Science company with Derbyshire UK HQ leads the way in charity mapping day

Volunteers from a science company with a Derbyshire headquarters have been helping map some of the most vulnerable corners of the world – all without leaving their desks.


Employees from Lubrizol, whose UK HQ is based at Hazelwood near Belper, took part in a charity day helping put some of the world’s most vulnerable places quite literally on the map.


Called ‘Missing Maps’, the initiative is organised by a collection of charities from around the world including the British, German, Netherlands, Canadian and American Red Cross, along with medical organisation Medicins Sans Frontieres and the Humanitarian Open StreetMap team.


The project involves volunteers spending time mapping areas where disaster and crisis are likely to occur but which are missing from open and accessible maps, meaning that first responders do not have up-to-date information when it comes to bringing vital relief.


Lubrizol has been supporting the scheme by encouraging employees to take part in mapping days to help fill in the blanks in available geographical information about disaster-prone parts of the world.


The company’s support was part of its “Building Global Bonds” initiative encouraging employees to undertake voluntary work in the community. As well as Derbyshire, employees from its offices in the USA also took part in the Missing Maps project.


One UK volunteer was Claire Hollingshurst, who works at Lubrizol’s UK headquarters in Hazelwood.


On a recent Missing Maps day Claire was lending her support in a ‘validation’ exercise for Kumbu, a city in Cameroon in Western Africa. The work involved checking details on maps already created by volunteers to ensure their accuracy.


Claire said: “Taking part in the Missing Maps exercise was fascinating for me. With modern technology it’s pretty incredible that from my desk in Derbyshire I’m able to hopefully assist in providing important information about a city nearly 5,000 miles away! I do think that volunteering is really important and I’m pleased that Lubrizol supports me to take part in projects like this.”


The Missing Maps team is aiming to better understand the settlement and road pattern of Kumbu. The organisation’s work in West Africa is aimed at combatting Ebola, with accurate maps playing a key role in understanding the make-up of communities in the area. Missing map information has in the past made contact tracing very difficult without accurate names and locations for villages.


According to the Missing Maps team, disasters around the world annually kill nearly 100,000 people and affect or displace 200 million. Many places where these occur are missing from open and accessible maps.


Photos show: Claire Hollingshurst taking part in the Missing Maps


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