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MapAction is pleased to announce their membership of Missing Maps, a collaborative volunteer-based project that aims to map 200 million people in disaster-prone areas by 2021.

Missing Maps uses the skills of volunteers to map the most vulnerable places in the world. The best way to build up a map is to hold a mapathon; getting motivated volunteers in the same room for a few hours to concentrate on mapping the same area for the same purpose. Over the past two years, mapathons have been held in 47 countries enabling volunteers in each country and online to trace satellite imagery into OpenStreetMap. Community volunteers add local detail such as neighbourhoods, street names and evacuation centres. Humanitarian organizations can then use that mapped information to plan risk reduction and disaster response activities.

Over 30 million people have been mapped since the project started. A joint venture founded in 2014 by American Red CrossBritish Red Cross, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and Médicin Sans Frontières, Missing Maps’ goal is to have mapped 200 million people by 2021. New members have joined the project united by the project’s common purpose and ethics and it is now a thriving global community.

Recent examples of Missing Maps’ activities includes Red Cross volunteers using motorbikes to log 72 000km of GPS tracks during border mapping in West Africa in the absence of good satellite imagery. In Uganda HOT has been working with MapUganda to support the refugee response mapping priority areas that require urgent humanitarian assistance.

Partnering with Missing Maps means that MapAction can use these maps during a humanitarian emergency or when disaster strikes and overlay the situational information humanitarian agencies need to coordinate their aid effort. In return, MapAction can offer expertise from being on the ground in affected countries to highlight potential gaps in mapping and data needs and task the volunteer mappers.

Missing Maps members and MapAction share a strong volunteer-based ethic and drive to provide open mapping information for the benefit of vulnerable people. Missing Maps guarantees all its data will be free, open and available under OpenStreetMap license.

Missing Maps also supports OpenStreetMap, specifically HOT, in developing technologies, skills, workflows and communities and MapAction is keen to work with Missing Maps in building those links with enthusiastic volunteers in vulnerable countries who want to map in disasters for themselves as well as the international humanitarian community.

We in MapAction are looking forward to an ongoing partnership that will ultimately benefit thousands of vulnerable communities across the world.

Regular mapathons take place in places as diverse as UK, Bangladesh, Philippines, Lebanon, Ghana and USA. More information on the Missing Maps website missingmaps.org.

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