Google Maps are always useful to find our way and paper maps (or ‘civil’ maps) are moving further and further in to the technological realm, focusing on function while simultaneously maintaining printed versions for artistic and community purposes.
Disaster management and prevention mapping using Open Street Map Open Data is a trend that is gathering momentum. Anyone with the skills can participate. Here is an example of why it’s important: existing government housing maps in Hong Kong show no village roads. While Google Maps display a few trails (without comment on available facilities), there is a need to develop a village mapping system to help reduce the scourge of flooding by mapping roads so as to assist emergency evacuation services. To this end, the project Pokfulam Relief map aims to help elderly villagers and generally improve local flood planning systems:
“When there is heavy rain, due to the complicated terrain of the village, public emergency services are often delayed. In the past, villagers tried to save themselves by setting up a volunteer patrol and anti-flooding dykes in river banks to stop rain water from flooding over,” said the project manager Benjamin.
Last year, Benjamin expanded the project scope and cooperated with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design to obtain technical advice.
Hopefully more local bottom-up street mapping initiatives will pop up and generate totally different cultural and social landscapes.