Many maps in developing parts of the world are out of date, inaccurate, or incomplete. Such maps can result in critical challenges, especially for emergency responders and organisations like the Red Cross and Médicins Sans Frontières.
King’s geographers are contributing to remedying this problem through the ‘citizen-geographer’ solution: involving students in charting important unmapped areas around the world using remote sensing and Geographic Information System tools. These Mapathon sessions, dubbed ‘KCL Humanitarian Mappers’, run on a bi-weekly basis at King’s, and were pioneered by staff Dr Faith Taylor, Dr James Millington and PhD student Michele Ferretti.
At a recent event, Taylor led a session that helped to map the case-study town of Karonga in Malawi, one focus of the ESRC-DfID funded project “Urban ARK” which looks at risk and vulnerability in urban Africa. The Mapathon concept has the potential to be applied in many poorly mapped regions, benefitting relief and humanitarian organisations.