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I am part of a small group that is trying to get signatures on an online petition to get licensed aerial images put into the public domain so that they can be used for disaster relief and humanitarian mapping purposes. The Philippines is devastated after Hainan/Yolanda and the responders are desperate to know where to go and badly need maps and imagery to save lives. People are ready to map it if they can get the imagery.

Are there any avenues available at GIS Stack Exchange where this information can be disseminated to its user base of GIS Professionals to enlist community support, while remaining within Stack Exchange guidelines?

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    This is off-topic here on our meta site which is devoted to discussions about our site itself. A petition is not suitable for our main site, either. Please consider bringing up this topic in chat (and, if you wish, we could even create a dedicated chat room for you). – whuber Nov 25 '13 at 15:27
  • Ok, got it. Thanks! Answered my question. No Problem. I will look elsewhere to get to the GIS Community. No time to chat, unfortunately! People are literally dying because responders do not even know the island they are on even exists. – Mark Cupitt Nov 25 '13 at 15:34
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    Another option that I would recommend is to suggest a Community Promotion Ad: that would get more visibility even than any single question would. The drawback is that running it will require six upvotes from the community, but conceivably it would get them quickly. – whuber Nov 25 '13 at 16:28
  • Thanks heaps, will check it out. That's a new one on me but worth a shot. – Mark Cupitt Nov 25 '13 at 16:30
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    You can get a lot of eyeballs if you manage to post an ad on SO itself. Their community ads are limited to open-source projects, but maybe with a little creativity you could fit what you're doing into that framework. See blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/12/…. If you don't think that will fly, why not contact the SE team directly with a request for a free ad? They might oblige. (Try e-mailing team-at-stackexchange.com.) – whuber Nov 25 '13 at 16:36
  • Community Add done. Will email team ...as well. A big thanks for the info. Had a look at SO, may be a hard sell. Will see how the one on GIS@SE goes. They are looking for 10,000 votes, GIS votes will carry the weight, I have this out to my Aviation LinkedIn Group as well, it has 114k members. – Mark Cupitt Nov 25 '13 at 16:55
  • Team@SE Emailed. Thanks – Mark Cupitt Nov 25 '13 at 17:06
  • Had another go at rewording the question to reflect comments above – Mark Cupitt Nov 25 '13 at 17:13
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    Also consider contacting Digital Globe to access their vast image archives. I guarantee you imagery of the affected region is being acquired as we speak. Worldview-2, Quickbird or Geoeye imagery would all be good to use. – Aaron Dec 2 '13 at 21:05
  • A similar situation has arisen related to this weekend's earthquake in Nepal: gis.stackexchange.com/questions/144041/… – PolyGeo Apr 26 '15 at 8:32
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In light of the recent Nepal Earthquake and the question on Main titled Remote sensing for Nepal Earthquake, I would like to suggest the following as a procedure that those seeking to enlist our community's support could follow. It is based on comments by @whuber to this question.

  1. Place a community advertisement by following the instructions at Community Promotion Ads - 2015 to create an advert as an answer.
    • Be sure to use the question devoted to the current year because the Q&A that triggers community ads gets made anew each year.
    • Have that answer link to a page of requirements/resources related to the emergency.
  2. Use Social Media (e.g. Twitter) to advertise that answer so that it can be quickly upvoted to the necessary 6 and beyond.

To see an example of the Community Ad posted by @MarkC after The Philippines was devastated by typhoons Hainan/Yolanda in 2013 click here.

  • +1. One thought inspired by your effort here would be to make this kind of question explicitly on topic on our main site. (In the narrowest sense, these would be questions intended to coordinate GIS expertise in the service of volunteer disaster relief.) I suspect there might be community support for such a change. What do you think? – whuber May 6 '15 at 15:47
  • @whuber Perhaps you can ask a new Meta question here to elaborate upon your thinking. I'm not sure what an on-topic question for Main might look like without seeing details of a proposal for the change to our site's scope that you are thinking about. – PolyGeo May 7 '15 at 2:25
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http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Typhoon_Haiyan and http://google.org/crisismap/a/gmail.com/TyphoonYolanda are good sources to help out

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    Thanks, very aware. OSM data being contributed by 1200 mappers, lots of updates. Imagery is going away in a week or so, and then there is nothing to work with, hence the petition. – Mark Cupitt Nov 25 '13 at 15:36
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There is a lot of data (although, much with cloud cover for the Haiyan areas) at the USGS's Hazard Data Distribution System. See http://hdds.usgs.gov/hdds2/pub/data/disaster/201311_Typhoon_Haiyan

  • Thanks, they are mapping "through the holes" as we speak. Some of that is quite recent, a real shame about the cloud cover though. – Mark Cupitt Nov 26 '13 at 23:46
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Another emergency Q&A came up today related to Hurricane Matthew: Making population estimates over large areas for emergency?

This one is in the preparedness rather than recovery phase and I suggested via a comment on it that:

This question is too broad for focussed Q&A, and should technically be placed on hold because it talks mainly about what you want to do, and little about what you have tried and where precisely you are stuck. I propose that we let it stay open for 48 hours, unless anyone finds a duplicate Q&A that we can refer you to for your answer.

If we use the emergency to find/create a suitable answer then the next similar emergency should find their answer instantly rather than having to wait for potential answerers to see their question.

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