My real involvement with HOT began when a friend from MapAction told me about Kate Chapman and the amazing work she was doing out in Indonesia. I looked into the organisation and their projects and knew I wanted to be a part of it instantly. So I investigated different ways I could get involved and came across the posting for the Technical Project Manager position and the Outreachy internship program. Although very different they were both amazing positions that would greatly develop my skills and experience, while providing me with the opportunity to get involved and really contribute to HOT and the OpenStreetMap community. In the end Kate offered me the position of the Technical Project Manager as she thought I was better suited to this role and I officially became a part of HOT in January 2015!
Since joining the HOT team, I have been involved in numerous projects, initiatives, events, activations and mapping activities. These include overseeing the redevelopment of the web-based Field Papers (Stamen Design) and Export Tool (HOT) tool. The creation of the Activation protocol and training curriculum, which included a ‘Sprint’ and two ‘Workshops’. Instead of participating as an intern of Outreachy, I ended up coordinating the participation of HOT during round 10 and mentored a student. I have been actively involved in the Activation and Technical Working Groups.
Attended the first HOT Summit in May earlier this year, and am currently planning a mapathon in Bali, Indonesia as part of the upcoming OSM Geoweek. I have also contributed towards the Nepal and Afghanistan Earthquake activations, providing my support and skills where possible. One area of contribution towards HOT that I need to build on is to spend more time mapping, as time constraints have prevented me from really getting into this side of things. Other involvement with HOT includes bid proposal writing, creation of flyers, contributions to GitHub repositories, wiki page edits, design and content aspects of the HOT website, as well as developing internal procedures to help instill structure required of an ever growing global organisation.
In a nutshell, HOT means getting vulnerable individuals the mapping data they need to enhance their situation, but really it is so much more. It’s the humanitarian arm of OSM, that coordinates the community to focus on the creation of map data in a specific region for a particular reason or cause. Whether that reason is the unfortunate result of some form of sudden onset disaster such as an earthquake, or the need to have infrastructure data to make informed planning decisions as preventative measures towards the possibility of flooding, a huge part of the HOT mission is to also teach local individuals how to collect and use this map data themselves. This is achieved through numerous initiatives such as online training and presentations, workshops, and community projects, but most importantly HOT ensures that this data and the tools to use it are free and open to everyone.
To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it because there are so many great ways to be heavily involved with HOT and the amazing work they are doing without having to be a voting member. However I was nominated by Kate, which is an honour and I would love to be even more involved with an even bigger ‘voice’ within the organisation and the community. I believe in everything they are doing and want to help guide and assist as it continues to grow.
To represent HOT and the greater community, and ensure that everyone is heard, no matter how small and regardless of experience within the community. Everyone has a view on things and this shouldn’t be disregarded. Not that I have seen this happen, but always keeping it in mind and striving to make it easier for everyone to be heard and contribute is never negative. Another important responsibility is to remain unbiased and open to the direction of HOT and all its associated projects, while assisting its development.
I will continue to be involved in as much as possible, which includes but is definitely not limited to participating in the Activation and Technical WG, attending HOT community calls, keeping up-to-date on all associated initiatives and activities. Support future activations, host mapathons and map map map! I will also act as a HOT representative wherever I go and to whomever I meet, and promote its mission and the great work being done. Specifically as a voting member, I feel it is my duty to be present and actively participate in voting on key HOT decisions in order to provide guidance when needed.
The greatest challenge that HOT faces is how to effectively evolve as it continues to grow on such a large scale. With a strong global desire to support in times of crises, HOT needs to have the appropriate structure in place to manage itself and effectively coordinate so that it can focus on ensuring that everyone can get involved and be given guidance. I know that historically there has been a kind of natural process of how things were conducted, but seeing the seer number of volunteers jump to 7,500 during the Nepal activation demonstrates that it is time to instill some solid structure to ensure successful growth.
Another challenge, which is not only restricted to HOT faces is the lack of diversity among its members and volunteers. HOT has already taken steps to tackle this, through initiatives such as the Outreachy program, but I would like to aid the effort of getting underrepresented groups such as women and transgender people more involved with HOT, OSM and the open source and open data community. One aspect that is a little harder to implement but is also vital to all organisations and goes hand in hand with my above goal is to help HOT maintain a peaceful and respectful environment for everyone to be a part of.