A hobby I’m passionate about is mapping. Over the last few years I’ve dedicated thousands of hours adding to the world map. There are basically two map formats in the world, Google and Openstreetmap. Google is a company and they make you pay for their maps one way or another. Openstreetmap is free to the world for use and editing. It’s addictive. I add quite a bit of detail to the map wherever I go. One technique I use is to photograph sections of streets and then refer to them later when I’m adding to the map. I delete most of the photos when I’m done with them, but sometimes I accidentally end up with photos I like.
Openstreetmap (OSM) assists in humanitarian efforts that Google isn’t interested in. For example, when an earthquake, hurricane or other disaster hits remote areas of the world, local governments often have no idea where their populations are or how to reach them with help. The U.N., the Red Cross and other international organizations need detailed maps quickly so that response teams know where to focus their efforts. For example, when the volcano exploded recently in Guatemala, a team I belong to rushed in and we used satellite imagery to map thousands of small houses, shacks, roads, rivers, etcetera and within hours teams on the ground were able to use OSM maps to help communities affected by the deadly effects of the active volcano.