On August 9-12, 2018, 218 volunteers from 46 countries participated in a Mapathon to map structures in a focused area within 15 kilometers of the Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia borders. This Cross Border area has been identified as being at high-risk for polio outbreaks and the spread of the virus between countries. The mapping of structures will be used as a tool for strategic planning to optimize workload and resources during polio vaccination campaigns in the area. It will also be used to strengthen and update existing microplans and accelerate the process of validating the number of buildings, houses, and children covered by individual vaccination teams. The event was hosted on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ArcGIS Online Platform, with information about the event being shared via an Esri Hub page.
Volunteers from a variety of organizations joined the event including WHO staff, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) staff, GISCorps volunteers, Penn State University and Clark University students, Esri employees, Standby Task Force volunteers, OpenStreetMap volunteers and others.
GISCorps volunteers Tarig Ahmed and Wendi Couvillion French assisted with project management during the mapathon. With hundreds of mapathon participants around the world on different time zones, there always seems to be a need for more management help. Tarig and Wendi jumped into the mapathon and assisted with things like answering questions from mapathon participants, reviewing and updating documentation, reviewing the work of potential validators, digitizing points, validation and any other needed tasks. Both Tarig and Wendi provided greatly needed help to the mapathon management team.
Over 227,000 structures were mapped over a 3,764 square kilometer area. The data was validated by 35 GISCorps volunteers during the mapathon and the following Monday and Tuesday, August 13 & 14, 2018. The top digitizer for the project was Daniel Obare and the top validator was Alexis Handelman, who validated over 350 grids.
GISCorps would like to thank our partners, WHO and CDC (GRASP), for reaching out and involving our team in these projects. We would also like to thank the technical supporters of the project: Esri Non-Profit and Esri Disaster Response Teams for providing software and support, and DigitalGlobe for providing imagery. And most importantly, we’d like to thank all the volunteers for being involved in this valuable project to help eradicate polio.