Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

#BC2020 Mapathons

Posted by Noznoc on 23 November 2017 in English (English)

North Battleford, SASK, task (You can see the visualization here and this entry can also be seen on my website.)


Building Canada 2020 project (BC2020) is a community-led initiative driven by a simple and clear vision: map all buildings in Canada on OpenStreetMap (OSM) by the year 2020. While interning at Mapbox, the Community Team supported my participation in the BC2020, but but my involvement actually initiated from my work at Statistics Canada on the Crowdsourcing project, as well as my personal interests in volunteered geographic information. For more details about the project, check out the Mapbox "Points of Interest" blog post I wrote.

Though conceptually simple, mapping all buildings in all of Canada on OSM is no simple task. Without a large and diverse group of individuals that are willing to maintain participation, we may find that contirbutions decline with time, as has been seen in many past crowdsourcing projects. Interest usually starts strong, which has been the case so far in BC2020, but other priorities can affect a volunteer's ability to remain committed to a proect, and thus participation can weaken or even stop. Therefore, in my opinion, the success of BC2020 comes from continuous engagement and education to various private and public organizations across all of Canada, which includes NGOs, government entities at various geographic levels, local citizens and experienced OSM contributors, and academic institutions.

Mapathon Organization

There has been a growing interest to incorporate OSM into academia, which I have witnessed online and which my former and current colleagues have informed me they witnessed at the HOT Summit in Ottawa (Sept. 14-15, 2017). With this in mind, Mapbox's Community Team and I believed engaging with Canadian post-secondary institutions would be a great opprotunity to educate academics and students, as well as other interested individuals, about OSM and how to contribute data onto OSM for BC2020 during OSMGeoWeek (Nov. 12-18, 2017) in a meaningful way!

When beginning, I wanted to ensure that the leaders for each mapathon had a GIS background, so I decided to reach out to individuals at various universities and colleges across Canada that were affiliated with either Geothink or were the heads of Geography libraries. After solidifying interest from 8 different groups (2 in BC, 1 in ATLA, 1 in MAN, 3 in ON, 1 in QC), I created a wiki page documenting guidelines and resources for hosting mapathons specifically for mapping buildings on OSM. I also helped identify the area of interest (AOI) that each mapathon would armchair map. Since I wanted to avoid beginner mappers adding buildings within already mapped regions on OSM, I scanned rural Canadian regions on OSM that I suspected would be unmapped. After identifying a suitable region, I then researched whether or not that region had an already existing open dataset of buildings that could be imported. If there was no existing dataset, I concluded that the region was appropriate for the mapathon. Some universities even reached out to their AOI's municipality to see if there were building footprint open datasets that could be imported instead (in which case they would have selected a different region as importing requires more expertise). The municipalities who stated they did not also expressed support for the initiative! It was warming to see eager mapathon leaders connecting with local municipalities, and even local OSM contributors, to collaborate.

Once the AOIs were picked, I wanted to develop tasks in the Canadian Tasking Manager for the mapathons so that the participants had clear instructions on how to map buildings on OSM with the iD editor. (Note: JOSM would have been preferred because the building_tools plug-in makes adding buildings seamless, but there is a learning curve because JOSM's graphical interface is not user-friendly.) After communicating with a Canadian OSM community member about my intentions, I was granted admin rights to create projects in the Tasking Manager. The image below shows a task I created for North Battleford, SASK.

North Battleford, SASK, task

Data Visualization

After the mapathons took place between Nov. 10 - 17, I wanted to analyze and visualize the contributed data. First, I used Overpass Turbo to see what buildings were contributed in the 8 AOIs that were mapped; so, on Nov. 20, I zoomed into each AOI and used the following query to select the OSM buildings contributed from the mapathons: building=yes and newer:7day. I then opened each query within JOSM and saved them as individual OSM XMLs to ensure I didn't lose the metadata, which would have been the case if I directly saved the queries as GeoJSONs from Overpass Turbo. Next, I used osmtogeojson to convert the OSM XMLs to GeoJSONs for each AOI. I then imported the GeoJSONs into QGIS to assess the data. Some GeoJSONs had point and polygon data, but I only imported the polygon data into QGIS. In QGIS, I calculated the total number of contributors and buildings for each AOI. After analyzing the data, I merged all GeoJSONs together using I saved the merged GeoJSON and then used tippecanoe to convert the GeoJSON into a vector tileset. Lastly, I imported the tileset into Mapbox Studio to create a custom style (although I used Mapbox's Standard style as the starting point).

With all the data cleaned, I was ready to create the data visualization. I used Mapbox's Malaria Mapping visualization as a guide, but instead of running the repo's scripts, I just altered the timestamps in Sublime Text (e.g., 2017-11-17T21:26:38+00:00 to 20171117). After adjusting the timestamps, I used Mapbox GL JS to create the time slider functionality. I also wanted every mapathon participant to see their contributions, so I added a button for each participating organization. This way a mapathon leader or participant can be directed to their AOI and review their contributions and stats. From my interactions with the visualization, it was neat to see how some AOIs had mapping done over multiple days.


I believe validation is very important for BC2020, and more generally to OSM. It is not just about adding data, but about having data that is reliable. Also, validation is especially important because most mapathon participants were beginner armchair mappers and new to OSM. I wanted to make sure the visualization supports validation efforts, thus I added popups so users could select a building footprint and then be directed to that specific building in the iD editor. Also, whenever a user zooms into a selected AOI, they can click on a button to be directed to the task in the Canadian Tasking Manager, or directed to review the validation documentation I wrote up in the wiki. You can see the visualization here!


My work isn't done yet; it is just beginning. I am working with the universities to conduct validation and I intend on adapting the visualization to handle dynamic data that visualizations all changesets with #bc2020 in the comments. Please let me know if you are intersted in contributing or helping in any capacity! As mentioned above, the success of BC2020 requires a group of active participants!

Hi Friends

Posted by farhadGuli on 23 November 2017 in English (English)

I'm from iraq kurdistan,zakho,batifa, I love this site its very useful, by this I added many roads and new places to my unknown town called batifa, I love the way you accept all our new suggestions about adding new place and roads. I'm happy for helping with you, openmapstreet its NO1 best map site.

Alt text

#batifa #kurdistan

Location: Batifa, Zakho District, Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq

A user study to understand human cognition influence on data classification quality

Posted by grass_and_green on 23 November 2017 in English (English)

Dear participants,

Thank you for helping science and supporting voluntary geographic contents. The contents which have been exclusively collected by voluntary efforts. In these contents, public with local knowledge is the main source of information. Thus, we are (as a computer scientist) concerning with human cognition influence on data classification. Human perceives things differently.

For example, regarding landuse/landcover classification, we could agree on that a parcel of land is covered by grass or water which is an abstract level of classification. However, whether this parcel is a park, a garden, a cemetery, or even a golf court might be perceived differently. Whether this water body is a pond, a lake or a reservoir likely requires finer measures, geographic knowledge, and particular expertise.

Therefore, we developed a study to understand more about how people perceive geographic contents remotely. The study aims to:

  • find out human capabilities to provide landuse data.
  • understand the influence of classification mechanism and schema on data quality.
  • study human behaviors in providing voluntary data, and
  • emphasis challenges of data classification in voluntary contents.

The study takes about 25-30 min. We do not collect any personally identifiable information. Thank you again for your time and your contribution. To participate in the study press here

Don't hesitate to contact me for further comments and feedbacks.

Best regards,

Dr. Ahmed Loai Ali

Location: Altstadt, Mitte, Stadtbezirk Bremen-Mitte, Bremen, Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen, 28195, Germany


Posted by jonisia93 on 23 November 2017 in English (English)

I became involved in mapping in 2015 when i joined with my fellow youth mapper in HOT. We Mapped some wards in Dar es salaam like Vingunguti , Mwananyamara, Hanannasif and Mzimuni ward on which we mapped some featured like Drainage features, roads, building features also those areas which are vulnerable for floods . Tools which where used were like GPS, JOSM software, Also there were involvement of community members in order to create awareness in the community about mapping. It was very interesting exercise .

Announcing my candidacy for OSMF Board Elections 2017

Posted by David Dean on 22 November 2017 in English (English)

I have been an active OpenStreetMapper since 2007 (and an OSMF member since early 2016), and have been organising Mapping Parties in my local city of Brisbane, Australia since 2008 (although both activities were a bit quiet for a few years in the middle there - sorry about that!). I want to join the OSMF Board to primarily help increase representation from the AU/NZ/South Pacific Region, and indigenous populations worldwide, and secondarily to bring my decades of expertise in machine-learning to the upcoming challenges of integrating automated mapping with the local-community focus that should always drive OSM contributions.

Since coming back into OSM solidly in the last 5 months, I have re-caught the mapping bug big time. I have mapped locally, and across the world for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, every single day since July! I am working on re-ramping up my involvement in the project significantly, and I am performing outreach in the local spatial community to increase the awareness of both OSM and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. I particular enjoy teaching and introducing new members to the project, and have run two Missing Maps events, alongside other local Mapping Parties, and I will continue to organise events locally every month.

I am an active participant of HOT mapping efforts, and I believe strongly in the ability of remote mapping to provide a great starting point for local communities to take ownership of their maps. In fact, I believe that this is the first and foremost principle of OpenStreetMap, that if anything is taking away, or discouraging, local ownership of the map it is probably not a good idea.

If elected, I would seek to improve the representation of the needs of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific mappers towards the OSMF Board. In particular, I am very interested, and already working towards, how the OpenStreetMap project and communities can extend our community, models and techniques towards indigenous populations around the world. Indigenous populations often look at the world differently than the Euro-centric origins of the OpenStreetMap project, but I believe that some of the valuable lessons already learnt by HOT in how local disadvantaged communities can take ownership of their maps can be extended and improved upon for the indigenous populations of Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and around the world. To be clear, I am not indigenous myself, but I am in already in the process of building relationships to work towards this goal in the Greater Brisbane area, then hopefully across the entire region, and the world!

One other aspect that I would like to bring to the board will be the present and future impact of automation, machine-learning and/or artificial intelligence on OpenStreetMapping, both generally and specifically for Humanitarian Mapping. It might appear that this is antithetical to my belief in local communities owning local maps, but that is why I want to focus on using these powerful techniques in ways that promote, rather than degrade, local ownership.

I have more than a decade of machine-learning experience, and I want to investigate existing techniques in development by Facebook, Development Seed and others, and develop new ones, and I am working with a team at the University of Queensland to begin a study on how these and similar techniques can be opened to all mappers through the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Tasking Manager and editing tools in a way that ensures that remote and local mappers are assisted directly in our mapping tools, rather than having the output of an algorithm imported widescale without their direct involvement in the process. I am in particular interested in efforts that can focus on getting ML to people on the ground in things like FieldPapers, and in apps like StreetComplete, Kort and OpenMapKit. We need many more of these great simple-survey focussed approaches, and I think ML can help with guiding these efforts.

You can find out more about me at, and my OSM profile at contains links to my many OSM-related activities. If you have any questions, or want to get in contact, please don’t hesitate to ask me here, by email at, or at the Election to Board Talk Page at, where I will begin to wade through the many existing questions shortly.

Thanks, and Happy Mapping!

Location: Merthyr, New Farm, Brisbane, Brisbane City, Queensland, 4102, Australia

Youth Mapping the Driver to Change

Posted by chomba chishala on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

Hello, my name is Chomba Chishala, I am a student doing Environmental Education at the University of Zambia. At the same time the president of the YouthMappers at the University of Zambia Chapter (YMUNZA) I came to know YouthMappers through Open Street Map Zambia (OSMZAMBIA) in February this year 2017 when OSMZAMBIA had a meeting in Lusaka’s Bongo Hive training center. From that meeting, I learnt how to use different tools when mapping including the importance of the maps and how maps can be used for humanitarian help.

As YouthMappers UNZA, we have been involved in different tasks or activities and some of the prominent tasks that we have been doing include the malaria elimination where we have been mapping buildings / houses to help people who are into spraying for malaria as well as distribution of mosquito net as well as mapping for urban and rural areas in Zambia.

Many communities especially in African countries remain underdeveloped due to geographical impediments such as Hills, Mountains and lack of information with regard to how they are distributed especially their location that act as a hindrance to people willing to help in case of an outbreak of a disease.
Thus mapping buildings, roads, and streams as well as showing their actual location and potentials has derived me to engage myself in mapping as many communities as possible for the betterment of most of the communities. ‘’I am a proud YouthMapper who is willing to make a change, just urging everyone out there to join us and make a difference.’’

“As YouthMappers UNZA, our vision is to cultivate a generation of young people to become leaders in creating resilient communities and empowering them to define their world by mapping it.”


Posted by IRDPYouthMapper6 on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

Am glad to join the chapter just because i have many location to share with friends, family, so i welcome you to join the chapter, so that we can enjoy together and make effort to map the world and create both male and female mappers.

Location: Nala, Dodoma, Central, Tanzania


Posted by IRDPYouthMapper6 on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

Am very happy to be the member of Youth Mappers becouse it help me to know many things about Maps also how to use MAPS.ME and OpenStreetMap. I encourage othoers to join in YouthMappers especial girls.

Location: Nala, Dodoma, Central, Tanzania

OSM in Secondary School

Posted by Jabahum on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

The link below contains the activities that Good Mappers participated in to contribute to OpenStreetMap.

It is a fun venture to teach what you love to do and what do you is a voluntary cause to human development and sustainability. Good Mappers Busitema engaged very well in what they do best and extended mapping skills to secondary school students especially girls at Tororo and also introduced it to new campus students in the university with an aim to grow the community in the university and at large of the youthmappers spread across the globe.

Location: Jinja - Tororo Road, Bugiri, Eastern Region, Uganda


Posted by IRDPYouthMapper2 on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

On 3rd July 2017 i joined the youth mappers chapter at IRDP and elected as a vice president of the chapter. The introduction of this chapter to our collage has made me realize how important it is to do mapping for risk areas and allocating various social service thus becoming easier for aid provision and security as well as other communal services. GIS and mapping are my core interests therefore joining this chapter will bring me great experience and influence to these two media.

Location: Nala, Dodoma, Central, Tanzania


Posted by IRDPYouthMapper5 on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

I joined the Youth Mapper Chapter on 3rd July 2017. I became very interested with joining the chapter since i need to acquire more skills with mapping and GIS at large also i joined the chapter because i was interested in doing volunteering work of mapping areas that can be use to reach with fast aid to the people. Apart from joining the youth mapper chapter i appreciate the network that is going on between the youth mappers allover the world also i was great full for the seminar that was held at our university Mipango Dodoma that was conducted by Benedicto via him a lot of experience i acquired .

Location: Nala, Dodoma, Central, Tanzania

#My Interest in Mapping

Posted by Dativa Chuwa on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

I started volunteering mapping once i attended in one of the seminars about mapping in our college and i was so excited in continue to do mapping. So from there i attended the coming mapping events. It is enjoyable for sure because we are there youth doing mapping, gain knowledge about mapping, gain leadership experience, having funny with others youth.


Posted by Dativa Chuwa on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

I volunteer in Youth mapping, and i have gained knowledge about GIS and also gain an experience in mapping as i involved in different workshops and training. I like to do mapping because it helps us to get the data about the certain area. Also mapping it brings youths together and enjoy mapping.

#2017 Mapping

Posted by Wava Stella on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

As a volunteer through Youth Mapping, I have engaged and experienced a lot of interesting projects, mapathons, workshops and training. Started with a HOT Project for mapping for malaria elimination in Zimbabwe Southern Province and Zambia. Ignoring the inconsistency in my diligence, I still manged to deliver awesome and come up as one the good mappers on the project with an appreciation from HOT. A lot of projects followed for which my contribution was mainly remote inclusive the project for response to refugee crisis in Northern Uganda through a number of mapathons, use of some tasks to train on the other members interested in the realm of mapping. Many more project tasks including #Hurricane Irma, #Kasese Floods and a lot not mentioned. And now we have embarked on the #Saving Mothers giving birth in Kyenjojo, Uganda. However, with all these projects and training conducted, JOSM has emerged my best platform for savoring the mapping moment.

Location: Bat Valley, Nakasero, Central, Kampala, Central Region, 24144, Uganda


Posted by klain890 on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

Adding a missing map to OSM.

This week (20th-25th/ November) decided to add a missing area on to the OpenStreetMap, and I zeroed down to a village located north of Busitema University hidden by the Busitema Forest.

This village is called Habuleke and visited it once during the Mapillary Challenge in May 2017.

Location: 0.331, 32.588

International Day of the Girl Mapathon

Posted by Laura Mugeha on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

Organized a mapathon where female student mappers came together to make a difference in their country, and the world at large through their mapping efforts handling a task that focused on Siaya County, a region that borders Lake Victoria. The exercise mapped buildings and roads for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. The long-term impact that the exercise would provide necessary data to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program to find and help those suffering from HIV/AIDS. The initiative would be able to identify the location of communities and how they are connected by roads to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services in the area. By understanding the program coverage, the initiative is in a better position to optimize their supply chain logistics, which in effect, would help them meet their mandate.

Blog post:

Location: Jkuat Avenue Road, Juja, Kiambu, Kenya

Mara Mapping Party

Posted by Laura Mugeha on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

This involved the mapping of roads and buildings in the Mara River Basin, based on satellite images, on OpenStreetMap. The maps produced during the Mapathon, are to be combined with knowledge, tools, and data from the MaMaSe program and Ground Truth 2.0 thus improving Integrated Water Resources Management in the Mara River Basin and prevent famine in the future.

Blog post:

Location: Jkuat Avenue Road, Juja, Kiambu, Kenya

my interest in mapping

Posted by IRDPYouthMapper3 on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

I became involved with mapping as I attended one of the seminars that was conducted at IRDP in August 2017 where I learned how to use maps me and open street map as at first I was interested on mapping through my G.I.S studies that made it more interesting for me and Also am interested on mapping as its I want to make the world a better place through mapping I believe all will be possible as mapping helps in addressing several development issue and through mapping development can be archived.

About Ramani Huria

Posted by dorica_mugusi on 21 November 2017 in English (English)

I joined HOT as a volunteer to Ramani Huria project 1.0 when I was a fourth year student at Ardhi University in 2015. I got an opportunity to learn data collection by GPS, JOSM and producing maps by using QGIS software. Later, I became one of the mapping supervisors and I regularly transferred mapping knowledge to university students and community members.There are details of this project here Am currently in charge of the mini-grids project. I attend mapping parties and am looking forward to attend State of Map Africa that will be held in December this year at Dar es Salaam. HOT is an organization that supports community mapping projects around the world and assists people to create their own maps for socio-economic development and disaster preparedness and I real want to support it in any way I can. I would like to participate in other community mapping projects in other regions apart from Dar es Salaam. I see a challenge of little knowledge on the uses of maps in solving socio-economic problems and I am ready to participate in creating awareness.

Location: Makuburi, Dar es Salaam, Coastal, 21493, Tanzania

About UDSM YouthMappers

Posted by mirajissa1 on 20 November 2017 in English (English)

It is my group that inspired me to join the OSM team, The group is found at University of Dar es Salaam So me as a part of a big OSM team up to now i would like to engage more and more in mapping activities as the part of solving problems, I have participated in many mapping events with Dar Ramani Huria and so on, it was wonderful moments to meet wit other mappers from different teams, exchanging ideas, enjoying etc., and hence mapping became my favorite task .

Shout out to my best Mapping Motivator Mr. Innocent Maholi

Location: Dar es Salaam, Coastal, KIPUNGUNI B, Tanzania