USAID Releases Open Data and Maps on Famine in the Horn of Africa

By Nate Smith on Sep 19 2011

This afternoon at Mashable's Social Good Summit, USAID launched a new open data and information sharing initiative around the famine in the Horn of Africa. With this, USAID aims to take the lead in providing data to help in the response - and wants to release as much data as they can publicly so it can be easily used in relief efforts.

USAID's Dr. Raj Shah launching the initiative on stage at the Mashable Social Good Summit USAID administrator Dr. Raj Shah launching the initiative on stage at the Mashable Social Good Summit.

We've been working with USAID to help them effectively open their data and create new and innovative maps that help with information sharing. By leveraging data from the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET), USAID has released a new set of maps that highlight and share information about the famine in the Horn of Africa. This map set shares and visualizes information ranging from the population in crisis to parter organizations providing relief efforts on the ground to the crisis' impact on local food supplies and prices. These maps are all freely available from USAID's TileStream account, and they're encouraging other organizations to use them to communicate about the famine.

Maps of the famine in the Horn of Africa released openly by USAID

USAID has made all of the data powering these maps as well as other related data sets open on data.gov and usaid.gov/data. This is the agency's first time releasing both data visualizations and the data that powers them in a completely open manner.

Alongside the open data release, USAID is using these maps on its news public awareness site FWD (Famine, War, Drought). With this site, USAID is talking directly to the public to describe the crisis and ask people to help stop it.

Website urging people to help fund relief efforts to stem famine in the Horn of Africa The famine maps are featured on the public awareness site FWD launched by USAID.

We're excited to be at the Social Good Summit as Dr. Shah kicks off this new effort at USAID and are thrilled to help fuel data and information sharing to help stop one of worst famine's this world has seen. It's been great to work with USAID on this, and to further our work mapping the famine with the World Food Programme on horn.wfp.org and releasing these maps openly.

To help with famine relief efforts, text "GIVE" to 777444 to donate $10 to relief efforts in the Horn of Africa.

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