“Maps can save lives!” – “Really?!” – disastermappers kolloquium kickoff event

After this Wednesday’s successful launch event for the upcoming disastermappers colloquium, we want to thank the numerous participants who found their way to the lecture hall of the Department of Geography on Berliner Straße in Heidelberg. Coming together with old and new acquaintances, mingling up, chatting, emptying the snack bar, filling up the room, listening with interest, and sharing and exchanging ideas were only a few of the achievements of the afternoon.

To kick things off we had a warm welcome by Svend-Jonas Schellhorn, introducing the disastermappers’ vision and activities. The key note speech titled “Maps can save lives! – Really!?” was then held by Prof. João Porto de Albuquerque. He once again emphasized the potential of crowd-driven approaches in disaster risk management, such as the use of social media, citizens as sensors and, of course, crowd-based map services.

At the end of his speech Prof. João Porto de Albuquerque then raised the fundamental question “.. but how?”. How to contribute? How to sustain the mapping hype? How to improve the available methods and techniques? How to get involved in the community? Well as it happens, there are plenty of opportunities to do so, to get involved, right here in Heidelberg, making use of available connections, synergies and associated spillover effects. As disastermappers, we now want to provide this kind of platform for all interested, innovative and motivated volunteers and to carry on with the success story of the disastermappers by joining the launch of the “Missing Maps Project” and hosting a mapping party next week Friday (7th November) here in Heidelberg, where everyone is warmly invited! So save the date and be part of it!

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