Red Cross asks for help in mapping disaster areas in Nepal

The Red Cross has called on volunteers to map certain parts of Nepal via OpenStreetMap. That way, rescuers would be better able to reach affected areas. Nepal and neighboring countries have been hit by severe flooding.

According to the aid organization, there are about 16 million victims from the floods. There is a call to map parts of Nepal using an OpenStreetMap tool. The Missing Maps project site, which supervises so-called mapathons, states that volunteers can work with open software to provide maps with additional information. The current project concerns, for example, roads, buildings, water and open areas.

The site shows that 132 people are currently working on the most urgent Nepal project and about 40 percent of the tasks are still open. According to the Red Cross, anyone can sign up to participate and the work is then checked by an experienced volunteer. The aid organization would then be able to start working with the cards almost immediately.

A few days of work could make a big difference. This is not the first time that disaster areas have been mapped in this way. In 2010, for example, this already happened for areas in Haiti that had been hit by an earthquake. Even then it was about volunteers from OpenStreetMap. An OpenStreetMap account is required to participate. Volunteers can then view the instructions and consult an overview of the projects.

Before (left) and after mapping an area