This summer I got the chance to meet the students in IM Socio, a high school group at Franklin High School. We walked the High Line and mapped it for their interactive map exploring design. It was an energetic group that was equipped for community mapping and just needed the right problem. Here it is: gas lines.
I just got back from IM Socio's emergency project: headquarters. Fielding calls from around NJ and NY, the students are creating an actively changing database of gas stations that have gas and others that don't. There isn't enough space for them to work, so they are sprawled out all over the floor.
Their web site, Got Gas? is getting lots of well-deserved attention from HuffPo, and NBC4. FEMA has converted their data into a Hurricane Sandy ArcGIS map.
Oh, and they've been getting kudos from the White House.
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It is a great example of how quickly community mapping can be mobilized. But there is more to it. Dr. Wansoo Im has been preparing this group for months, he just didn't know that this is what he was preparing them for. For much of the data, the students are making calls instead of relying heavily on the public to collect the data with Mappler Mobile. Fortunately, Dr. Im has some software, space and equipment that has served as the infrastructure, but this emergency response requires some of that infrastructure. But it thrives on IM Socio's youthful energy (and pizza).