Lois Parshley’s essay on the last unmapped, mysterious places—Greenlandic fjords, the slums of Haiti, the ocean’s depths, black holes in space—is a long read worth reading. Originally published last month as “Here Be Dragons: Finding the Blank Spaces in a Well-Mapped World” in the Virginia Quarterly Review, it’s been reprinted by the Guardian, in an edited, tighter version, as “Faultlines, Black Holes and Glaciers: Mapping Uncharted Territories.”
Start with the National Hurricane Center, which has lots of different maps of Hurricane Matthew’s predicted path, weather warnings, rainfall potential and so forth. See also maps from Weather Underground.
Google’s Crisis Map includes evacuation resources—Red Cross shelters, evacuation routes, traffic data—in addition to storm track and precipitation information.
Here’s an NPR profile of crisis mapper Patrick Meier, who was spurred into action by the 2010 Haitian earthquake and later went on to co-found the Digital Humanitarian Network.
With the Haiti earthquake, he had a chance to put everything he’d been thinking about into practice. He and some friends and colleagues began pulling information from social media—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube videos—and added it to a base map to start to get a picture of the damage in Haiti. They plotted points on the map in red dots, indicating pharmacies that were open, which ones did and didn’t have medicines, which roads were blocked, where people were trapped under rubble and needed help.
As the days went on, the effort attracted thousands of volunteers from 40 countries around the world, all wrangling tweets, text messages, videos, emails, Facebook posts and other messages. A special toll-free number was set up for people in Haiti to send text messages about their conditions and whereabouts. Meanwhile, Meier and his team in the U.S., including members of Haitian diaspora, worked around the clock, funneling a flood of information into a constantly evolving map.
A map on a display at the CDC’s in-house museum hides in plain sight what U.S. government authorities are reluctant to admit: the origin of the 2011 cholera epidemic in Haiti (a U.N. peacekeeping base housing a batallion from Nepal). All the more amazing by its juxtaposition with John Snow’s famous 1854 cholera map of London. It’s as if they wanted us to tell us something while being prevented from doing so.