Imagery for the Crowd is a fascinating project currently in beta stages.  It’s being run by the US Department of State Humanitarian Information Unit.

The system uses a crowdsourcing model to process high-resolution satellite imagery that has been purchased by the state, and converting it into web-based mapping by volunteers.

The data is maintained by a UK organisation called Open Street Map.  They’re a non-profit that works to ensure that the data volunteers are providing is freely available.  They were chosen after their success in mapping Haiti after an earthquake struck the region in 2010.

It’s a great example of how social tools are being used to deliver real benefits in a crucial area.  You can find out more about Imagery to the Crowd by watching the video below.