Monday, April 13, 2009

FreeMap Gaza Launched

After an 18 month absence, JumpStart returned to Gaza and received a warm welcome. The mapping initiative has begun with our partners at the University College of Applied Sciences, and our teams have already started to map Gaza city. There's a great deal of under-utilized talent in Gaza, as thousands of university graduates go without work. We're happy to be working with some highly qualified engineers and geographic students in the development of our Gaza map.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed in the recent war, and with no construction materials entering Gaza, structures continue crumbling

Gaza continues to experience the aftershocks of the January war, and it seems like there are daily scuffles, strikes, and tragedies. With few to no reconstruction materials allowed through the borders, the local infrastructure remains in disrepair, and the collapsed buildings are a constant reminder of the situation here.

We hope to finish our map project in Gaza in mid-May even though, as our mapping recruits assure us, nothing is sure in Gaza. With the effort here we'll reach our goal of a free and open data set for all of Palestine, information which can be applied to a wide range of uses in public, private, and non-govermental spheres. As we develop our free Gaza map, we look forward to giving more detail to the already excellent work of the OpenStreetMap crew.

Let the mapping commence!

Engineers and GIS students examine a GPS

Many buildings, including those at the university, were hit during the war

Field Program Manager Jeff Haack with the first teams of mappers

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