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Volunteers Collaboratively Map West Africa Ebola Outbreak

by Travis Korte
A visualization of daily updates to OpenStreetMap in response to an Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

After the Ebola virus broke out in Guinea late last month, the international Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) sprung into action, coordinating dozens of volunteers to collaboratively create online maps of the region that will support local humanitarian efforts. OpenStreetMap, an online platform where users can freely access and edit maps based on satellite imagery, forms the basis of geographical applications on FourSquare and Craigslist, and HOT strives to leverage the platform’s collaborative tools to rapidly respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.

In the first five days since the outbreak began, the team and volunteers had mapped over 100,000 buildings and hundreds of miles of roads in the region. A visualization of HOT’s progress from mapping software company MapBox shows the progress of these efforts over time. 

Take a look.

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