The act of creating crisis maps during and after natural disasters, such as the recent Japanese tsunami, serves to inform and aid the efforts of relief workers. When the same mapping and communication technology is put to use during political conflicts, is it possible the efforts of crisis mappers could be doing more harm than good? Erica Naone of MIT's Technology Review writes about the very real threat of hijacked maps in conflicts around the world, notably the political unrest in the Middle East:
"Crisis mapping has had a major impact in the last 18 months, helping to collate information and coordinate activities during the Haitian earthquake in early 2010 and the Japanese tsunami that struck earlier this year.
But crisis mapping tools are increasingly springing up in politically fraught situations, too; most notably, they have been used to provide humanitarian relief during the protests that have swept through the Middle East in recent months. Since some authorities may want to undermine these efforts, or even attack those involved, it's becoming vital to protect these systems from interference, says George Chamales, a hacker and activist who has served as technical lead for crisis map deployments in Libya, Pakistan, and Sudan."
Read the full article here: Why Crisis Maps Can Be Risky When There's Political Unrest
Via MIT Technology Review