Missing Maps is a humanitarian project that pre-emptively maps out the world’s disaster-prone populations. [1] It was founded in November 2014 by the American Red Cross , British Red Cross , Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team , and Doctors Without Borders / Doctors Without Borders and have so far in South Sudan , the Democratic Republic Of the Congo , and the Central African Republic . [2]


The idea to create the Missing Maps project was born out of a realization by the American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and Médecins Sans Frontières that are pivotal to delivering humanitarian aid. [3] In civil wars, for example, maps can help individuals and organizations track the movement of internally displaced populations and determine where best to conduct food and non-food item distributions. [1] Or, in the case of outbreaks, emergency responders can use maps to identify the source of the outbreak and identify the most effective infection control methods. [4] Baraka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the end of 2014 became one of the pilot projects. [5]

The epidemic of the epidemic of the epidemic of the epidemic of the epidemic of the epidemic. [6] It is important to note that in the first phase, Once these maps are validated by expert mappers, they are then sent to the teams to be updated and revised. [7]


  1. To map the most vulnerable places in the developing world, in order that the international and local NGOs, and individuals can use the maps and data to better respond to crises affecting the areas. [8]
  2. To support OpenStreetMap, and specifically the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), in developing technologies, skills, workflows and communities in order to achieve this.


  • Openness: Using OpenStreetMap’s OpenStreetMap’s open license. [9]
  • Collaboration: All local mapping and data collection is to be done in collaboration with local people and in a respectful manner at all times. [10]
  • Sustainability: When mapping a city, there is a need for mapping afterwards. Missing Maps projects emphasize building, and leaving behind, local capacity and access. Rapid data collection without significant local involvement is to be avoided. [11]
  • Involvement: Members of the Missing Maps project actively contribute to the Missing Maps project objectives, the OpenStreetMap repository and benefitting communities, both local and international. [12]
  • Participation: Missing Maps activities are designed to be accessible and open for participation. [13]

Mapping process

The mapping process is largely driven by demands in the field. [14] HOT tasking manager for remote mapping. Once an area has been mapped and validated, the maps are sent to field staff who work with local people to the mapped areas and inputs of streets and key buildings and check for errors. [15] After this step, the maps are deemed ready for use and made available online for free.

Identifying areas of vulnerability

As the mapping is done preemptively, the first step largely involves MSF, the British Red Cross, and the Red Cross engaging in dialogue together to identify key areas of vulnerability. [1] They understand the challenges of implementing field projects and are often involved in delivering frontline humanitarian assistance. Sometimes these challenges are about understanding the locations of malnourished children or the direction that a disease is spreading. [8] The Missing Maps project is an online resource for remote mapping. [16]

Remote mapping

The HOT tasking manager, the three humanitarian organizations and HOT alert their supporters through social media, e-mail, and communities to the mapping need. [17] Volunteers trace buildings, streets, swamps, rivers, and all other landmarks to satellite imagery using the tasking manager. [4] Then volunteer validators check the map that has been mapped or not. [18]

Field mapping

After the maps have been declared ready for field mapping, they are printed out by humanitarian volunteers on the ground. [19] They work in collaboration with locals from the community to collect local data about road names, settlements, the natural landscape, and the exact locations of the people they are trying to help. This information is then put into the online map and declared ready for use.

Data entry

With detailed maps validated in the field by locals themselves, humanitarian organizations can use the mapping information. [3]


  1. ^ Jump up to:c “Missing Maps Project: Volunteers Map the Way to Disaster Response” . Directions Magazine . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  2. Jump up^ “Missing Maps: Filling in the Blanks” . Philanthrophy Age . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b “Hundreds of uncharted cities will get maps thanks to crowdsourcing” . Fast Company Design . Retrieved 5 August2015 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:b “Missing Maps: nothing less than a human genome project for cities” . The Guardian . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  5. Jump up^ Michael, Chris (6 November 2014). “Missing Maps: What is Baraka … and how can you help map it?” . The Guardian . Retrieved 26 November 2015 .
  6. Jump up^ “Missing maps and ebola” . The Economist . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  7. Jump up^ “Call of the crowd: how people power is reshaping aid” . Philanthropy Age . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:b “Missing Maps” . BBC World Service: Click . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  9. Jump up^ “Ethics” . Missing Maps .
  10. Jump up^ “Using tech to chart the ‘unmapped world ‘ ” . Toronto Sun .
  11. Jump up^ “ICS volunteers help launch Missing Maps pilot” . Y Care International . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  12. Jump up^ “Missing Maps: Where Google does not go” . Science 151 . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  13. Jump up^ “Missing Maps” . Trajectory Magazine . Retrieved 5 August2015 .
  14. Jump up^ “The Missing Maps project is mapping developing cities to curb the spread of ebola” . City Metric . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  15. Jump up^ “Missing Maps: Putting the World’s Vulnerable People on the Map” . Reset . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  16. Jump up^ Meyerfeld, Bruno (3 July 2015). “Africa, an” unknown land “for Google Maps” . Le Monde Africa (in French) . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  17. Jump up^ “Crisis Mapping” Is Shaping Disaster Relief in Nepal ” . National Geographic . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  18. Jump up^ “Is it a rock? Using technology to chart the ‘unmapped world ‘” . Thomson Reuters Foundation . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .
  19. Jump up^ “The Missing Maps Project wants to map the world suing a global network of volunteers” . Washington Post . Retrieved 5 August 2015 .

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