What is Crisis Mapping?


What is Crisis Mapping?

Its a good question and one that I’m going to have to dig deeper into. The question was prompted by the following article:

Why Crisis Maps Can Be Risky When There’s Political Unrest – Technology Review.

But then I saw this one:

Crisis Mapping Meets Check-in

What seems to be going on is a confluence of mobile based technology, mapping technology and crisis management. What I haven’t figured out is why they are any “riskier” than other forms of visualization.

If the worry is that the information in a CM could be “hacked” – I don’t see how this is really any different from traditional misinformation campaigns.

If the fear is that activists, rights monitors, informants on the ground or aid workers will suddenly be at risk of having their movements tracked, I understand the fear but then aid workers are not unaccustomed to potentially hostile situations.

“Crisis mapping is a form of media, and media becomes a contested space when real-world conflicts are taking place,” says Ethan Zuckerman, a board member for Ushahidi and a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. “There’s been online conflict over the #Syria hashtag, for instance,” Zuckerman adds, “as pro- and anti-government forces use Twitter to communicate about the protests and government response.”

Ah. I see. Sort of.


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