Home Natural Hazard Management Google, World Bank team up to improve disaster preparedness

Google, World Bank team up to improve disaster preparedness

US: Google announced a partnership with the World Bank to make Google Map Maker data more accessible to government organisations in disaster scenarios. Google Map Maker is the tool for crowd-sourcing the editing and maintenance of Google’s world map. Its user-generated data include locations of hospitals, schools, settlements, water sources and minor roads.
Access to these data will help governments, NGOs, researchers and individuals plan without waiting for the changes to be approved and added to the official maps. World Bank partner organisations, such as government and UN agencies, can contact World Bank offices to request access to the data. Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Moldova, Mozambique, Nepal and Haiti will pilot the project.
According to media reports, this partnership could improve response time and effectiveness in crises in underserved areas of the world. Moreover, through this partnership, Google aims to compete with Ushahidi and other open-source platforms. Access to Google Map Maker data is privileged, and Google has chosen the mother of all elite gatekeepers, the World Bank, to facilitate this programme.
The World Bank has supported much-needed online mapping efforts, such as the April 2011 project in South Sudan that enabled Google to put the new country on the map. It has also financially backed apps supporting economic development in a worldwide contest for software developers. In partnership with academic institutions, the World Bank has also backed a Web-based knowledge platform for urban development.
These are all great efforts, but they establish a familiar pattern for the World Bank. In Web technology, just as in global economic development, the World Bank has positioned itself as an unavoidable, privileged gatekeeper, and this time Google helped.
Google Map Maker is a moderated Google program, and Google has selected the World Bank as an arbiter of its data.
Source: www.readwriteweb.com