There are now 6.8 billion people on the planet. And about 5 billion cell phones.
This extraordinary ability to connect has turned a modern convenience into a lifeline through a system called crisis mapping. It first gained prominence after the earthquake in Haiti, when people used their cell phones to send text messages to a centralized response team. Since then, crisis mapping has been used to help victims in emergency zones following the tornadoes in the Midwest, the earthquake in Japan and the unrest in the Middle East.
Today, there are hundreds of volunteers in more than 50 countries creating maps of crises around the world, using a system that incorporates the lessons learned in Haiti.