By CAROLINE ANSTEY
….Citizen cartographers can be a powerful force. In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, rescue workers used real-time data uploads on Open Street Map, via text and cellphone messages, to help create up-to-date maps of Haiti and find the injured. Engineers from around the globe gathered “virtually” to assess the damage.
….It’s a simple but harsh reality that most developing countries don’t have basic local data about where schools or hospitals are located. A recent mapping study of 100 health facilities and schools in Kenya found that only 25 percent of the clinics and 20 percent of the schools matched official data. Nearly 75 percent of locations needed to be updated.
….In the 17th century, imperial cartographers had an advantage over local communities. They could see the big picture. In the 21st century, the tables have turned: Local communities can make the biggest on the ground difference. Crowdsourced citizen cartographers can help make it happen.