UNOSAT has released an updated version of its Gaza situation map, while OCHA (the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) has also released a map focusing on the humanitarian situation. Both maps incorporate information from as recently as yesterday, January 5, 2009.
I’ve now also geopositioned the OCHA map. Additionally, I’ve put both overlays into a nested network link and moved all the content to my Dropbox (putting this Ogle Earth post to good use).
Here is the result, a single URL that automatically shows the latest versions of both maps. Remember to play with the opacity slider in Google Earth.
Should there be further updates to these maps (or other new useful maps made available) then I will simply replace the files via Dropbox and update the KML file. Your network link in Google will automatically show the latest file, without you needing to download it again — either just relaunch Google Earth, or right-click on the folder icon and select “Refresh”.
As Aid Worker Daily has shown, online maps of Gaza are sub-par at the moment, though you can help OpenStreetMap build a better map of Gaza right now — Mikel Maron is asking for help. Google’s Ed Parsons lends his support to Mikel’s OSM Gaza effort, in part because Google’s own Map Maker crowdsourcing tool isn’t enabled for Gaza. Yet another reason why it is important to have OSM around.
Google Map Maker Fail
(Note: Overlays of the OCHA and UNOSAT maps are clearly a stopgap method of getting information across — it would be more efficient to have map contents available as KML vector objects, constantly updated as this conflict progresses. One proof of concept is the Google Map showing the progress of ABC News correspondent N.J. Burkett as he covers the conflict (via Google Maps Mania). I’m not going to add the KML for that map to the network link of reference maps, but it is an example of what’s possible. If anyone knows of such updated content about the humanitarian situation or the progress of the war, please let me know and I will add it. Also let me know if you find other maps to overlay.)