April 2007

Monthly Archive

SWALIM WorldWind add-on for Somalia

Maurizio 23 Apr 2007 | : GPS, Maps, NASA WorldWind, Satellite Imagery, Virtual Globes

When SoMAP: webmap for Somalia crisis  was released a WorldWind add-on was anticipated to follow. The release of Chad’s Mogadishu Refugee Migration World Wind Add-On required background maps and image data … it had to be done! ;)

Somalia SWALIM add-on essentially comprises of the same data as SoMAP for 3D viewing in WorldWind:   a set of topographical maps covering Somalia in 100k and 200k resolution, Vector data of Mogadishu streets and general data, and displays areas affected by flooding. In addition selected areas also have 60cm/px Quickbird imagery provided by DigitalGlobe. 

Since SWALIM is the Somalia Water and Land Information Management project run by F.A.O.  for Somalia, the focus of this add-on is flooding. Somalia is one of those unfortunate spots of our planets where Nature plays a testing game on its inhabitants: either too little water or too much. Years of drought are followed by years of flooding … with a vengeance.

It is in this circumstances that historical data and careful land management becomes key not only to minimize impact of floodings but also to coordinate relief efforts in time of disaster.

In the past weeks many have asked the same questions:  what for? 

… or made comments of the kind:

Nature is simply putting things right, these populations have asked for punishment with their conflictual behaviour … see … they are warring again!

Astonishing: haven’t we learned anything from the past?

And how unkind these comments are to the hundreds of relief workers who risk heir life daily! :(

It is in time of extreme despair that religious fanaticism strives and undermines our societies, when Divine Intervention becomes the only hope for a better future.
The lesser the desperation, the lesser the fanaticism, the less the conflicts.

A relief truck which can find its way to destination does make a difference.
Close your eyes for an instant and just imagine a desperate father, in a refugee camp somewhere in Africa, powerless next to his dying son, desperation building up moment by moment and so the anger towards everything and everyone … and then suddenly the view of a white UN truck driving into the camp … hope! … I can see his smile, hope rushing back … and then, years later at a bonefire, imagine him again telling everyone of that glorious day when No-one was there and then miracolously a white truck arrived as an angel.

We can make the difference.

And, as I have just learned, we, the WorldWind community,  do indeed make a difference.  
Chad’s  refugees add-on mutated into a  kml suddenly makes Google Earth’s Communities aware of the Somali crisis  and the news  spreads fast …

Somalia - Chad at Earth is Square normally focuses his attention on WorldWind content (since he is a developer of the NASA-sponsored virtual globe). But, he was recently asked to develop a map showing human displacement issues in Somalia for both WorldWind and Google Earth. This is similar in concept to the Crisis in Darfur layer to help make people aware of human atrocities. Chad started by creating an add-on for WW, and then develops a similar one for Google Earth . Since WW supports KML, it seems to me he should have just developed a KML file and the same file could be supported by both applications. Regardless, great work Chad!

… Google suddenly populates Google Earth with Somali data.  

Finally the world learns :)

It has been a busy day. For details of the SWALIM add-on put together by Bull_UK please refer to his blog.

see also:

  • GeoNetwork gets a new interactive map viewer By Bull_UK
  • Somalia SWALIM Add-on For World Wind By Chad 
  • Mogadishu Refugee Migration World Wind Add-On by Chad
  • Mogadishu Refugee Migration Google Earth Version By Chad