Select Text Level:

This video was filmed on Thursday, June 14th at the 2012 National Geographic Explorers Symposium at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Patrick Meier pioneers the lifesaving new field of crisis mapping and makes it available, accessible, and free to humanitarian organizations and volunteers across the globe. Using social media, texting, and other technologies, Meier is able to create real-time maps that help local disaster relief. Crisis maps help direct aid specifically to people or organizations requesting help. As director of crisis mapping at the nonprofit technology company Ushahidi and co-founder of the Standby Volunteer Task Force, he is helping to revolutionize the power and effectiveness of relief efforts worldwide.
    • Mapping the world live: recognizing a need after the earthquake in Haiti (start-1:53 min.)
    • Using social media to create a live crisis map of Haiti (1:54-04:34 min.)
    • Accidentally creating the most comprehensive and up-to-date map of Haiti (04:35-06:18 min.)
    • How the map was created: base maps, text messages in Creole, and social media (06:19-10:49 min.)
    • Live mapping on a global scale: getting the public involved (10:50-12:37 min.)
    • Crisis mapping in Somalia: using the crowd-sourcing model (12:38-15:05 min.)
    • Who are the mapsters? How to join the Standby Volunteer Task Force (15:06-16:05 min.)
    • What's next? Connecting communities in need to those who can help (16:06-17:41 min.)
    • Re-think the way we see and use maps: today's maps are alive (17:42-18:20 min.)
Strategies for Using Video in a Variety of Learning Environments
  • Have students preview several of the videos and choose the one they find most inspiring. Have students describe in writing a conversation they might have with the speaker(s).
  • Freeze the video on a relevant image. Have students observe details in the still image and jot down predictions of what the full video might address. Discuss students’ ideas before and after watching the video.
  • Pose an open-ended question before students watch the video, and have them discuss their ideas before and after in small groups.
  • Have students determine what they think the key message of this video is. Was the speaker effective in getting his or her message across?
  • Show a short clip to engage students during class, and then have students watch the full video at home and write a paragraph responding to the content or a question you give them.
  • Have students note statements that represent facts or opinions, including where it’s difficult to tell the difference. What further research might help distinguish facts and opinions? How might the speaker’s viewpoint compare with others’ viewpoints about a topic?
community mapping

process where members of a community use geographic tools to understand the region in spatial terms.


event or situation leading to dramatic change.

crisis map

representation of spatial information related to weather, hazards, and emergency preparedness and response.


making and using maps.

satellite imagery

photographs of a planet taken by or from a satellite.