Tuesday, October 22, 2013

India & OpenStreetMap

I'm excited, given I'm off to India for my second time this year. This time, it's not going to be cracking 45 degrees or more at a time of year I typically consider winter.

As I've been thinking about the upcoming travel, I've been working on some of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap tasks (http://tasks.hotosm.org/job/274) that affected the region shortly after my last visit.

Interestingly, the India I saw must truly be only among the 5% of western facing, tech focused parts of the economy. It's certainly reflected in the amount the country that is mapped.

While Australia's coverage is sparse at times, the idea that a small town or village might be completely outside of anyone's awareness is hard to comprehend. When you look at some of the regions impacted by the flooding earlier in the year in India, you begin to realise that major roads are completely absent. These aren't small service roads or residential roads, but 10, 20 or 50km long stretches which seem to be the only motor vehicle access to some areas.

It would be interesting to know if the Indian military has better maps; and if they share them with NGOs focused on aid relief when natural disasters are pending.

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