OpenStreetMap: A free, open & editable map connecting your students with humanitarian crises around the world.

Did you recently use the Teaching with the News lesson Refugee Stories: Mapping a Crisis? Are your students eager to see real world applications of geography?

If so, check out OpenStreetMap. OSM provides the platform for your students to play a role in humanitarian work occuring around the globe. Students will need to create a free OpenStreetMap (OSM) account. Doing so allows them to contribute to a humanitarian mapping project in Turkey. This task requires the mapping of buildings in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul, which has long experienced an influx of Syrian refugees and the associated societal issues including working in terrible conditions over obtaining proper education.

Humanitarian mapping directly assists different humanitarian support organizations including the World Bank, UNICEF and Red Cross organizations. It supports crisis efforts by providing accurate and up-to-date geographical data for different situations including emergency response upon natural disasters and disease outbreaks. The building data is used for various applications including the siting of public health facilities, clean water access sites, sanitary facilities and other vital resources. Contributing to mapping areas with dense populations stressing disaster response provides students with a simple, effective, and free opportunity to be a contributor to the solution to the crisis.

If you are looking for more geography resources, please see our new Geography Series, which is available in digital or print editions. The Choices Program, and a Choices Teacher Fellow, will be exhibiting at the National Conference for Geographic Education’s annual conference in Quebec, August 6-8.  Stop by our booth and tell us how you aspire to or have used OpenStreetMap with our Teaching with the News lessons or with our Geography curriculum units. Map on!

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