What it's about:
The U.N. children's fund UNICEF is encouraging young people armed with smartphones and cameras set on kites to photograph and map hazards in their local areas.
"Voices of Youth Maps" was an initiative born in 2011 in response to the high vulnerability in Rio de Janeiro’s shanty favela neighbourhoods.
Engaged young citizens snap an environmental or social risk and the photograph is then automatically linked to the location and uploaded to the mapping platform.
Aerial photos are also encouraged to help researches determine the presence or absence of infrastructure, evacuation routes, waste and so on.
The information is then presented to local authorities through a website and social media, so that they can execute plans to deal with the mapped hazard. There is also an "urgent" filter to deal with emergency hazards.
Why it's noteworthy:
By targeting young people who are usually carrying camera phones and run around localities, UNICEF is enhancing community engagement and participatory planning in order to reduce risk in vulnerable communities.
Harnessing technology and mapping can swiftly bring together a number of actors to remedy a local hazard.
The idea is simple and communicative, and no doubt can be replicated in a number of other cities around the world.
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Environment & Disaster Management