In times of national disasters aid agencies are often affected by the lack of accurate up-to-date maps. This is particularly true after massive earthquakes, such as the one that hit Haiti last week, when many roads have been damaged and have become unusable.
MapAction tries to meet the need for vital information in the form of maps, created from information gathered at disaster scenes. MapAction is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a substantial track record in field mapping for disaster emergencies. Since 2004 they have helped in 20 emergencies including the Asian tsunami, floods and tropical storms and now in Haiti.
One day after the Haiti earthquake MapAction deployed a four member team to the country. MapAction's Chief Executive Nigel Woof says: "Within days we expect that dozens - or probably hundreds - of aid organisations will be trying to make sense of the shattered landscape and communities in Haiti. Our job is to gather information that can be mapped to create a shared operational picture, so that people most in need get the right types of help".
Their maps have been crucial during the search and rescue phase on the ground. They are now creating a shared operational picture for relief deliveries. WFS and KML feeds have been created displaying Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) sectors for Port-au-Prince and 1:50 000 topographic maps for Haiti.
MapAction is a registered charity and you can support their efforts by donating here.
Google Maps for Haiti
Anyone who is involved in building Haiti Google Maps mashups can get the freshest content for Haiti by enabling Map Maker data in the API.
The following Google Map Maker map types are available:
* G_MAPMAKER_NORMAL_MAP displays the standard road map view
* G_MAPMAKER_HYBRID_MAP displays a mixture of normal and satellite imagery.
You can read more about the Google Map Maker Types in the Google Maps API Developer Guide.
Haiti Earthquake Before and After Imagery
Mibazaar has put together this Google Map that displays some of the latest post earthquake GeoEye satellite imagery of Haiti. The imagery helps to convey the sheer scale of the destruction caused by the earthquake.