Washington, January 16, 2012 – Today, the World Bank and Google announced an agreement aimed at improving the ability of developing countries to access a web-based community mapping tool and data to help better monitor public services, and improve disaster and humanitarian response efforts. Most developing countries do not have basic local data about where schools, hospitals, or water points are located, and the data they do have is often out of date or incorrect. One way to collect this information is to ask citizens directly, and crowdsource the locations of public infrastructure.
Under this agreement, Google will provide the World Bank and its partner organizations – including governments and UN agencies – with access to Google Map Maker underlying geospatial data that includes detailed maps of more than 150 countries. Through this tool, citizens are able to directly participate in the creation of maps by contributing their local knowledge, and those additions are then reflected on Google Maps and Google Earth. These maps include locations like schools, hospitals, roads and water points that are critical for relief workers to know about in times of crisis, and will help NGOs, researchers, and individual citizens to more effectively identify areas that might be in need of assistance.