Google Map Maker and UNITAR Collaboration Shines at Shanghai World Expo

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 4:30 PM


This past weekend at the 2010 World Expo, UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Google gave a joint presentation and informational session about their recent work together in global humanitarian mapping.

Illustrating his remarks with information about the Pakistan 2010 flood relief efforts, UNITAR Geospatial Analyst Josh Lyons explained how Google Map Maker helps his organization quickly and accurately produce geospatial products and emergency response maps. By leveraging the high quality, up-to-date information provided by users in Google Map Maker, UNITAR is able to produce and distribute helpful composite map products using tools such as UNITAR’S Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). These products played a key role in facilitating modern humanitarian relief for the recent disaster in Pakistan.

UNITAR/UNOSAT map for Pakistan flood analysis, with transport data from Google Map Maker

Dr. Carlos Lopes, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR, expressed his excitement both to work with Google and that UNITAR/UNOSAT resources that had previously been spent on mapping data collection could now be invested directly into analysis. He remarked that users and beneficiaries aided by this collaborative effort include operational UN agencies, international NGOs and national entities from government and civil societies, and of course, the people directly affected by disasters and other crises.

We hope that the interest and increased awareness that the Shanghai World Expo event generated about Google Map Maker helps to build an even stronger user community. It’s the online mapping contributions of volunteers across the globe that enable Map Maker to be a valuable tool for humanitarian activities like this as well as a source of quality maps in the developing world. Let’s continue mapping the world together!

Posted by Andrea Fang Chu, Google Maps Software Engineer