I wasn’t familiar with OpenStreetMap before yesterday’s Skype session with Robert Banick. If you haven’t heard of it either, I highly recommend checking it out. After his lecture and our discussion, I looked up a little more on OpenStreetMap and I found this case study written by Steve Chilton. He points out the need for instant information, especially during disaster situations. Chilton even uses Hurricane Katrina as an example, stating that it serves as the perfect example of how not up-to-date maps may have a severe effect on how crises are handled. He specifically points out a problem the Red Cross had with Google Maps after the storm because they had no idea of the state of US 90 bridge. Only locals would have been able to share information like that, and a crowd sourcing map could have been the solution.

This example got me thinking as to how this platform could not only affect our city of New Orleans, but also the large effect it could have on the developing world. The really interesting aspect to this concept is the immediacy that new information can be uploaded to the maps. Chilton talks about how OpenStreetMap was able to map Gaza during and following the Israeli/Gaza conflict by compiling various resources and applying them to OpenStreetMap.

I think we will see much more of OpenStreetMap in the future, and if you want to learn more you can click here!


3 responses to “OpenStreetMap

  • kbruce2016

    I also got a lot out of the Skype session, and I think this is such a vital tool for the developing world. When I was living by the Haitian border of the Dominican Republic, there were no maps or streets signs of any kind. My host sister drew me her own map of the community to use while getting around. I’m glad I never ran into any issues, because if I had needed to get to the health clinic a few miles away very quickly, this pencil-drawn map on a ripped out sheet of notebook paper would not have been all that helpful. On a larger scale, in any sort of emergency situation, the quickest way for someone to find out where they were going would be to talk to people until they found someone who could help them out. An idea like OpenStreetMap would completely change developing regions like this one, both for individual emergencies such as health emergencies and for community emergencies like an earthquake.

  • bridgetslattery

    I think that OpenStreetMap is an extremely important tool. Having accurate maps is a vital first step to any development project. Robert Banick talk with us really emphasized this. If you don’t know where the help is needed you can’t access the people who need you. Especially in emergency situations when there are many people that are unfamiliar with the area coming in you need to have easily accessible public information about the area. If the roads, terrain, towns, and other important areas are not mapped this impedes all aid efforts.

  • jgallag2

    I didn’t really realize the importance of maps until this Skype session. Robert said that information management is a mundane task but ends up being the most important thing. This gave me a new perspective because I had definitely thought of it as the former without seeing the benefits it eventually brings. Robert did a great job of showing how maps specifically within information management are imperative because, in a most basic way, if you don’t know where the problem is you cannot fix it.

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