Crisis Mapping Introduction: Recap

Thanks to all of our new Crisis Mappers for coming out last night to NMTF (New Media Task Force)’s  kickoff meeting! We thought it would be helpful to add the links and some of the details from the presentation here on the blog, so you can review and delve further into the topics we discussed.

Crisis Mapping: What is it? “Crisis Mappers leverage mobile & web-based applications, participatory maps & crowdsourced event data, aerial & satellite imagery, geospatial platforms, advanced visualization, live simulation, and computational & statistical models to power effective early warning for rapid response to complex humanitarian emergencies.” –

Read more about crisis mapping tools:

Ushahidi: A platform for mapping crowd-sourced information; open-source. (also the name of the non-profit tech company developing the software). “We built the Ushahidi platform as a tool to easily crowdsource information using multiple channels, including SMS, email, Twitter and the web.”

Crowdmap (“Cloud” version of Ushahidi): “When you need to get the Ushahidi platform up in 2 minutes to crowdsource information, Crowdmap will do it for you.”

NMTF’s Training Crowdmap from last night (mapped by you!) – Restaurants in NYC!

Here is a real deployment of Crowdmap: Madagascar’s Cyclone Giovanna deployment (Contact Chris, cmp2174, for more information on getting involved!)

Standby Task Force (SBTF): “a distributed, global network of 750+ volunteers who partner with established organizations to support live mapping efforts.” –Patrick Meier. Community offers deployment support and training in geo-location, media monitoring, SMS processing, report creation, verification…

Tomnod: Platform for satellite-imagery mapping. Used in SBTF’s Syria and Somalia deployments. Try out the tutorials here (more on main page).

NMTF as Crisis Mappers: NMTF is a young organization, but has already developed a strong reputation in the crisis mapping community. Take a look at this Al Jazeera report and video. NMTF works mostly under the umbrella of SBTF, and not just because of some strange acronym ranking rule. NMTF links its volunteers with the global network to provide real support at various levels of deployments.

Ethics and special circumstance: Ethics in crisis mapping has been a concern since its inception; what does responsible use of crisis mapping look like? Here is a post about the need for an ethical compass; here is Patrick Meier of SBTF’s response (which also gives a better explanation of who crisis mappers are then I have done!). An interesting and ongoing discussion. Also, I should point out that SBTF does provide training on deployments that deal with repressive regimes, as disinformation is a concern (as is revealing information/locations of protesters or others).

For more information, contact me or Megann (mcm2222)! Thanks mapsters (you can now proudly use that insider-term!)

-Chris (cmp2174)