Saturday, 21 May 2022

Mapping system helping hospitals and charities during covid-19 crisis

Mapping system helping hospitals and charities during covid-19 crisis

A MAN from Skirmett has launched a new mapping system to help charities and hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rupert Douglas-Bate founded Global MapAid in 2003 after completing a humanitarian fellowship at Stanford University in America.

His work normally involves helping disadvantaged communities in Ethiopia and Nepal by developing technology to improve agricultural settlements.

Since the start of the global pandemic, Mr Douglas-Bate has turned his attention to helping charities, hospitals and schools.

By registering on the Big UK Hope Map, these organisations can receive donations. It can also help charities to focus their support more accurately, saving them time and money.

There are two maps, one of which shows the number of coronavirus cases across the UK and the other with the name of organisations which are attempting to help those in need during the pandemic. Mr Douglas-Bate, 56, said: “Our mission is to put on maps where the need is and where the gaps are and it means that charities and good causes can target their responses.

“We have all the hospitals in the UK signed up and schools have also agreed to give us their data. We are also beginning to put up care homes and food banks.

“This is a free service and there are lots of benefits to using this map. You might not know about the good causes in other parts of the country and now you can find them, go through to their website and donate. You can also say you have a relative living there and request help. The response so far has been very promising.”

Mr Douglas-Bate, who was born and raised in Iran, has done refugee relief and development work in Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe. He shares his time between Global MapAid and his organic food business, Rupert Douglas Fine Foods. Global MapAid has been focused in Ethiopia, where more than 40 million people are malnourished.

Most of them live less than 3m from fresh water but it is underground and it is only through MapAid’s technology that they know where to dig.

Mr Douglas-Bate said: “Until the virus hit, we were working on a project involving boreholes in Ethiopia.

“The drought has been ongoing since 2011 and without water you can’t grow food. These shallow boreholes are carefully sited and we are working on an artificial intelligence project to figure out where to put them so that they are sustainable.

“I have spent many years in Africa and what we are doing now is stuff we learned there.”

Mr Douglas-Bate, who has had to close his food business during the pandemic, said there was nothing else like the Big UK Hope Map. It shows all the hospitals across the UK and matches them up to local charities as well as allowing people to leave a donation. So far, it has linked up with 1,000 UK hospitals, 132 NHS trusts and 53 schools, which are offering to make PPE, provide transport or cook meals.

Mr Douglas-Bate, who lives with his fiancée Nathalie Houdret, said: “It is very easy to register. You just have to go to the website and complete a survey and that gets sent to one of our volunteers. They will take the data and moderate it before it goes up.

“If you are an organisation and you have a network of 30 care homes, you can tell us the location of each care home by postcode and can attach a little bit of information and the website address.

“I would hope that as many of the good causes out there as possible could use this resource to share their stories and get people to their website to donate.

“We love Africa and we haven’t forgotten about it but we are Brits and now is the time to help out.”

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