Hurricanes and Earthquakes -- Mapbox Takes on Emergency Mapping

Hurricanes and Earthquakes — Mapbox Takes on Emergency Mapping

We’ve talked about emergency mapping sporadically over the course of the first half of this term. Oddly enough, the world has been lacking in “emergencies” to map as of late, but last week proved to be an important time for cartographers, both amateur and professional.

Mapbox sent out a note on October 30 alerting people to a slew of mapping resources made available on their platform in response to Hurricane Patricia in Mexico and the 7.5 magnitude earthquake near the Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan.

The following resources are fantastic examples of crowd-sourced emergency mapping. And perhaps the most stunning part of this project is how a cartography company can become a humanitarian organization overnight in response to global needs.

“This past week was intense – the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere made landfall, just missing major population centers and avoiding catastrophic damage. Three days later, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck near the Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan. Immediately the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team activated, and hundreds of volunteers around the world began mapping these vulnerable areas to help first responders, aid organizations, and the local governments.

The response to both disasters was amazing, with hundreds of volunteers mapping thousands of miles of roads and hundreds of thousands of buildings. This is about making a better map for everyone. In times of great struggle you can often see the greatest virtues of community coming together and last week was no exception.

Here are a few highlights of how Mapbox helped with coordination, data tracing, and imagery:

To learn more about the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and to receive alerts for their next activation, visit the HOT OSM site. If you’re ready to get started, dive right into the OSM Tasking Manager!”

Mapbox-Emergency-Example