Volunteers are needed to digitize new roads in the Asia-Pacific

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We are currently living in the most explosive era of infrastructure expansion in human history. By 2050, it is projected that there will be an additional 25 million kilometres of paved roads on Earth—enough to encircle the planet more than 600 times. Around nine-tenths of these roads will be built in developing nations and tropical regions, which sustain many of the planet’s most biologically diverse and environmentally important ecosystems!

Unfortunately, the contemporary avalanche of new infrastructure is having severe impacts on many ecosystems and species. Roads that penetrate into wilderness areas, for example, often have profound and proliferating environmental effects—such as promoting habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, illegal mining, and wildfires.

However, not all infrastructure is ‘bad’ for the environment. In appropriate contexts, new infrastructure can yield sizable social and economic benefits with only limited environmental costs. For instance, road improvements in already-settled areas can facilitate increases in agricultural production and improve rural livelihoods, by giving farmers better access to urban markets, fertilizers, and new agricultural technologies. Such roads can also provide rural residents with better access to health care, schools, and employment opportunities, while encouraging private investment.


Volunteer with our team

The project:

Limiting Environmental Impacts While Optimizing Benefits of Rapid Global Infrastructure Expansion

We are seeking volunteers to assist us in digitizing (tracing) new road infrastructure and classifying road attributes in Google Earth. You can do this from home with a computer and internet connection by downloading the free Google Earth application and utilizing spatial data sets that we will provide.  

Join our researchers in mapping all roads in the tropics and developing nations to help guide future development towards sustainable outcomes!


Download Google Earth Free

Download Google Earth

Contact us if you would like more info, need assistance, or are ready to work on the project. 

Contact: jaime.huther@jcu.edu.au

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Sample files and instructions available

Download sample files & instructions

If you want to be involved, please work your way through the instruction booklet using the sample files.


 A special thanks to NRMjobs for supporting our volunteer recruitment (www.nrmjobs.com.au)

A special thanks to NRMjobs for supporting our volunteer recruitment (www.nrmjobs.com.au)

Contact us about volunteering

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