I will discuss about YouthMappers, an inclusive international network of university-student-led chapters who organize, collaborate, and implement mapping activities that respond to data needs around the globe – creating and using spatial information that is made publicly available through open platforms. On 277+ campuses in 61+ countries, the 5,000+ YouthMappers share experiences and results while learning, leading, and making a difference in the world through geospatial technologies. Projects range from addressing global topics linked to the SDGs, to leveraging local knowledge for economic prosperity, humanitarian needs, and development.
I will illustrate this work in my presentation through two examples. The first from Sierra Leone, where YouthMappers are mapping fundamental features like buildings footprints, tracing streets, and pinpointing where utility poles dot the landscape. By understanding settlement patterns, road connectivity, and the layout of current low-voltage distribution networks, YouthMappers are speeding up and scaling up design for rural electrification in Africa. The second example uncovered stark inequalities in adaptive capacity under housing insecurity and extreme heat in Arizona. Through mapping liberated data from 80 organizations across Maricopa County, it raised the alarm that mobile home residents are up to 8 times more likely to die from heat-related illness. Results indicated the need to re-characterize metrics of social vulnerability that inform heat policies to include specific housing-type factors.