Satellites and cartographers combat Ebola virus

Airbus Defence & Space has supplied the global mapping community with Pléiades and SPOT 6 imagery of several areas hit by the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa to support humanitarian relief efforts on the ground.

Extrait carte OpenStreetMap

Extract from OpenStreetMap

An outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever has been ongoing since 9 February in West Africa. Swiss doctors from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) asked partner CartONG, an NGO specializing in humanitarian mapping, for maps of three towns in Guinea—Guekédou, Macenta and Kissidougou—to help them track the spread of the virus and organize relief efforts. They are carrying out health checks, dispensing advice and distributing protective clothing.

CartONG purchased three Pléiades images on 26 March. To identify routes and dwellings, the NGO called on HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) to mobilize its community of cartographers. In all, 244 people took part in this collaborative exercise and nearly 1 million features were edited in 5 days on the online map on OpenStreetMap. The map of Guekédou was posted on ReliefWeb, the website of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Alerted by HOT to the importance of mapping in combating this epidemic, Airbus DS stepped up its support effort. Humanitarian teams need to identify roads and houses so they can get to villages around the three Guinean towns. Cases of Ebola have also been confirmed in the capital Conakry and neighbouring Liberia.

Guekédou Image Pléiades

Guekédou, Pléiades image 101202013

A Pléiades image was supplied without charge of Foya in Liberia, where the World Health Organization (WHO) and MSF are building an isolation centre. Four free SPOT 6 images were also provided covering 14,000 of southern Guinea. OpenStreetMap’s HOT team again coordinated the mapping community’s efforts to update its online map.
Airbus Defence and Space’s satellites joined forces with the mapping community to produce this collaborative map aimed at combating this deadly virus—a striking example of how rapid Geospatial Web 2.0 (Geoweb) solutions are aiding humanitarian medicine.

See Also...