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July 21, 2016
Virtual Mappers Helping Disaster Responders Worldwide

SEATTLE — People who love to use and create maps — whether it’s to locate day-to-day conveniences such as coffee shops and gas stations; or mark essentials such as fire hydrants and neighborhood walkability; or virtually help responders in disaster zones thousands of miles away find their way to people in need – will meet at Seattle University July 23-25 for OpenStreetMap’s seventh annual national conference: State of the Map U.S.: Building Community.

OpenStreetMap, often called the Wikipedia of maps, is a free and open source map of the world being created by more than a million volunteers around the globe. This year’s conference will highlight new, unique applications of OpenStreetMap (OSM) data and methods by a wide range of organizations, governments, educators and individuals locally, nationally and internationally.

Presentations will cover many topics — from the emerging role of OSM in international disaster response (Missing Maps, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap/HOT) to its growing routing capabilities for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians — and will include presentations by Wikipedia, Facebook, American Red Cross, and local entities such as Microsoft and the Tacoma Fire Department.

What’s the difference between Google and OpenStreetMap? “OSM makes data available to anyone, anywhere, at no cost,” says Clifford Snow, an active volunteer and organizer for OSM in Washington. “Anyone can contribute to it, and anyone can use it. New data is processed and posted within minutes, not days or weeks. There’s a very good chance that if you are not using Google maps to find something online, you’re using OSM. Just one example: Check out Craigslist.”

DATES: July 23, 9 a.m. through July 25, noon

LOCATION: Seattle University, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle, 98122, Pigott Building

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

  • Saturday morning: Katherine Maher, executive director, Wikimedia (parent organization of Wikipedia)
  • Sunday morning: Dale Kunce, international GIS lead for the American Red Cross

INTERVIEWS: For access to the conference, or to schedule phone and in-person interviews with speakers and participants before, during or after the conference, call or text 206-781-2265, or send an email to katia@blackburncommunications.com. (Please see the attached pdf for interview and storyline ideas.)

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