Putting People on the Map: JPMorgan Chase Commits to Missing Maps Initiative


JPMorgan Chase contributes to the Missing Maps Project to facilitate digital mapping around the world.

The Problem

Many of the world's most vulnerable communities are not even “on the map,” creating a large challenge for humanitarian organizations and disaster responders. In order to better execute rescue and relief efforts, it is crucial for all communities to be digitally mapped. By doing so, it’s easier for first responders to analyze hazards, mitigate threats, and respond quickly. Digital mapping can facilitate coordination between government partners and humanitarian organizations to enhance overall service. 

Recognizing this need, the Missing Maps Project was born in October 2014. The project is a collaboration between the American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Their mission is to map more than 20 million of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. In just one and a half years, Missing Maps has engaged over 5,600 volunteers, made 17.5 million edits, and mapped 2 million buildings. These milestones have added up to putting 8 million people on the map.

JPMorgan Chase’s Commitment

JPMogran Chase (JPMC) has decided to further these efforts by making a sizeable commitment to the Red Cross’ Missing Maps Initiative. JPMC will support 12-15 mapping events over the course of 18 months. JPMC also hosted its first Map-a-thon on January 28, 2016 at its Brooklyn campus. During these Map-a-thons, JPMorgan Chase employees have the opportunity to gather and virtually map disaster-prone areas in Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, and Vietnam.

But how does this work? Laptops are used to digitally trace streets, buildings, lakes, and mountains to create an accurate image of a region. Local residents and Red Cross volunteers can then verify the mapping work by visiting communities in those regions. Everything is labeled in the local language and added to OpenStreetMap, which is then accessible to government and humanitarian organizations.

The Impact and Mission

The impact and global reach of these Map-a-thons was apparent following the Nepal Earthquake. Within 20 days, 6,456 volunteers around the world worked together to make 13,089,247 edits and additions on to the map. Each volunteer’s determination allowed responders to better reach disaster areas and strengthened Nepal. 

All support for and efforts towards the Missing Maps Project help build resilience against future disasters. The need for mapping data is apparent as it provides first responders with better tools and resources to organize effective relief efforts. JPMC’s commitment will undoubtedly help fill this need and advance Red Cross’ Missing Maps Initiative.