In November 2009 the European Commission published its autumn prognosis for the years 2009-2011. Striking is the prediction of the concerning development of the national budgets of most EU-states. According to the document hardly any of the EU-states will fulfill the Maastricht-criteria in 2010. The situation looks especially critical for Ireland and Greece. The tenor of public debates on this seems to be that the Irish or the Greek themselves are to blame for their situation. The term PIGS (for Portugal, Ireland/Italy, Greece, Spain) used expresses a poor attitude and might distract from the fact that the common economic imbalance in Europe is not entirely their fault.
For further reading: Times Online
Since the advent of very-high-resolution satellite data rapid crisis respond with maps based on recent satellite images has been helping relief organisations. These maps usually have been created by specialised organizations of which many are organised under the international charter “Space and Major Disasters”. Recently the OpenStreetMap Community has become big and active enough that they are able to contribute a share in interpreting satellite images and updating map data in a crisis scenario. The work that has been done in Haiti is impressing.
A special redering of openstreetmap for Haiti can be found at http://haiti.openstreetmap.nl/.
Port-au-Prince in OSM on January 1st, 2010
Port-au-Prince in OSM on January 17th, 2010