OpenStreetMap Mexico is part of the working group on humanitarian data and technologies of the Mexican National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED)

Posted by mapeadora on 29 June 2018 in English (English)

OpenStreetMap Mexico’s data governance strategy

In Mexico, a working group of 8 people from the OpenStreetMap Mexico community has been formed since 2014, with varied profiles and several axes among which [1] the community training to add more users to OpenStreetMap, [2] the management with local and federal public institutions for the integration of OpenStreetMap and other geographical open data sources to their planning actions as well as for the opening of public data, and [3] an evolution of their methods to include a greater participation of the citizenship in the production and use of information.

One of the most consolidated topics of the international OpenStreetMap community is the generation and distribution of data in humanitarian contexts, in a preventive manner or after a crisis. The high frequency of natural cataclysms that affect the Mexican territory has given this group many opportunities for dialogue and collaborations with federal institutions and organizations (National Digital Strategy, CENAPRED, Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Greenpeace, Techo, Observatorio de la Vivienda, etc.), as well as towards affected states, for the generation and opening of up-to-date territorial data that make it possible to speed up rescue and reconstruction operations.

The first type of effort was training officials and organizations to familiarize them with OpenStreetMap and its potential for sustainable local management of territorial data. In response to various disasters since 2014, we have acted more directly to collaborate by providing information in real time to these institutions through tasking managers.

In parallel, we have had a constant effort of long-term linkage to establish a critical path where OpenStreetMap remains in the panorama of the actors of the data ecosystem for post-disaster interventions.

The main difficulty in this initiative has been to identify the correct channels to give an output to the information mapped by the community in Tasking-Managers created on each occasion, and identify with local institutions the real data needs to intervene on site. The administrative context is a general lack of access to public information, both for civil society and for other administrations. Another difficulty is the absence of clear critical routes so that organizations and institutions that collaborate with data can organize themselves and fulfill useful roles without overlapping.

The impact is a great difficulty and confusion to simply think together about the concrete need for data and the idea of collaboration, as well as about the potential for enriched data once opened and socialized.

Invitation from OSM Mexico to the working group on humanitarian data and technologies

As a result of a continuous and persistent presence during several years, the federal institution of risk management (National Center for Disaster Prevention - CENAPRED) invited us to be part of a scheme that will leave the next government for 2019. This working group is justified by the same shared awareness of the value of companies and civil society with expertise and stability over time, to act hand in hand with the Federal Government and collaborate with their communities in data creation. It is also justified by the awareness of the challenge of generating an institutionalized scheme and lasting channels of joint work. Finally, in Mexico as in other countries, the changes of administration represent another challenge: to transmit a vision, a learning, and a structure to the next administration, and to go beyond a single governmental team.

The group of humanitarian data and technologies faces these three challenges. Given the imminent and repeated risk of other disasters and the need to have different skills, the group brings together civil society organizations, companies and different public institutions with a multiplied potential for action, monitoring and evaluation of public action.

Functions of the workgroup

The group, interconnected continuously and with biannual meetings, will be able to follow up on different types of emergencies and define actions under a principle of complementarity and immediacy, as well as risk prevention and vulnerability reduction through information. In the face of a disaster threat, specifically, each member will be able to fulfill a role, a type of data to be generated or processed, to be the bridge to other specialized networks and communities. It will also be possible to define lines of action in the long term, working on vulnerabilities through data, technologies and infrastructures. The group could act as an entity that evaluates transparency and monitoring.

Part of the first actions before the change of government at the end of 2018 will be a digital simulation, which will measure the reaction capacity of the members and better define roles and specialties.

Long-term objective of OpenStreetMap Mexico

Through this participation, we intend to contribute to the construction of a sustainable public data ecosystem where authorities, private and civil communities share in a very short time an improved information for each one.

  1. Design of an accurate collaboration scheme with companies and institutions providing satellite images
  2. Definition of data not provided in an updated manner and accessible by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography or by another agency, and necessary
  3. Construction of the precise channel of information exchange in real time
  4. Construction of specialized groups of emergency mappers by OpenStreetMap
  5. A system of direct communication of the data for download destinated to the workgroup and the authority-destination, as well as towards the general public.
Location: Algarín, Mexico City, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, 06880, Mexico

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