The fighting and famine in Somalia have displaced enormous numbers of people in an area where access to the ground is very difficult. The UN needs reliable population estimates to begin the logistical planning for response: remote sensing is one way to achieve this.
The SAC is currently working with Shadrock Roberts (University of Georgia) and Patrick Meier (Director of Crisis Mapping for Ushahidi) to crowdsource the manual interpretation of imagery in Somalia for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Digital Globe is donating imagery which will be served out as small tiles in the free, easy-to-use Tomnod platform. Volunteers will follow a provided rule-set and try to identify as many structures as possible in a 5-day period. You can learn more about the effort from Patrick's blog entry here: http://irevolution.net/tag/tomnod/.
If you would like to help out the UN, you can contribute to the project in your ASPRS student chapter or as an individual! This project is expected to occur in early November.
More information about the dates and how to participate will be distributed shortly. If you are interested in participating or have questions, please email: Laura Calandra, SAC Communications Councilor at email@example.com.
Many thanks from all of us for helping to improve the humanitarian response to Somalia!