Data Visualization A visualization of daily updates to OpenStreetMap in response to an Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Travis Korte


Volunteers Collaboratively Map West Africa Ebola Outbreak

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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About the Author

Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.

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