The World Bank and Google announced a collaborative agreement, aimed at “improving disaster preparedness and development efforts in countries around the world” — “World Bank will act as a conduit to make Google Map Maker source data more widely and easily available to government organizations in the event of major disasters, and also for improved planning, management, and monitoring of public services provision,” informs France Lamy, Program Manager, Google.org.
Adding Lamy writes “World Bank Institute (WBI) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) will manage the World Bank’s involvement in the collaboration, building on previous joint mapping efforts.” For example in April 2011, members of the Southern Sudanese Diaspora participated in a series of community mapping events organized by World Bank and Google to create comprehensive maps of schools, hospitals and other social infrastructure in this new country via Map Maker technology, he said.
“World Bank partner organizations, which include government and United Nations agencies, will be able to contact World Bank offices for possible access to the Google Map Maker data for their various projects. World Bank country offices in Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Moldova, Mozambique, Nepal, and Haiti plan to pilot the Map Maker agreement,” Lamy said.
World Bank’s vp for the Africa Region Obiageli Ezekwesili, said, “This collaboration is about shifting the emphasis from organizations to people, and empowering them to solve their own problems and develop their own solutions using maps.”
For those new, Google Map Maker is a free, web-based mapping tool that enables citizens to directly participate in the creation of maps by contributing their local knowledge. Once approved, those additions are then reflected on Google Maps and Google Earth for others around the world to see.