It’s amazing how far the geospatial community has come in the quick and largely volunteer effort to respond to large-scale disasters. There are now dedicated sites and corps of crisis mappers that map from afar, and visit the site of the disaster to help relief agencies and governments in their response. Among the activities ongoing or planned are:
- GeoEye imagery from before and after the quake is available on Google Maps and Google Earth
- Digital Globe is offering free access to both pre- and post-earthquake imagery until January 28, 2010 with our ImageConnect plug-in for GIS software.
- ESRI has a disaster response and assistant team that’s ready to help with software, data, imagery, project services, and technical support
- Google has opened up their Map Maker data for Haiti to the UN for relief work
- Ushahidi, a site started as an African Open-Source Project, has set up open source mapping at Haiti.Ushahidi.com
- The Relief Map Warper, a service of the New York Public Library, provides a means to rectify maps and images against a real map
- Fortius One’s GeoCommons has a four-layer map of quake reports
- There’s an OpenStreetMap Wiki with links to data, and a call to action to add more details to the map
- The MapAction Emergency Mapping Service has sent a team to Haiti
- The GISCorps is mobilizing
GIS has clearly proven itself as a means to provide some order and assessment in the chaos of major disasters. It’s good to see the rapid response of seasoned professionals that can make a difference.