Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mapping the Ebola Response

The OpenStreetMap of Guéckédou before HOT mapping

The current Ebola outbreak started in Guéckédou, in southeastern Guinea. The disease soon spread to other nearby Guinea towns and then to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

One of the biggest problems for aid agencies and health organizations in responding to the crisis was the lack of good maps in the areas where Ebola has been most prevalent. This is why the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) started the 2014 West Africa Ebola Response.

HOT works to improve OpenStreetMap coverage to assist responses to disasters and crisis around the world. In West Africa HOT has been working hard to improve OpenStreetMap data in order to help aid agencies plan and co-ordinate their disaster response teams.

The OpenStreetMap of Guéckédou after the HOT 2014 West Africa Ebola Response

The result has been a huge improvement of OpenStreetMap coverage in West Africa, particularly in the areas most affected by the current Ebola outbreak. You can check out the improvements in OpenStreetMap in West Africa yourself by using Harry' Wood's Before and After OpenStreetMap tool. This tool uses a slider control which allows you to compare the current OpenStreetMap coverage to the OpenStreetMap coverage before the start of the HOT 2014 West Africa Ebola Response.

Here are links to the maps of  Guéckédou, Kissidougou and Macenta, three of the first towns to be hit by the current Ebola outbreak. You can use the Before and After OpenStreetMap tool in all three towns to view how OpenStreetMap had next to no coverage before the HOT response. Now all three towns have extensive road maps and medical and health facilitates are also mapped.

You can learn more about HOT by visiting the Ebola response wiki page.

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