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Friday, November 15, 2013

Crowdsource Mapping Helps Recovery Efforts In Philippines

This screenshot shows the editing activity to the OpenStreetMap for the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. (Pascal Neis resultmap)

This screenshot shows the editing activity to the OpenStreetMap for the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. (Pascal Neis resultmap)

The United Nations says 11 million people are affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hammered the islands a week ago today. The death toll is now more than 3,000, and the survivors are still struggling to get the food and water they so desperately need.

Blocked roads, destroyed buildings and downed telecommunications systems are making it difficult for relief workers to reach some of the most devastated regions of the Philippines.

Paul Moss/Twitter)" href="//s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2013/11/1115_philippines-food.jpg">The BBC's Paul Moss tweeted this photo of hungry typhoon survivors waiting for food. (Paul Moss/Twitter)

The BBC’s Paul Moss tweeted this photo of hungry typhoon survivors waiting for food. (Paul Moss/Twitter)

But more than 900 people are lending a hand remotely by collaborating on online maps, through the OpenStreetMap network. The maps use satellite technology and the knowledge of the public to help relief organizations, like the Red Cross, know where buildings and roads are located and how and where to best deliver supplies.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Dale Kunce, a geospatial engineer with the American Red Cross.

“Roads and buildings are the most important things for us,” Kunce says. “We need to map the roads so that we know where to go, so that we know how to get around, basically. We wanted to map all of the buildings so that we could map what was there before, so that we could start to do damage assessments to understand the overall calamity of what happened, so that we could then prioritize different areas.”

We also hear reports from the BBC’s Paul Moss in the port city of Ormoc, on Leyte Island, and the BBC’s Rajesh Mirchandani in the heavily damaged city of Tacloban.

Video: Dale Kunce on Humanitarian OpenStreetMap at the Red Cross

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