Our interest in mapping at the World Bank is strong and growing. Our efforts with Mapping for Results, the Bank’s Spatial Analysis Lab, and the Open Aid Partnership have shown us that location matters and maps help us and our clients make better choices in alleviating poverty. Recent collaboration with citizen mappers in Haiti and Tanzania demonstrate the power of working directly with people to create maps and the utility of geo-data for humanitarian response and planning. Through trial and error, we have learned that open and equitable access to maps is critical not only for crisis response but also for innovation and longer-term development.
For this reason, the World Bank only supports citizen-mapping efforts that give users free access to the map data they create. While citizens are free to choose the projects and tools that best meet their goals, our guiding principle is simple: if the public helps to collect or create map data, the public should be able to access, use and re-use that data freely.
Questions have been raised about our partnership with Google for the use of Map Maker data. The single goal of this joint project is to provide UN agencies and governments faster access to Map Maker data for humanitarian, development and disaster preparedness efforts. Access to Google’s map data is an important resource for the World Bank and our development partners and the agreement simplifies this process. Bank staff exercised the partnership in Madagascar and Tajikistan in recent weeks for rapid access to geo-data for disaster preparedness and response.