About Mapathon

Without accurate maps, it is difficult for MSF to locate the people most in need.

Maps are essential for MSF to get to patients, to assess the needs of crisis-hit communities, to track the spread of diseases and to respond to local events. But much of the area where MSF works is simply missing from any map. In many project locations, MSF relies on hand-drawn maps provided by the local authorities, which are not up-to-date and have only limited information.

Mapathon provides an opportunity for volunteer mappers to digitally connect and map the most vulnerable places in the developing world, so that MSF and other international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can use these maps and data to better respond to crisis affecting these areas.

By participating in Mapathon, you can directly contribute to MSF's humanitarian medical activities.

How can you help?

There are three stages in the Missing Maps* process:

Step 1
Volunteer mappers trace the features of an area of interest. Using aerial photographs as a backdrop, we can literally trace road networks, buildings and landmarks to build a line drawing of the area.
People on the ground collect the local names of neighbourhoods, roads, buildings, etc. This can be done by physically taking printed copies of maps created in step one, or by data collection on GPS devices or smartphones, and checking this information locally.
Step 3
MSF and other humanitarian organisations can start using the mapped information in outbreak management, epidemiology, logistics and other activities that save lives.

The first stage of this process can be done by anyone, from anywhere that has the Internet. MSF is calling for volunteers to work together to create maps and make a real impact on the delivery of healthcare in the field. No prior experience is required and training will be provided.

* Missing Maps is an open, collaborative initiative founded by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the British Red Cross, the American Red Cross and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) with an aim to provide international and local NGOs and individuals with geographic data to better respond to crises. Mapathon is the first stage of the Missing Maps Project.