A New Generation of Digital Maps

The GeoCenter is working with university students around the world to create new geospatial data in unmapped places. The new mapping data is published on a web-based, open data platform and is used by USAID programs.


Launched in 2015 by the USAID GeoCenter, the YouthMappers program is a growing global network of 4,000 students from 75 universities in 25 countries. YouthMappers create new geospatial data from satellite imagery, validate the data with communities on the ground, and publish it on a web-based platform known as OpenStreetMap. The data are used by USAID to address real-world humanitarian and development challenges. The program helps students learn new mapping technologies, develop leadership skills, and establish trans-boundary relationships while addressing local problems. Mapping data created by student mappers have helped target disaster response, food security programming, HIV/AIDs programming, and malaria prevention in Africa.

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Preventing Malaria in Mozambique

YouthMappers is working to end malaria, which is one of the biggest killers of children under age five in Africa.  In 2016, more than 15 university chapters used satellite imagery to create a map of the city of Milange, Mozambique. The mapping data was validated by Peace Corps Volunteers and local officials on the ground, and then used to determine the number of residential buildings in the town. This information helps anti-malaria organizations better plan and target their seasonal efforts to spray insecticide in the places where people are vulnerable and need it the most: inside their homes.

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