From 5 to 6 July 2011 UN-SPIDER successfully conducted an International Expert Meeting on “Crowdsource Mapping for Preparedness and Emergency Response”. The meeting was organized with the support and cooperation of the Government of Austria and Secure World Foundation.
The expert meeting brought together 64 experts and practitioners from 27 countries representing space and remote sensing agencies, national, regional and international disaster management and civil protection agencies as well as various actors from the crowdsource communities, representing voluntary networks, NGOs, expert groups as well as universities, research institutions and the private sector. The Organizing Committee was overwhelmed by the enormous interest and the vast number of applications which has shown the perceived importance of the topic and the need to facilitate interaction among those groups.
The lively discussions during the meeting allowed feedback from experts on novel potential applications and products which could be elaborated by the crowdsource communities to support preparedness and emergency response; from the disaster management community regarding how information has to be generated and/or tailored to ensure that it can be used effectively; and how to build upon existing solutions to facilitate the sharing of information to the emergency management community.
The meeting also allowed to develop a first understanding of the strengths and challenges of the three different communities and to explore ways to move ahead in a joint manner. One of the recommendations from the meeting is to plan a simulation exercise where, for the first time, the three communities would work together in a coordinated manner.
This expert meeting was a first activity of a one-year project (“Space-based information for Crowdsource Mapping”) aiming at identifying specific actions that could ensure a closer cooperation among the space community, the disaster management community as well as the crowdsource mapping communities. A follow-up meeting will be held on 16 November 2011 in Geneva, back-to-back with the International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM 2011).
More information: Expert Meeting webpage