SafeGraph was founded, first and foremost, to democratize access to clean, accurate, and comprehensive geospatial data on physical places. But our mission truly goes beyond access alone. As data experts and enthusiasts ourselves, we know the power that location data can have in transforming and creating a much deeper understanding of the world around us. That’s why, in the past, we’ve often made our data readily available for academic institutions and non-profit organizations—especially during times of crisis—because we know that having access to the very best location data can lead to new innovations and sometimes life-changing solutions that have the potential to make a meaningful impact on the world.
For this reason, we’ve always believed that using location data has incredible power to support disaster response. In fact, using SafeGraph data to find real-time solutions during times of crisis has been at the heart of our DNA from the very beginning. We saw this really come to fruition during the COVID-19 pandemic and, since then, have seen it being used to solve big socio-economic questions around access to healthcare, access to healthy food, and beyond.
That’s why we didn’t think twice about making SafeGraph data free and accessible to support on-the-ground organizations in Turkey in recent disaster response efforts following the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey and Syria—particularly, to help map out the most affected areas where thousands of buildings have collapsed and countless lives have been lost.
Yer Çizenler is an Istanbul-based NGO founded in 2017. As the organization’s name in English, “Mapping for Everyone” might suggest, the organization’s sole focus is to support the production, management, and sharing of publicly-accessible geospatial data—via free and open tools and software—to support various humanitarian efforts.
Following the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria, Yer Çizenler quickly organized a disaster relief project, in collaboration with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (OSM) Organization and other partners, for mapping out the most affected areas as a way to support humanitarian work in the field. However, because location data in the region is still relatively underdeveloped, Yer Çizenler needed to lean into the entire mapping community to help close the gaps.
This is where SafeGraph comes into the picture: We donated Turkey-based POI (point of interest) data to be ingested by OSM to prioritize response efforts based on urgency, region, or proximity to specific POIs, like pharmacies, via a powerful disaster response dashboard.
Additionally, working closely with Said Turksever—a local lead from Yer Cizenler as well as a project manager at Meta—we’ve provided up-to-date POI data to help verify before and after (earthquake) street-level imagery to aid in response efforts.
All in all, while a long road to recovery is to be expected in this situation, it’s clear that when industries like ours—and well beyond—come together to provide essential resources to support life-or-death humanitarian efforts, like those currently happening in Turkey and Syria, it can make an incredibly positive impact. Even in the aftermath of genuinely catastrophic events.
Our recent collaboration with various organizations in Turkey is yet another example of why the entire team at SafeGraph is not only proud but also committed to continuing to make our accurate and up-to-date geospatial data available whenever disaster strikes—as a way of doing our part to help on-the-ground organizations amplify their ability to do good and, more importantly, make a difference in the lives of potentially millions of people.
As the crisis in Turkey and Syria continues to unfold, we will monitor how SafeGraph data is being used to support rescue teams and identify any new and innovative use cases for our data that we can immediately put into action in the future.
For now, though, be sure to follow Yer Çizenler to get real-time updates on how their active mapping work is continuing to make a positive impact on disaster response efforts in the region.