Mission: Free, collaborative maps are uniquely valuable to humanitarian work, especially in places where base map data is often scarce, out of date, or rapidly changing. Openstreetmap is a web wiki project to create a free and open map of the entire world, built entirely by volunteers surveying with gps, digitizing aerial imagery, and collecting and liberating existing public sources of geographic data. The information in openstreetmap can fill in the gaps in base map data to assist in responses to disasters and crises. In the same way that the openstreetmap data bridges the missing information, the humanitarian openstreetmap team (hot), acts as a bridge between the traditional humanitarian responders and the openstreetmap community. Hot works both remotely and physically in countries to assist the collection of geographic data, usage of that information and training others in openstreetmap.
Programs: Haiti:in the time since march 2010 that hot has been working in haiti, there have been six field missions and three months of continuous support. Additionally, hundreds have been trained in osm through workshops and data collection programs. As a result of these actions, openstreetmap has been put in the forefront in haiti. The openstreetmap data had been improved upon and strong capacities built in the un system, part of the haitian government and in the civil society. In the future, further improvement to the data will occur as well as updates to it as needed. In march of 2010, hot began to lead its first field mission to haiti to help responding organizations, government of haiti (goh) entities and civil society groups to use openstreetmap. There were two components to this: using that data and contributing directly to the openstreetmap project by adding the data themselves. Eventually this fostered the emergence of the community openstreetmap haiti (cosmha), a hatiain openstreetmap organization which seeks to continue the development of the openstreetmap community in haiti. Hot and cosmha together have worked with the international organization for migration and its partners in the u. N. System as well as the government of haiti to further development of the osm data. This program includes baseline (transportation, education, health, water and sanitation facilities), humanitarian (hurricane disaster shelters and cholera-response structures) and community mapping as well as capacity building programs. Hot has continued to be active in haiti through 2012, though primarily in a support role to cosmha. This support is additionally provided with grassroots united, another partner working in haiti. Activities consist of further advanced training, help in project design, as well as organizational and technical assistance in current projects. The eventual goal is for cosmha to be self-sustaining and not need the assistance of hot.
indonesia:base data serves many needs in humanitarian response and often responding organizations are scrambling to gather data because it is not readily available. The focus of the program in indonesia has been disaster risk reduction to help collect data and perform analysis before a disaster strikes. A team of local staff provide workshops in mapping tools including openstreetmap, qgis and inasafe for universities, ngos and government. The goal of these trainings is to provide disaster managers with better analysis tools to prepare contingency plans.
remote response and other general programs:the humanitarian openstreetmap team maintains a network of individual volunteers, partner ngos, and international organizations to collect data after an event. The scale of the response depends on the size of the event and the ability of hot to respond effectively. In prior years, hot has responded to the tsunami in japan, an earthquake in turkey, continued unrest in the ivory coast, and famine in somalia.
Why I Gave to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team www.hotosm.org Well, Who Knew?
I watch the news. I’m aware of the amazing humanitarian agencies who fight Ebola, conduct search/rescue or provide relief to countless people around the globe after disasters. They’re on TV every day. They inspire me.
And…we’re probably ALL aware that:
Hundreds of disasters every year kill almost 100,000 people. They impact another 200 million more.
Behind the news is something that I didn’t know. (Maybe you don’t, either?) In fact, I probably still wouldn’t. I’m a retiree, mother and grandmother who’s sort of a humanitarian at heart. But--I have a son educated in the “techie” world who gave up his astoundingly high salary to follow his heart into international humanitarian work.
Here’s what I didn’t know:
To fight Ebola, conduct search & rescue after disasters, or provide relief services, agencies like Doctors Without Borders or Red Cross International need detailed maps of villages and other places where people live.
But, there’s a problem: Many places where disaster strikes do not exist on ANY map! So…how do teams locate unmapped villages…how do they find people?
I had no idea that there’s an amazing worldwide team that works every day on a solution to this very problem! And it has a name. It’s the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. That’s kind of a long name. So, people “in the know” affectionately refer to this community as “HOT.” (Yup—they’re HOTTIES…)
What does HOT actually do?
When disaster strikes, HOT mobilizes a global network—thousands of amazing volunteers. Using an editable map called OpenStreetMap, they team up and work tirelessly to create online maps of affected areas. Then, groups like Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and numerous humanitarian teams rely on the maps that HOT creates, especially in places previously unmapped.
And that’s not all I learned.
Not just in the event of a catastrophe, but EVERY DAY, dedicated HOT volunteers are working in many countries to put our world’s most vulnerable places and people on the map BEFORE disaster strikes.
A great example is HOT’s Missing Maps project, which benefits from the tireless work of wonderful volunteers around the globe. Missing Maps has put 8 million people on the map!
4,000 volunteers have helped HOT makeover 13 million edits to OpenStreetMap!
When Nepal was devastated by an earthquake, 7,000 contributors added 13 million objects to the map!
We don’t hear about HOT in the news. HOT is made up of quiet dynamos--amazing, caring, passionate people giving freely of their time and energy to be their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. HOT is made up of a principled, humanitarian executive director, a small global board of directors, limited staff, and thousands of volunteers. They stretch their resources for enormous impact.
Who knew about humanitarian mapping? Now I do. That’s why I gave and will donate again to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Please join me and, if you can’t donate, please just click “Like.” HOT deserves our support!