Cartography’s New Golden Age

A growing community of "citizen cartographers" is using online tools to create maps of remote areas – and transforming people’s lives in the process. Accurate maps create opportunities for economic growth, improve access to health care and other services, contribute to social development, and broaden people’s horizons.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA – Noé Diakubama, an emigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo who now lives in Paris, is one of this century’s intrepid pioneers. Using online mapmaking tools, he created the first map of his village, Mbandaka, which he and his wife have modified more than 100,000 times since 2009. Noé literally put Mbandaka – and the people who live there – on the map.