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Cartography for Relief Organisations: Missing Maps host an evening at Posteo Lab

Created at 27.August 2018, 17:01 | Category: Blog

Improving maps in Nigeria — all the way from Kreuzberg. This was made possible on August 14th in our Berlin-located Posteo Lab, where a new Missing Maps Group hosted their first German mapathon. With guidance from Missing Maps, volunteers improve online maps at mapathons by plotting villages and streets on satellite imagery. At the events organised by Missing Maps, OpenStreetMaps of crisis regions are improved upon. This can, for example, aide relief organisations in planning their operations more effectively.

Missing Maps is a humanitarian project that was founded in November 2014 by the American and British Red Cross, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and Doctors Without Borders. Since then, Missing Maps has regularly organised mapathons in various European countries. About 17 interested parties participated in the first German event at Posteo Lab.

The focus of the event in Berlin was satellite imagery of Niger State in western Nigeria. Currently there are active teams from medical relief organisations that need more precise maps of the region for their work.

The mapathon began with a detailed introduction by Marcel Werdier from the organisation Missing Maps. He clearly explained in a presentation how mapping works. He also demonstrated the required programs and outlined the most important rules for plotting maps to the volunteers.

After the presentation, the volunteers could immediately apply their newly gained knowledge and began plotting maps on the laptops they had brought with them. They analysed satellite imagery and plotted streets and villages with just a few clicks. The team from Missing Maps helped the participants and answered all questions that came up.

At the end, there was a final presentation where the volunteers could see the progress of their collective efforts made on the maps. The knowledge they gained from this experience can continue to be applied when mapping in private.

The team from Missing Maps was very satisfied with their premiere mapathon in Germany. There are plans to organise more evenings like this one in Berlin.

Background Information
Because we want to strengthen social engagement, we regularly make Posteo Lab available to charitable associations and organisations free of charge. It’s important to us that the events hosted at Posteo match our values in sustainability, technology, democracy, open source, internet politics, IT security and privacy. If you’re interested in hosting an event here, send us an inquiry at

Posteo is financed 100 percent by user fees. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our user for making our social engagement possible.