Stairway to Humanitarian Mapping Education: Integrating Humanitarian Mapping into college Geography courses

Authors: Thomas Mueller*, California University of Pennsylvania
Topics: Human Rights, Geography Education
Keywords: Humanitarian Mapping, Geography Education
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Humanitarian Crowdsourcing Mapping occurs when volunteers mobilize and create spatial data to assist in the aftermath of a disaster. It is fairly easy and requires little geographic or GIS knowledge. Volunteers use Open Street Map (OSM), a Wikipedia for spatial data, and digitize buildings, roads, and other infrastructure using imagery. These types of mapping events achieved greater prominence after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Within four weeks of the disaster over six hundred volunteers added features to the Haitian OSM map. Volunteers may work at their own house or office, however they also may go to a central location and work with other volunteers, this is usually referred to as a mapathon. YouthMappers wants to solidify a network of volunteers by encouraging “...a generation of young leaders to create resilient communities and to define their world by mapping it....” ( by building YouthMapper groups at universities. This paper will examine a nascent YouthMappers program at California University of Pennsylvania (CalU) by describing the author’s integration of humanitarian mapping into classes from freshman level to junior / senior classes. In the Introduction to Geography class, the author will highlight the use of explaining atrocities and MapSwipe. While in Demographic Analysis, students completed mapping to combat female genital mutilation. The author will also highlight the Fall 2017 project in which the CalU YouthMappers assisted in mapping areas around the world in response to monsoon, hurricanes and earthquakes.

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