Share Icon Share button for social media Directions icon Directions icon for sliders Directions icon Directions Down for banner

We use cookies to enhance your experience. By using our website you consent to our use of cookies.

I Agree

Mapathon: from Altrincham to Africa

Maps are used everywhere and are often taken for granted. They’re certainly not taken for granted however whenever an area is hit by a crisis…

How did that pizza arrive at your door last night? How do you know where things are? How do you know where you are? The answer: maps. Maps are used everywhere. Going to a new restaurant? You probably used a map. Ever been lost? You probably used a map. The postal service? They’re definitely using maps (Informed Solutions even helps to provide them). Maps are taken for granted.

They’re certainly not taken for granted however whenever an area is hit by a crisis. We’re all aware of the incredible work that happens whenever an area comes under crisis, selfless people from all across the world are flown in at a moment’s notice to lend aid. One of the most invaluable assets in these situations is maps, but they don’t always exist – in fact, they rarely do. A member of Informed Solutions, Rich Phillips, who volunteers with the international charity MapAction to provide this aid, had this to say about the value of maps: “In emergency situations the conditions in a region are often unclear, and a map brings everybody together to ensure that aid can be coordinated, and also delivered to the right place. It’s the best medium for communicating regardless of people’s background, language or expertise.”

Here’s a specific example of where mapping is essential: Médecins sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) are launching a new maternal and child health support program in the district of Moissala in Chad, but to do this they need a map containing the locations of all the buildings in the district. So a bunch of us at Informed Solutions decided to help, and organised a ‘mapathon’ (a coordinated mapping event) at our offices in Altrincham, Cheshire. While the event was self-organised by people with an interest in GIS, it was open to all.

On Friday 12th April, fifteen of us took two hours out of our day and mapped over 1500 buildings in Chad. These were mapped through OpenStreetMap, a collaborative crowdsourced free map of the world. This didn’t require any special skills, tools or knowledge – all it took was a laptop each, an internet connection and a fair few pizzas. To map the buildings we simply looked at (slightly blurry) satellite imagery of Moisalla and marked on the outlines of buildings, “digital tracing” as someone remarked.

Over half the people in the room had no prior experience with GIS, yet everybody came away feeling accomplished and proud to have contributed to a good cause. It really is amazing that just anybody can help out international aid efforts by donating some of their time to map out areas of the planet. I think the event really helped to negate the idea that GIS is inaccessible and requires specialist knowledge, as it was great to see people from a variety of backgrounds coming together and using tech for good.

Thanks, also, to Informed Solutions Group CEO, Elizabeth Vega, for allowing us to take time out of our day to both organise and hold the Mapathon which was appreciated by all involved, it turned into a very fun and rewarding experience.

If you want to help out these aid efforts too, head over to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team website and follow the instructions to start mapping.

If you’re interested in coming to work with the colleagues who took part in the mapathon, go to:

Graduate programme details: https://www.informed.com/uk/careers/graduate-programme/

Experienced-hire career growth opportunities: https://www.informed.com/uk/careers/experienced-professionals/

share this page
@InformedTweet How to make policing more effective in the digital age? Fascinating insights from Managing Consultant Sebastian Uhl… https://t.co/3TmZp2WaUE
@InformedTweet Rixy rocks Donny Teen Tech event!!! Informed Solutions Technical Director Matt Rix returned to his roots in Doncast… https://t.co/24oqAT5BwM
@InformedTweet Informed Solutions Group CEO @ElizabethTVega named among most influential women in UK tech by @ComputerWeekly. Gre… https://t.co/ssH14h6JK6
@InformedTweet Pleased to be providing a legal and industry perspective on AI in healthcare alongside @DACBeachcroft at… https://t.co/WTEFTOfU8v
@InformedTweet Kicking off Manchester Connected Health Ecosystem, looking at driving digital innovation with Health Innovation Man… https://t.co/zlUD7UctrK
@InformedTweet We are excited to join @teentechevent today at @SaddleworthSch to talk about designing cities of the future #technology #teentech
@InformedTweet Informed Solutions’ CEO @SlfSeth giving keynote on Innovation and Digital Transformation in Healthcare at the AUS-B… https://t.co/jUlPtzQrst
@InformedTweet Fantastic panel discussions here at the Australian British Health Catalyst today in Cambridge. How can we make sure… https://t.co/rousQhwD3J
@InformedTweet Delighted to have been invited to participate and share our experiences from both AUS and UK perspectives - thanks… https://t.co/DLRdKbJhKp
@InformedTweet Keynote from Informed Solutions’ UK CEO @SlfSeth at the Australian British Health Catalyst 2019 tomorrow. The Care… https://t.co/45nsEtXwAe
@InformedTweet Fab Day 1 of the Australian British Health Catalyst 2019 for our Chairman @jsainformed – 1st class work by… https://t.co/oAsIzTPbj5
@InformedTweet Excellent Australian-British Financial Catalyst event by the brilliant @BritishChamber team this week, attended by… https://t.co/Eac3ViJpwy
@InformedTweet (Updated) After contract award, how is supplier performance assessed? At Informed Solutions, we conduct an Annual S… https://t.co/5URcrRUu6C
@InformedTweet Delighted to be appointed to G-Cloud 11, extending our presence on the @GOVUKdigimkt for cloud services to the publ… https://t.co/jTwZEYwZco
@InformedTweet Raising the gaze of young people when it comes to careers in IT and technology, our Technical Director Matt Rix is… https://t.co/LPcP4k5iUm
@InformedTweet How to tackle barriers to public sector data sharing? Our UK CEO, Seth Finegan, pitched an innovative solution for… https://t.co/hz088TpJGX
@InformedTweet Great insight from Seth Finegan, Informed CEO, & William Priest at the @DigiLeaders Conference. #DLWeek https://t.co/qS5nZwT5Kg
@InformedTweet Showing how geospatial can unlock benefits for sectors from health to insurance......great session. https://t.co/RHHmkO9zQZ
@InformedTweet Geospatial experts William Priest @GeospatialC & Seth Finegan @InformedTweet underlining centrality of location inf… https://t.co/XkRhzzKe09
@InformedTweet Always delighted to be taking part to foster closer links for exports across the Commonwealth at this crucial time,… https://t.co/xeSvanZO0S
@InformedTweet A pleasure to have run two of the #RegTech Salons, and participated in sessions held by the other supporters https://t.co/OrdWWm2vNB
@InformedTweet What does it take to be the digital innovation & transformation partner of choice? Our UK CEO, Seth Finegan, refle… https://t.co/2ZL2j0KHRJ
@InformedTweet Informed Solutions’ Group CEO @ElizabethTVega with @WilliamJHague and longest-serving Australian Foreign Minister A… https://t.co/PJ4sVf1iT2
@InformedTweet Great Salon on Smarter Regulation with input from CQC, HFEA,NHS D, Sellafield & more. Next meeting is in London on… https://t.co/tbdDMwmLP9
@InformedTweet Our journey from contract award to building a valued relationship: fascinating insight from the 2018/19 edition of… https://t.co/kpsg6vgrGr
@InformedTweet .@The_ONR CEO @AdrienneKelbie setting the scene for a day of discussions on innovation within the nuclear industry… https://t.co/wBMuyhkBYe
@InformedTweet Our Manchester Salon on ‘Tech for Smarter Regulation’ for @DigiLeaders Week is soon, Tuesday 11th June 4:30pm-7pm.… https://t.co/IWD8ARCVqG
@InformedTweet The rewards of being a servant-leader: one of our talented colleagues, Helen Craven, dives deep into the similariti… https://t.co/K3RiZlZ1QY
@InformedTweet Delighted @CareQualityComm is sharing views on Smarter Regulation & how technology is changing Regulators at our Sa… https://t.co/lsARyqnvg5
@InformedTweet Tech for smarter regulation? We're hosting two @DigiLeaders Salons in London (https://t.co/mBBm6ZaV3P) and Manchest… https://t.co/bb8bvKVwuq
@InformedTweet Sharing skills with the next generation and helping #graduates to thrive in the competitive world of #tech: all fro… https://t.co/m5x8AZa5M6
@InformedTweet A great day @ Manchester Uni meeting students & future colleagues from the ITMB course- we're RECRUITING talented g… https://t.co/5jgtuklxEa
@InformedTweet A pleasure raising money for this fantastic charity! #Bakeoff #Charity https://t.co/dVcA3uYE8N
@InformedTweet We're once again eating cake for a good cause! We are raising money for the Sale-based charity @EveryoneCanUK, wh… https://t.co/9yVe32L8Di
@InformedTweet And a big shout out to @openstreetmap from our Chairman @jsainformed who was thrilled and impressed with colleagues… https://t.co/DPJSAvYZlA
@InformedTweet Maps are so often taken for granted. Until an area is hit by a crisis. Find out how our staff helped Médecins sans… https://t.co/m5B6h2r1hS
@InformedTweet Informed Solutions’ Group CEO, @ElizabethTVega, addresses Digital Leaders as finalists for this year’s Digital 100… https://t.co/iQP2RDveaK
@InformedTweet Mapathon complete! 15 people, 2 hours, 1558 buildings across 62 squares. Well done everyone! pic.twitter.com/ntKI12GObZ
@InformedTweet Starting of the #mapathon with @richpphillips giving an overview of the area we will be digitising for @MSF_uk and… https://t.co/OVzEPiOEVS
@InformedTweet Social Value: SMEs make your voice heard! Join our Group CEO @ElizabethTVega and other SME leaders in responding to… https://t.co/zgjDc0agJb
@InformedTweet Professional problem solvers: great example of how we help government digital services to transform at… https://t.co/XqIpCF7AFL
@InformedTweet Huge congratulations & respect to @AdrienneKelbie on winning Award for Transformational Leadership at the… https://t.co/ugOjH0GkmX
@InformedTweet Congratulations to @AdrienneKelbie transformational leader #NPWAwards, proud to be working with you #WeCanhttps://t.co/Tf9vrF6zXx

Join the Conversation

Share your thoughts about what matters to you