big data cartography

Analytics isn't just for adults

Salim Sheikh, a 12-year-old from India, grew fascinated by the maps in his computer class. He found his native country and, tracing his eyes across the subcontinent, looked for Rishi Aurobindo Colony, his slum within Kolkata. It was not there. He checked Google. Again, it appeared as if Rishi Aurobindo simply did not exist. The colony's absence on all maps prevented residents of the place from accessing vital government services, such as trash pickup, running water, and vaccinations. So Sheikh and his friends decided to change that. They began mapping their community. Sheikh charted where disease spread and where garbage piled up in the streets. He and his friends' efforts raised polio vaccination rates from 40% to 80%. Sheikh and his team are now incorporating digital technology into their tracking and outreach. For now, the roads and details of their community cannot be found on any map other than the one they have created -- though they are now working to integrate their work onto Google Earth.

- Last updated September 10 2012 06:07 PM ET
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