wallop, your smartphone can become a handy tool if disaster strikes. Read More »

Engaging Citizens the Right Way: Government Uses Twitter During Hurricane Irene

Paul Greenburg | ZD Net | September 12, 2011

For the last several years there has been a lot of discussion about the use of web based social media for the engagement of citizens. Nowhere has this discussion been more active and persistent, nor more important, than in what I will call broadly the emergency preparedness and response (EPR) community. Read More »

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

Robinson Meyer | The Atlantc | 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. Read More »

How Open Government Is Helping With Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico

Just weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, two more "unprecedented" hurricanes made their way to the southeastern United States. Although changes in Hurricane Irma's path spared Florida from the bulk of the damage, both Irma and Maria directly hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hurricane Maria was particularly devastating for the more than 3.5 million American citizens living in these U.S. Caribbean territories. The CEO of Puerto Rico's sole electric company indicated that the grid had been "basically destroyed." Without electricity, communications were severely limited. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, embracing open government principles—such as open data, collaboration between citizens and government, and transparency—can save lives.

Online Army Helps Map Guinea's Ebola Outbreak

Hal Hodson | New Scientist | April 11, 2014

Health workers responding to an Ebola outbreak in Guinea had no maps to go on, so they turned to the internet for help

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Open Source at the American Red Cross

Megan DeGruttola | Open Source Delivers | January 15, 2015

When local and national disasters happen, organizations like the American Red Cross are there to provide emergency relief. Quickly and effectively mobilizing over a million volunteers is a technological challenge that regional American Red Cross divisions are turning to open source to solve. Read More »

Open-Source Mapping The World's Most Vulnerable Regions Will Save Lives

Sam Sturgis | CityLab | December 2, 2014

Urgent humanitarian aid missions are slowed when cities are largely unmapped. Missing Maps aims to change that with the help of volunteer cartographers and local residents. Read More »