Accenture Launches Mapathon to Address Unmapped Locations


Emma Okonji

In order to create digital maps for unmapped places around the world, Accenture has launched a Global Mapathon, an initiative carried out to map roads, buildings, cities and villages globally.

The Accenture Global Mapathon is in partnership with reputable organisations such as the American and British Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders/MSF), Humanitarian Open Street Map Team and Missing Maps.

Part of the ongoing project was carried out this year across 42 cities to map 40,000 buildings, 8,125 villages and 13,400 roads across the world.

According to Accenture, the Global Mapathon initiative would bring recognition not only to Nigeria but also the world at large, while it also enhances the operations of NGOs and aid agencies in crisis and disasters management.
The recent Accenture Digital Mapathon involved 850 volunteers who came together to digitally map remote and unmapped places in the world. The mappers made use of online tools to trace buildings and roads over satellite images.
Speaking about the Accenture Global Mapathon, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP) Global Programs Lead for Nigeria and West Africa, Osato Noah, noted that despite having large populations and active economy, thousands of communities are still unmapped, thus mapping has become a necessity in today’s world.

He said: “We live in a world that is vulnerable to various crises, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, epidemics or conflict. Sadly for most developing countries such as Nigeria, these places are not mapped and people have no idea of the situation on the ground. However with the Accenture Global Mapathon, places prone to conflicts and disasters will be easily identified while timely rescue efforts are made.”

“In Lagos, 12 Accenture volunteers mapped 240 buildings, 16 villages and 329 roads across the country,” Noah said.
He added that these maps which would be available and useful to everyone including NGOs and aid agencies working in these settlements.

Noah explained that rescue efforts become a challenge without digital maps, as it is difficult to locate risk populations, map the spread of disease, or measure improvements. He however noted that digital maps will make these areas less vulnerable to disaster and disease, and enable more effective aid.

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, which offers a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. The company has promised to continually play key roles in the development in Nigeria and in the global landscape.
It said mappings from the Accenture Global Mapathon exercise would be validated by mapping experts to ensure accuracy.

The 2016 Accenture Global Mapathon focuses on two key areas: Hadjer Lamis in Chad and Niger state in Nigeria. This is as a result of the vast number of refugees living in these areas as a result of conflict.
Mapping has become a necessity as it aids humanitarian organisations to plan risk reduction and quick disaster response activities that save lives.