Last week, 93 WSP volunteers came together to participate in Mapathon; a coordinated online mapping event that improves the coverage of poorly mapped countries to connect humanitarian organisations with vulnerable people across the world. 

Each year, global disasters kill nearly 100,000 and displace over 200 million people.

In 2018, natural disasters alone claimed 11,804 lives and affected nearly 70 million people.

Many of the places where disasters happen are 'missing' from our maps. This means first responders don’t have the information to make critical, life-saving decisions. Unfortunately, it’s the most vulnerable countries that have the most limited mapping information. 


How can we connect the missing maps? 

A Mapathon is an event where keen volunteers come together to make online map improvements to disaster-prone areas; to connect and map the most vulnerable places in the developing world. The process involves teams tracing buildings and roads from satellite images that prompt humanitarian organisations and local volunteers in the area to add details and create maps with the data provided.

What is Mapathon?

200 hours of volunteer one night

This year, eight teams across our offices in Auckland, Wellington, Petone, Napier, Hamilton, Tauranga, Nelson and Whanganui came together to participate in a late-night Mapathon event.  

Our teams ‘mapped’ the Philippines, the third most disaster-prone country in the world. 

Ryan Macveigh, WSP NZ organiser and Service Line Leader of GIS, is now looking to set-up a regular event where staff, clients and students can come together to contribute towards improving the world’s ever-evolving digital map. 

“This was the first time WSP NZ has launched their own Mapathon. But together, we had 93 volunteers mapping. We performed 41,366 updates/changes to OpenStreetMap.
All up, that’s almost 200 hours of volunteer work…. in one night,” says Ryan. 

Contact Ryan if you’d like to get involved in our next regional-hosted Mapathon 

Connect with RyanContact Ryan