Students here at the University of Washington in Assistant Professor Jessica Kaminsky‘s Civil Engineering in Developing Countries class were recently featured in UW Today for their work in assisting with the Nepal earthquake relief effort. Using OpenStreetMap software, the students have been using satellite images to generate high quality, real-time maps for use in the relief effort.
“Finding that one little village with no major highways and being able to tell someone that that village is there is really rewarding. Because if it’s not marked on that map, then there are a lot of cracks that it could slip through,” said civil and environmental engineering graduate student Leigh Allison.
With each UW student contributing five hours of assigned emergency mapping, the class’ efforts totaled 120 hours of meaningful disaster response work, and some students plan to continue that work. Even just a few hours makes a difference with thousands of volunteers working around the globe.
“It’s almost like saying, ‘Don’t forget us,’” said Lew. “There’s a tendency to want to do the major cities and the infrastructure that’s closest to the major highways, but as you get further and further out, there’s still houses out there that are disconnected. It’s really cool to draw a box around them and say, ‘there’s a family here, don’t forget them.’”
For more information, contact Jessica Kaminsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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