Contrary to popular belief, the entire world is not mapped. And, the parts of the world that are not mapped – Global South, informal settlements, refugee camps – are often the most vulnerable to natural and human-made disasters.
MapGive is a program from the US Department of State to seek volunteers to help identify and map features (road, buildings, houses) available from imagery for inclusion in Open Streets Map. These open source maps can be invaluable in supporting humanitarian and development projects in regions where good geographic information is a rarity.
Here is an example of a digital humanitarian using MapGive to organize a mapathon to support the Ebola response efforts. [Mapping for a Cause: MapGive Ebola Outbreak Mapathon]
Richard Florida discusses new research by Brandon Fuller and Paul Romer of NYU’s Marron Institute that projects the world’s urban population one century from now. [The Developing World’s Urban Population Could Triple by 2210]
By 2210, nearly 87 percent of the 11.3 billion people on Earth living in cities. The urban population will be split unevenly, with just 1.2 billion people living in the cities in developed world and 8.6 billion living in the cities of the developing world. As Fuller and Romer note – ‘Urbanization is peaking in places where “the capacity to govern is still in short supply.”’
Fuller and Romer recommend essentially starting from scratch, setting aside public spaces and creating functional and equitable governance in contrast with the ineffective and at times corrupt systems that currently govern many rapidly urbanizing parts of the world. They point to two examples where this has worked well – China’s Shenzhen city, which has grown into a metropolis of ten million in just the last three decades, and the expansion of the Manhattan street grid during the 19th century