Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Czech volunteers help draw maps for Doctors Without Borders

ČTK |
23 July 2018

Brno, July 21 (CTK) - Students of Brno's Masaryk University are among the volunteers from all over the world who help draw maps based on satellite photos for the Doctors Without Borders humanitarian organisation, Jan Bohm, the Missing Maps project's coordinator in the Czech Republic, has told CTK.

The Doctors Without Borders use the maps in epidemiologic analyses and vaccination campaign planning, for example.

Almost 60,000 people joined the project worldwide in the past four years, drawing maps with over 800,000 kilometres of roads and paths.

"Many of the regions were we operate do not mapped in commercial maps. If we do not know where people in the given region live, we may forgot about them [in medical campaigns]," Boehm, from the Doctors Without Borders, said.

He said anyone can draw roads and building in maps based on satellite photos.

Further potential aides can find the instructions and the dates of mapathons, i.e. meetings where people learn to draw maps, on the project's website.

Volunteers can work on the maps from their homes, but he who repeatedly attends mapathons, can gradually advance to the higher position of a validator, with the task to check the new maps and either approve them or correct or return to the author for corrections.

The Doctors Without Borders have already used the project data to survey the medical needs of 10,000 children in south Sudan, where they needed to coordinate their vehicles' operation so that they return to the base in time without spending nights outside.

"In that area, the latest census dates back to 2008. Having such data means having nothing," Bohm said about south Sudan.

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