10 March 2015

Strauss Center Associate Director Ashley Moran was recently quoted in an article for Trajectory Magazine on how the geospatial community has addressed the lack of adequate mapping data in the context of the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014. This outbreak—particularly challenging given the size of the affected area, the risk of global spread of the disease, and the duration of the crisis—triggered an overwhelming response from the geospatial community. In particular, collaborations across governmental and nongovernmental institutions, like the Worldwide Human Geography Data (WWHGD) working group, says Moran, have been a valuable platform for supporting partner governments with capacity and data constraints.

According to Moran, organizations such as those involved in the WWHGD should “focus on building local capacity through training and the augmentation of platforms already in place.” Boosting geospatial tools currently used by local organizations will enable them to better respond to current crises such as the Ebola epidemic and ​build local capacity that could help developing countries in the longer term as well. During the Ebola epidemic, for example, the Strauss Center has partnered with ​the Government of Liberia's National Ebola Task Force as well as a local Liberian technology NGO, iLab Liberia, to support development of integrated mapping approaches that build local capacity to respond to current and potential future crises. iLab Liberia provides access to cutting-edge technology and IT assistance to organizations and the public in Liberia, and it frequently hosts free training and tech events open to the public.

The full article can be found here.

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