Volunteered Geographic Information and Crowdsourcing Disaster Relief: A Case Study of the Haitian Earthquake

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This 2012 article focuses on crowd sourced information (crowdsourcing) and its use in disaster relief. The article outlines the ways in which information technologies (ITs) were used during the Haiti relief effort, and particularly with respect to web-based mapping services. While there were numerous ways that technologies were used, the article focuses on four in particular: CrisisCamp Haiti, OpenStreetMap, Ushahidi, and GeoCommons. The authors’ analysis demonstrates that ITs were a key means through which individuals could make a tangible difference in the work of relief and aid agencies without actually being physically present in Haiti. Although not without challenges, this effort represents a remarkable example of the power of crowdsourced mapping and the potential new avenues of interaction between physically distant and diverse locations.

This article will be of interest to researchers and practitioners interested in better understanding the ways in which crowd sourced information can be utilized, and in particular within the context of disaster mapping, relief efforts, and crisis management. The article offers a great example of the ways in which PVE researchers and practitioners in crisis mapping and management can apply crowd sourced information.

Full article is available here >>

Matthe Zook, Mark Graham, Taylor Shelton, and Sean Gorman

August 2012