Your help is needed.. if you have any local knowledge of Gaza please respond to Mikel’s request none of the online sites have adequate mapping and given the urgent nature of the situation this needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network
7 replies on “Gaza OpenStreetMap help needed”
This is a pretty interesting blog post coming from a Google Geoguy. You’ve gotten a lot of flak from the OpenStreetMap community regarding Google Map Maker and it’s cool to see you encouraging people to contribute to OSM. (Of course, Google Map Maker is not enabled for Gaza and Israel, and it’s interesting to note that Google Maps already has a somewhat decent coverage of the area, as this recent blog post observes.
The mapping if Google for Gaza is the best available from traditional sources, but in the case of this present crisis better mapping is needed quickly and OSM would be the best way to achieve this.
I’m not so sure OSM is quite capable of mapping Gaza in such a short fashion with the conflict currently ongoing. OSM works best when there are people with GPS loggers personally going down the streets and recording things; or when there is good satellite imagery available that armchair mappers can fill in the streets (though without names).
People cannot go to Gaza right now toting GPS receivers since it would be very dangerous to do so while humanitarian workers in the area are not likely to spend precious time mapping streets instead of coordinating relief efforts if they DO have GPS devices. Yahoo!’s satellite image of the area is only limited to the southwest portion and does not cover Gaza City.
If you check out the OSM wiki page for Gaza, it seems that they are looking to actually BUY satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe or other providers.
Google, on the other hand, has Gaza Strip completely covered in high-resolution imagery. So either Google can help by letting OSM trace over the imagery (maybe only Gaza Strip) (and this probably requires re-negotiations with the imagery providers) or Google enables Map Maker for Gaza.
Well if any of you ‘GIS whizzos’ want to go out there and need someone whose got shedloads of experience in remote IT and Sat Comms to support you then give me a yell, I’d be up for it.
That’s right, OSM is going shopping for aerial photography and should soon be able to match Google for quality in the area. We will then very rapidly be able to map the rest of the territory.
We do need the cash to buy the photography and have provided a way to pledge larger amounts though the OSM Gaza page. Of course if Google were offering their own photography to the project…. but we asked Ed that in Limerick and he muttered something about Google being too poor 😉
Let’s not knock Google though; they showed the world how well internet mapping should work a few years ago, and we need to show them how well open source mapping can work! Thank you Ed for your public support for this project.
When we have our photography our next challenge will be to find people who know the area and can add street names, locations of schools etc . Please put the word around and take a copy of the current map to your local Palestinian quarter and ask people there what they can contribute.
[…] Aid Worker Daily compares maps of Gaza from Google Maps, Virtual Earth and OpenStreetMap (via Mike); a call has gone out for improvements to OSM’s Gaza coverage (via Ed). […]
[…]We do need the cash to buy the photography and have provided a way to pledge larger amounts though the OSM Gaza page. Of course if Google were offering their own photography to the project…. but we asked Ed that in Limerick and he muttered something about Google being too poor […]