Dear HOT members,
I have accepted the kind nomination by Martin and Blake, as I would love to join the HOT Board to put my knowledge, skills, network and passion to use for the strategic planning for the future of HOT, and to support the community as a researcher, geographer, disastermapper as well as networker.
HOT has come a long way since the Haiti earthquakes. We have a growing number of HOT members and volunteers that are active in mapping, working groups and in building and directing our community. Thanks to this growing community we also have increasing OSM data coverage in vulnerable and disaster affected countries, as well as more and more advanced tools to facilitate the data collection and validation. Therefore, HOT became an increasingly globally distributed and acknowledged community, with a growing number of local chapters that has proven its potential, effectiveness and value in numerous disaster responses, as well as long-term community mapping and Missing Maps projects.
There are however also open questions, e.g.:
- How well do we know our community, and what are their needs?
- What is the impact of our work? How can we better identify and meet the needs of potential data users?
- How can we detect deficiencies in the OSM data, improve validation and data maintenance processes, and assure a certain level of data quality?
- How can we better support and encourage local mapping communities, and link remote and local mappers?
As the work of HOT members like Nama Budhathoki, Robert Soden and Martin Dittus and partnerships between the disastermappers heidelberg/ GIScience Research Group of Heidelberg University and Missing Maps have shown, collaborations between researchers and our mapping community can help to address these questions and challenges. Over the last couple of years, I have learned a lot about the importance of HOT and OSM for vulnerable and disaster prone countries and decision makers through my work with Kathmandu Living Labs, HOT and Missing Maps, my projects in Heidelberg and by conducting and presenting research about OSM, HOT and disaster mapping to an international audience. I shared my experiences by teaching students in Heidelberg and beyond about the work of the HOT community and organizing open Mapathons and workshops with the disastermappers heidelberg initiative in the scope of my studies as well as in the scope of my work at the GIScience Research Group. Working at the disaster management and disastermapping department, I am now positioned at the intersection of research, application development, OSM interested data consumers and the HOT and OSM community. I would love to put this position, my network, my knowledge and research skills to use in the HOT Board and build a bridge between researchers, developers, the data consumers and the HOT and OSM community to address our questions and challenges within and with the community and raise more awareness in the international world of academia and disaster management about the potentials of HOT and OSM and the amazing things a volunteer community can achieve.