Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Beijing Flood Mapping By Volunteers Beats Official Govt Site By a Day

BY Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya | Tuesday, July 31 2012

Volunteer-built map of Beijing flooding

Beijing’s Internet users banded together last week to solve a time-sensitive problem—mapping the hardest hit areas of the city in the wake of major flooding and warning other residents to steer clear of hard-hit areas, China Daily reports.

Users of Guokr.com, a social network for fans of science and technology, started a campaign to plot trouble spots using Google maps sometime after the rains on Saturday July 21.

The result was not only more accurate than the government output— it was available almost a day earlier. According to People’s Daily Online , these crowd-sourced maps were widely circulated on Weibo the Monday and Tuesday after the flooding.

The Beijing Water Authority released its own map on Tuesday, which was criticized for being difficult-to-read and arriving too late in the game.

Anger has arisen over the Beijing government’s response to the floods, with many people suggesting that more could have been done, including sending SMS warnings , as other Chinese cities did.

Late Thursday, the official Chinese News Agency, Xinhua announced that the death toll from the Beijing floods had reached 77. These recent floods are the worst to hit the Beijing metro area in over sixty years.