Next week, the World Data Forum gathers in Cape Town, South Africa to start the hard detailed work to measure and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are excited our friends from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team will be there to share the collaboration of citizens and institutions creating geographic data in Open Mapping.

To introduce Open Mapping at the Forum, we are launching the Open Mapping for the SDGs Toolkit, written with HOT, the World Bank GFDRR, and Peace Corps. This short guide frames Open Mapping for policy makers and in-country implementors, and links to existing resources to further help develop projects.

Global partnership for sustainable data

The Sustainable Development Goals were agreed upon in 2015, setting the agenda of global cooperation until 2030. Measurable indicators of success were then drawn up in 2016.

Now, 2017 starts to get real with data for development. In a whiplash-inducing pace of change, how does the United Nations and national statistical offices use data and technology to both measure and achieve development goals? We think it will require quick leverage of everything on offer, and everyone impacted needs an opportunity to contribute.

One of the clearest examples of the impact Open Mapping can have on SDGs like Goal 3 - Ensure healthy lives for all, is in the fight against Malaria. A rapidly growing group of institutions are taking up the approach. Maps created by USAID with YouthMappers, Peace Corps, and others have already helped plan Indoor Residual Spraying campaigns for the President’s Malaria Initiative, ensuring that a sufficient number of households are treated to kill mosquitoes and stop the transmission of Malaria.

Man spraying for Malaria

And our business and community partner Tableau, together with PATH and led by Zambia’s Ministry of Health, has used OpenStreetMap data to model where Malaria is likely to hit. PATH, the Tableau Foundation, and companies like Mapbox — a tech coalition known as Visualize No Malaria — recently joined Zambia’s historic push to finish the disease in five years’ time.

Mapbox has helped by filling gaps in satellite imagery, hosting events, and by setting up and validating mapping tasks. This is only the beginning of how policy makers and implementors can use Open Mapping to fight Malaria, and to measure and meet all of the SDGs.

Best of luck to all those doing the hard data work at the Forum! Follow @hotosm for updates from the forum, and see Rebecca talk about data visualizations for the 2030 agenda and the Missing Millions. Mapbox is proud of our commitment to connect open source and open data communities to the Sustainable Development Goals. Let us know if you have ideas on how we can help further through Mapbox Humanitarian.