PUERTO RICO - Mapathon
Satellite images of rural outposts and grooved mountainsides dominated the computer screens inside a room in Manhattan, where more than 60 volunteers sat. One woman huddled over her laptop, carefully watching a thick red square bloom from the pen tool as she traced over a building.
Maps can show a hidden weakness during natural disasters. In remote areas, where forces often wreak the greatest devastation, entire villages may have never made it onto a map. That could be because private companies, which hold the rights to their maps, have less incentive to include those areas, or because the government does not have the resources for frequent updates to existing maps. Even when a region is mapped, changes in neighborhoods could alter the landscape drastically in less than a year.