Humanitarian Mapping at HU helps Emergency Responders

Maps are very vital to emergency responders around the globe when responding to a crisis like Hurricane Harvey.  Every year,  Harrisburg University of Science and Technology faculty and students do a Humanitarian Mapping project.  On Friday September 22nd from 3 pm to 7 pm ,   Albert Sarvis, Assistant Professor of Geospatial Technology, will host a free Humanitarian Mapping event in room 1114 here at Harrisburg University.

Humanitarian Mapping is an extension of Open Street Maps, a crowd-sourced mapping platform that looks to democratize the mapping experience.  Many organizations call upon this organization to help them for disaster response in areas that do not have current or accurate maps.  Satellite Imagery companies donate high resolution data for this effort and citizens like us provide the effort to create detailed maps from this data.

You do not need to have any GIS or mapping experience to be productive.  Most folks are up and running as productive mappers in just 10-15 minutes.

“Natural Disasters tend to have the highest impact on disadvantaged citizens who were already the most vulnerable in general.  This is certainly evident on the Gulf coast right now but we are lucky to have a grasp of the vital infrastructure necessary to plan and provide emergency response.  Maps are vital to this.  Just look in the background of every press conference and you will see maps by the National Weather Service, FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, etc.,” says Sarvis. “Many parts of the world do not have robust maps of their infrastructure, let alone roads, structures and vulnerable citizens.   They also do not have the resources to produce these vital maps in a timely manner.  A global pool of volunteers have been mobilizing in times of natural disaster or disease outbreaks to help map the current conditions. “

Humanitarian Mapping has recently contributed to mapping rural communities in Africa and South East Asia and provides emergency responses to natural disasters such as the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Nepal, and Chile.  Last year  over 20 volunteers mapping roads and paths in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The work better enabled Doctors Without Borders to respond to remote locations to curb infectious disease outbreaks.

You can check out the organization https://www.hotosm.org/

The event is free and open to the public. An RSVP is required: www.HarrisburgU.edu/RSVP

The University is located at 326 Market Street in Harrisburg, PA.