How do you map a city?

Last week, we invited our readers to collaboratively map the city of Baraka, DRC as part of the Missing Maps project. Here’s what happened



Mapping Baraka, one square at a time. Photograph: Linda Nylind

On a crisp and dark Friday night in November, 80 keen cartographers – Guardian readers, of course – arrived at our headquarters to do something that has never been done before: to digitally map the city of Baraka, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were joined by over 100 remote mappers, laptops at the ready.

The event was part of the Missing Maps project, a collaboration between the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the British and American Red Cross, which aims to create free, open-source maps for every settlement on Earth – especially vulnerable places where mapping can dramatically improve processes of aid and disaster relief.

As well as a team of mappers, we were joined by members of HOT and the British Red Cross, who enabled us to use the open-source mapping tools to start overlaying satellite images with lines and shapes that represented roads, buildings and other key parts of the city’s infrastructure.

By the end of the night, 70% of Baraka was mapped – and we hope our readers will continue their cartographic endeavours to map more as part of the project.

Here are some snapshots of how the mapping progressed throughout the evening – both at Guardian HQ and remotely. From all of us at Guardian Cities, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved!

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