2014 – what a year!!

With the end of 2014 just around the corner, we want to say a big thank you to all of our great supporters! The last couple of months we were overwhelmed by the great interest and engagement all of you showed in our numerous events and activities. This illustrates the big potential of Heidelberg and the Geographical Institute of the Heidelberg University as meeting point and exchange platform for people interested and engaged in Disastermapping. Thanks to you, step by step our dream of Heidelberg as a new Disastermapping hotspot is becoming true!

We also want to take this chance to thank all of our great lecturers that added to our events. Not only did you allow us to get great insights into the field of Disastermapping in all its facettes, above that you made us think about new ideas and projects.

One special thanks goes to Ryan Burns, PhD at the University of Washington. In our last Disastermappers Colloquium of the year he talked about “The Social Dimension of Digital Humanitarianism”. A topic very important, but at the same time less discussed in the global mapping community. His interest lies in critical geographies of spatial technologies, urban geographies, poverty and inequality. Thus, in his lecture he discussed uncertainties about the changes the new Digital Humanitariansim brings as well as the inequalities, and the new dimension of public sector privatization. While others see the possibilities the new technologies offer in the field of humanitarian aid as a revolution and democratization, he argued that the new practices rather emerge at the nexus of new spatial technologies, practices and “philanthro-capitalism”. A great and inspiring talk to finalize our colloquium series for this year in Heidelberg.

But before the well-deserved Christmas-Break we had another highlight waiting to finalize the fantastic year: This time taking us out of our usual premises to Karlsruhe University. Thanks to the great success of the events we organized at the Heidelberg University, the word spread. Accordingly, on wednesday, december 17th, the Disastermappers Heidelberg were invited by students of the Karlsruhe University to co-host a Mapping Party on their premises – a great possibility to share our knowledge and experiences and also show the students in Karlsruhe that people in disaster areas can be supported without having to fly to the disaster region or donating a lot of money.

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After short introductions into Disastermapping in general, our Disastermappers Heidelberg initiative and the mapping tools, the students passionately started to map and solved several tasks concerning the Ebola epidemic- as the student representatives provieded christmas snacks, mulled wine and other treats this afternoon got even better 🙂

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This is only the start of another great collaboration which we are looking forward to taking further in the upcoming year.

As our first events showed great success we are hoping to get the chance to present and reach even more Disastermapping interested people in Heidelberg and beyond in the near and far future. And thus further expand our community and lay the foundation for new hotspots in other places.

Wanna be part of it? We are looking forward to hearing from you or seeing you at the next Disastermappers Heidelberg event! Till then, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

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