Pakistan: Jabran and Omer created a website, https://www.local.com.pk/hunza/, that uses the Map Maker API — for raising awareness about the series of landslides hit Atta Abad, in the Gilgit-Baltistan semi-autonomous region of Pakistan. They want to make disaster data more accessible and useful. The website is now recognised as a primary source of information for the Hunza disaster, and as such is being listed on the UN-Spider knowledge portal.
The publishing of post-disaster imagery, made available by Google, allowed Map Maker users to provide unique mapping contributions (i.e. shelters, health centres, flood prone areas, etc), all to be brought online in near-realtime.
Jabran said, “The gap in information available to the public was obvious. After getting the latest imagery, we started mapping the area. We used Map Maker as our baseline data and started adding other feature of interest such as locations of towns, the extent of the lake, submerged bridges & highway sections.”
Omer currently lives in Lahore while Jabran resides in London. They live thousands of kilometres apart but have a shared commitment to map their country and assist their people as they cope with this disaster situation. “From the onset of the disaster, the international community seemed to be hardly aware of the situation. I was unable to locate Atta Abad on a map. As a mapper, my first appeal went out to the Google Map Maker team, and Google Maps Pakistan,” recalled Omer.
When asked about his motivations for becoming so involved in this effort, Omer said “We hope that our effort to make reliable information more widely available will help disaster relief managers and decision makers save lives and prevent more damage to the fragile economy of this remote region. In contributing to Map Maker, my desire is to establish a basic framework around which we can document, understand and bring transparency to the events taking place around me. We, as a mapping community, need to better demonstrate the benefits of online collaboration and the utility of tools such as Map Maker for rapid dissemination of information.”
Source: Google Lat Long Blog