Tag Archive | Google Map Maker

Google Inc + World Bank = Empowering Citizen Cartographers?

by Patrick Meier, iRevolution, January 20, 2012

World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey recently announced a new partnership with Google that will apparently empower citizen cartographers in 150 countries worldwide.  …So what’s the catch? Google’s licensing agreement for Google Map Maker stipulates the following: Users are not allowed to access Google Map Maker data via any platform other than those designated by Google. Users are not allowed to make any copies of the data, nor can they translate the data, modify it or create a derivative of the data. In addition, users cannot publicly display any Map Maker data for commercial purposes. Finally, users cannot use Map Maker data to create a service that is similar to any already provided by Google. …

For the full text of Patrick Meier’s discussion on data access and licensing issues, visit Google Inc + World Bank = Empowering Citizen Cartographers? | iRevolution. This has important implications for participatory mapping projects for humanitarian aid and sustainable development.


World Bank – Google Partnership for Community Mapping Raises Data Access Questions

From Google’s Lat Long blog post: “Under this agreement, the World Bank will act as a conduit to make Google Map Maker source data more widely and easily available to government organizations in the event of major disasters, and also for improved planning, management, and monitoring of public services provision. …”

In an All Points Blog post on Directions Magazine (January 16, 2012), Adena Schutzberg notes that “World Bank partner organizations, which include government and United Nations agencies, will be able to contact World Bank offices for possible access to the Google Map Maker data for their various projects. … The data is Google’s. It’s not open to the world under a free data license like OpenStreetMap is. Google makes its data tiles available via its APIs (with have their own restrictions and sometimes, fees). The Map Maker data is not open source (because that license is for software). Oh, and Google’s mapping APIs are not open source either!”

Ms. Schutzberg also raises several good questions that will need to be addressed, including “… how the World Bank will decide if a requester can have access to the data. Is it only during an emergency? Or when one is expected? Or is for long-term planning for such emergencies? … under what sort of terms (license) Google/The World Bank will hand over the data? Will it be sharable to NGOs? To citizens? …”

For full text of Adena Schutzberg’s blog post, visit Google Gives World Bank Map Maker Data Distribution Privileges – All Points Blog.

Monitoring Conflict with the Satellite Sentinel Project

de Südsudan en Southern Sudan ru Южный Судан

Image via Wikipedia

South Sudan satellite monitoring in near real-time:

About the Satellite Sentinel Project — initiated by George Clooney — combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker technology to deter the resumption of war between North and South Sudan. The project provides an early warning system to deter mass atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns.

This project is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between Not On Our Watch, Google, the Enough Project, the United Nations UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Trellon, LLC.

The project works like this: Commercial satellites passing over the border of northern and southern Sudan are able to capture possible threats to civilians, observe the movement of displaced people, detect bombed and razed villages, or note other evidence of pending mass violence.

UNOSAT leads the collection and analysis of the images and collaborates with Google and Trellon to design the web platform for the public to easily access the images and reports. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative provides system-wide research and leads the collection, human rights analysis, and corroboration of on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the satellite imagery. The Enough Project contributes field reports, provides policy analysis, and, together with Not On Our Watch, puts pressure on policymakers by urging the public to act.

The Satellite Sentinel Project marks the first sustained, public effort to systematically monitor and report on potential hotspots and threats to security along a border, in near real-time (within 24-36 hours), with the aim of heading off humanitarian disaster and human rights crimes before they occur.

The Satellite Sentinel Project Website: http://www.satsentinel.org/

Some things to consider:

  • Protecting Indigenous People’s Privacy from Eyes in the Sky by Wayne Madsen (1994) “… The United States, as one of the two most advanced remote sensing nations in the world, bears a special responsibility to prevent remote sensing data from being used for purposes of exploitation and violations of human rights. The other major remote sensing nation is France. It, too, has demonstrated a willingness to permit the abuse of remote sensing data as it affects indigenous peoples. In 1994, France announced that it had captured the international terrorist “Carlos the Jackal” in Khartoum, Sudan. This feat ironically involved the trading of French imagery intelligence to the Sudanese, a trade which ultimately resulted in more Sudanese “state terrorism” against the black African minority in the south of the country. The southern Sudanese believed that the north wanted to drain their swamps by building the Jonglei Canal which would increase the flow of water through the White Nile. One southern Sudanese, Dr. John Garang, wrote his doctoral thesis on the negative environmental impact of the Jonglei Canal. In 1985 the southern Sudanese revolted against the north and demanded independence (Moszynski, July 1, 1994, 25). The Sudanese wanted an end to the revolt. They agreed to hand over Carlos to the French in return for high-grade French SPOT imagery photographs of the positions of southern Sudan guerilla forces. Using the satellite imagery provided by the French and analyzed by Iraqi imagery analysts, the Sudanese launched a massive ground and air offensive against the southerners including a faction led by Dr. John Garang, native environmentalist turned leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). British MP Tony Worthington was one of a few Western politicians who expressed his outrage, saying “Obviously we can understand that the French were keen to capture Carlos, but does it have to be at the expense of the Sudanese people who have been brutally murdered by the appalling regime in Khartoum whom the French have assisted by providing military intelligence to help the slaughter?” (Moszynski, Oct. 1994, 32). …”


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