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pedrito1414's Diary

Recent diary entries

At HOT, we are working on a collaboration with communities in informal settlements in Sierra Leone as part of the Know Your City project led by Slum Dwellers International.

The remote mapping of the settlements is hard, even with the excellent drone imagery flown by OpenStreetMap Sierra Leone. The environment is really dense, roofs overlap at different heights and structures that look like one from the sky actually include multiple buildings.

However, we have found the use of 3d and 2d imagery renders in parallel to be a bit of a game changer for this mapping activity. The mesh produced from the drone images allows us to angle and tilt in a way that we can better see how roofs interact with each other, what height they are and even sometimes how buildings are divided inside. We think this has vastly improved the accuracy of what we are able to do remotely.

3d mesh of Kolleh Town, Freetown, Sierra Leone

3d mesh of Kolleh Town, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Kolleh Town on OpenStreetMap

The mapped area on OpenStreetMap

The remote mapping will be followed by comprehensive field mapping and surveying by the local community and the team at CODOHSAPA using the Field Mapping Tasking Manager, so it is important to get the basemap as accurate as possible.

A big thanks to OSM Sierra Leone for their support and collaboration on this project as well as our partners at SDI, CODOHSAPA, Freetown City Council and Catholic Relief Services.

Location: 8.486, -13.251

Activation info:

Activation: Libya Floods 2023

Activation Declared: Sep 14, 2023

Activation Concluded: Nov 9, 2023

Debrief Conducted by: Pete Masters, HOT, Activation Lead

Relevant statistics

Contributor statistics over the lifetime of the activation

Contributor statistics over the lifetime of the activation

Project stats from the Libya Floods activation

Tasking Manager project statistics for the activation

Narrative summary:

In collaboration with OSM Libya and supported by UN Mappers a HOT activation was declared to map areas affected by floods following Storm Daniel, with a specific focus on Dernah due to the collapse of the dams in the city. As the activation unfolded, priority areas were added (areas for which were prioritised by OSM Libya) as projects on the HOT Tasking Manager for urban areas including Bayda, Susah and Al Marj as well as the rural area surrounding Al Marj after (unconfirmed) reports from UNDAC of damage to a third dam. As the priority areas are now well mapped and validated (the last building project is 99% mapped and 97% validated), the Activation is now concluded.

Dernah post-floods on openaerialmap

Dernah post-floods on openaerialmap

During the activation, in addition to the tasking manager mapping, the MapSwipe community completed four projects (see example) as part of a collaborative effort with MapAction to identify all affected settlements (unfortunately, MapAction ceased their activities before this could be concluded). The MapSwipe data was subsequently used to optimise tasking manager projects.

Open aerial imagery was also requested and received through the Maxar Open Data Programme. This imagery was hosted on OpenAerialMap and used by mappers to ensure up-to-date data and also by a UNDAC Dam specialist (introduced to HOT through the MapAction connection) in an attempt to validate reports of damage to the third dam. The analysis of the imagery was used to inform a Joint Environment Unit report on the dams.

Communications could have benefited from a more timely central comms approach in that shares and amplification sometimes lagged the response so the info shared was already out of date. The HOT website was underutilised (the response used social media, community channels and OSM diary as vehicles for mapper mobilisation and partner engagement).

A special mention for validators for this activation as the validation kept pace with the mapping throughout and we saw amazing commitment from the HOT Global Validator Team and OSM Libya in this regard.

The conclusion of the activation is a collaborative decision with OSM Libya. They will continue to lead on mapping to support recovery activities and HOT has supported through the integration of MapSwipe data into their existing tasking manager projects in order to help mappers prioritise their efforts. OSM Libya will also compile a comprehensive report detailing all activities undertaken in the past two months since the activation’s launch in collaboration with HOT to be shared with the broader community and potentially offer insights to other communities facing similar disasters to that experienced by Libya.

Successes, issues and lessons learnt

[SUCCESSES] What went well?

  • Clear coordination between central and hub team (WNA) - HOT internal
  • Collaboration with OSM Libya throughout (launching activation, defining priorities, technical support)
  • UN Mappers collaboration on launch
  • MapSwipe to tasking manager workflow for rural areas
  • Good quality tasking manager projects (right size, constrained to priority features)
  • Great validation progress (core group of validators has been thanked!)
  • Wiki page kept up-to-date and coordination good in disaster mapping channel
  • Maxar responsive through Open Data Program

[ISSUES] What could have gone better?

  • Confusion over Libya responsibility (in a HOT priority region, but not a HOT priority country)
  • Activation ‘could have’ started 2-3 days earlier (UN Mappers feedback)
  • OSM Libya upgrading existing general projects to urgent as a response not ideal (projects too big and unspecific)
  • Neglected HDX update until it was flagged by a partner
  • Discussions with OSM Libya on activation didn’t happen in a publicly accessible forum (live chat) so OEG compliance tricky
  • HOT comms around the activation was sometimes lacking / lagging
  • Need a better process for working with responders. They don’t necessarily use slack or want to.
  • Should we have methodology for requests like consolidated settlement layers?
  • Hard to know to what extent HOT has capacity for technical GIS / data analysis requests.
  • Didn’t make use of the karta view data for Dernah

[SUGGESTIONS] What lessons should influence how we activate in future?

  • Smaller tasking manager projects (less tasks ~700 per project worked well for this activation) that focus on one feature each
  • MapSwipe affected rural areas immediately
  • Tasking manager activation projects should be reviewed asap and support provided for improvements
  • Project creator role to answer queries / do problem solving, especially early on
  • Need to think about how we engage orgs like Digital Egypt (did a lot of damage mapping)
  • Need a clear view / publicly available list of possible service offers for responders
  • We need to think about the recovery and the map - updating to post-event data
  • We don’t have great arabic language capacity in our core community and networks - something to develop?
  • Mechanism to alert or at least ask to local communities if mapping is needed in the case of a natural disaster event, by monitoring in real time natural disasters happening across the globe (UN Mappers)

Follow up:

If you have questions and / or comments related to the activation or this documentation, please contact Pete Masters at HOT

The devastating events in Morocco (earthquake) and Libya (floods) happened within two days of each other on the 08 & 10 September 2023. Both have meant large scale destruction of infrastructure and thousands of tragic deaths and injuries.

OSM communities in both countries (OSM Maroc and OSM Libya), alongside partners, have responded and with huge support from mappers from the OSM community across the world.

The following diary entry is an update on a similar one from 18 September.


The latest…

The open mapping community response

More than 2,500 OSM mappers have added data to support responders in Morocco. Two projects on the HOT Tasking Manager has so far been completed (mapped and validated) and there are four more available for mapping.

Contribution statistics for the Morocco earthquake response

Contribution statistics for the Morocco earthquake response

Morocco Earthquake activation - HOT tasking manager project progress

Morocco Earthquake activation - HOT tasking manager project progress

Also, in Morocco, experienced mappers completed mapping from high definition, post-disaster imagery to identify inaccessible roads and damaged infrastructure. This data is now available and has been incorporated into services such as OpenRouteService so that responders can use it in their planning.

Visualisation of an inaccessible road data query through overpass turbo

Find the data on overpass turbo

For the Libya response, almost 500 OSM mappers have completed three road mapping projects and two building mapping projects in Libya (mapped and validated) and are progressing on the remaining two projects. It is possible that more projects may be added (tbc - in consultation with OSM Libya).

Contribution statistics for the Libya Floods response

Contribution statistics for the Libya Floods response

Libya Floods activation - HOT tasking manager project progress

Libya Floods activation - HOT tasking manager project progress

The MapSwipe community has also mobilised, providing a settlement layer that is directly useful for responders (to validate their own data sets in advance of assessments, for example) and for OSM mappers (reducing the time and energy needed for people to digitise the buildings in the affected area).


Data for data users

Open aerial imagery

Through collaboration with Maxar (as part of their Open Data Program), HOT has also been able to make recent pre-event imagery and up-to-date post-event imagery openly available to mappers and responders through OpenAerialMap.

Satellite imagery in Libya made available through OpenAerialMap

Satellite imagery in Libya made available through OpenAerialMap

This includes responding to specific requests from staff in response organisations trying to assess damage to specific infrastructure in the affected areas of Libya.

OpenStreetMap data

The map data is available directly from OpenStreetMap as always, but also in curated packages via OCHA’s Humanitarian Data Exchange - see here for Morocco and here for Libya - and HOT refreshes these packages every six hours.

Since the events, downloads have spiked for many of these data sets as responders seek information to support their activities (see here for a previous diary post on the significance of this from the Turkey / Syria earthquake)

(The HDX platform is a repository for all kinds of data and a quick search for Morocco and Libya will return many data sets from many organisations that might be useful to responders and analysts.)

The team behind OSMAnd has also made maps of Morocco and Libya freely downloadable to support teams in the field.

Twitter screenshot of OSMAnd offer of free maps in Morocco and Libya

OSMAnd make their Morocco and Libya maps available

As always, many of the maps and infographics being produced by humanitarian organisations are using the data provided by OSM contributors. A quick search on ReliefWeb brings many examples, such as the one below from World Food Programme (see data sources for OSM attribution).

Map Morocco: Morocco: General Logistics Planning Map (World Food Programme)


How can you contribute?

If you are a mapper, please jump in and map some tasks! Campaigns in the HOT Tasking Manager are here for Morocco and here for Libya. There is still a lot of data needed for the affected areas.

If you are a community organiser, you can organise a mapathon to mobilise your community members to support these efforts. If you want support, please reach out on the HOT slack.

If you are a responder / data user, please let us know what you need! You can do this via email, the HOT slack, twitter or any other means.

If you see OSM data used in the response to either of these disasters, please flag it with me or anyone at HOT. The people who map for these activations do so out of solidarity and humanitarian spirit and there is nothing more motivating (and I include myself in this) than seeing the data we have contributed supporting responders and having an impact on the ground.

If you want to get latest news, follow the Open Mapping Hub - WNA or HOT on social media.


Thanks to activation supporters

A big thanks to Maxar, who very quickly activated their Open Data programme and released recent imagery for both areas, which is now hosted on OpenAerialMap.

And, also huge thanks to Skoll Foundation, TomTom and AWS, who have contributed to the above disaster activations through the mobilisation of resources (mappers and funds). Highly appreciated!


Organised editing documentation:

Following the earthquake, OSM Maroc, supported by HOT’s Open Mapping Hub - West and northern Africa, launched the 2023 Morocco Earthquake activation and OSM Libya did likewise, launching the 2023 Libya Floods activation, supported by HOT and UN Mappers.

The devastating events in Morocco (earthquake) and Libya (floods) happened within two days of each other on the 08 & 10 September 2023. Both have meant large scale destruction of infrastructure and thousands of tragic deaths and injuries.

OSM communities in both countries (OSM Maroc and OSM Libya), alongside partners, have responded and with huge support from mappers from the OSM community across the world.

Screenshot from OpenAerialMap (Libya Floods)

A screenshot from OpenAerialMap showing the devastation to the city of Darnah in Libya (imagery courtesy of Maxar)


The latest…

The OSM community response

Approximately 1,600 mappers have so far contributed to both campaigns, creating ~220,000 buildings and ~5,000km of roads.

Validation teams at HOT and UN Mappers have been busy providing quality control and trying to keep up with the rapid pace of the mapping.

More than 1,500 mappers have added data to support responders in Morocco. One project on the HOT Tasking Manager has so far been completed and there are four more available for mapping (as well as a damage assesssment project which is reserved for advanced mappers).

Contribution statistics for the Morocco earthquake response

Contribution statistics for the Morocco earthquake response

A smaller group of mappers, supported by UN Mappers, have swiftly completed the first road mapping project in Libya and are progressing on the first building mapping project.

Contribution statistics for the Libya Floods response

Contribution statistics for the Libya Floods response

In Morocco, experienced mappers are also mapping from high definition, post-disaster imagery to try and identify inaccessible roads and damaged infrastructure, in order that responders can incorporate this data into their logistical processes.

A blocked road identified by a mapper in Morocco

A blocked road in Morocco identified by a HOT validator on slack

Data for data users

The map data is available directly from OpenStreetMap as always, but also in curated packages via OCHA’s Humanitarian Data Exchange - see here for Morocco and here for Libya - and HOT refreshes these packages every six hours.

Since the events, downloads have spiked for many of these data sets as responders seek information to support their activities (see here for a previous diary post on the significance of this from the Turkey / Syria earthquake)

(The HDX platform is a repository for all kinds of data and a quick search for Morocco and Libya will return many data sets from many organisations that might be useful to responders and analysts.)

The team behind OSMAnd has also made maps of Morocco and Libya freely downloadable to support teams in the field.

Twitter screenshot of OSMAnd offer of free maps in Morocco and Libya

OSMAnd make their Morocco and Libya maps available

As always, many of the maps and infographics being produced by humanitarian organisations are using the data provided by OSM contributors. A quick search on ReliefWeb brings many examples, such as the one below from MapAction (see data sources for OSM attribution).

Map Libya: Flooding - Overview of affected Mantikas with baseline population

OSM used in innovative methods

OSM data is also being incorporated into analysis by Microsoft’s AI for Good Research Lab (link to LinkedIn) to try and establish the extent of the damage caused by the flooding in Darnah. You can explore the before and after using this visualiser

Before and after the floods in Libya

Before and after the floods in Libya from the Microsoft visualiser


How can you contribute?

If you are a mapper, please jump in and map some tasks! Campaigns in the HOT Tasking Manager are here for Morocco and here for Libya. There is still a lot of data needed for the affected areas.

If you are a community organiser, you can organise a mapathon to mobilise your community members to support these efforts. If you want support, please reach out on the HOT slack.

If you are a responder / data user, please let us know what you need! You can do this via email, the HOT slack, twitter or any other means.

If you see OSM data used in the response to either of these disasters, please flag it with me or anyone at HOT. The people who map for these activations do so out of solidarity and humanitarian spirit and there is nothing more motivating (and I include myself in this) than seeing the data we have contributed supporting responders and having an impact on the ground.

If you want to get latest news, follow the Open Mapping Hub - WNA or HOT on social media.


Thanks to OSM supporters

A big thanks to Maxar, who very quickly activated their Open Data programme and released recent imagery for both areas, which is now hosted on OpenAerialMap.

And, also to TomTom and AWS, who have both contributed through the mobilisation of resources (mappers and funds) to support these responses in north Africa.


Organised editing documentation:

Following the earthquake, OSM Maroc, supported by HOT’s Open Mapping Hub - West and northern Africa, launched the 2023 Morocco Earthquake activation and OSM Libya did likewise, launching the 2023 Libya Floods activation, supported by HOT and UN Mappers.

Morocco Earthquake activation started!

Posted by pedrito1414 on 9 September 2023 in English.

Following the earthquake in Morocco last night (08-09 Sept 2023), staff from HOT’s West and Northern Africa Open Mapping Hub and OSM Morocco agreed to launch an activation to support response efforts.

If you would like to support by mapping, please do. The first project is now on the HOT Tasking Manager and more will follow.

HOT Tasking Manager

You can also keep track via the activation wiki page : 2023 Morocco Earthquake.

If you have questions or would like to engage, you can do so via the HOT slack or the OSM community forum.

Thanks in advance for your time and skills in support!

This OSM diary is an English translation of Yekastreet’s OSM diary post called Sobre el “Mapping Workshop 2023”. Translating and re-posting because I enjoyed it so much :D

A reflection of YEKA and our journey…

Among the many kilometres of routes we have mapped in the seven years since Youthmappers started, our own journey as YEKAStreetMGA continues to surprise and please us the most. We have grown as a team, from our first mapathons in the barely equipped classrooms of the university, to the partnerships we are now forming with our local mapping networks. Design by design, we make the use of open data tools a little more accessible. Through methodological design (a term unthinkable for us in the early days), we have now transformed our first university meetings into structured processes to disseminate and share our knowledge with a new community of mappers.

What we have experienced as students, as women, in a socio-political context that routinely places us between non-functional institutionalism and the uncertainty of self-management in educational processes, reaffirms once again that teaching is a highly political act. Empowering. Essential in the construction of new models of society. And, in a country where making community is a crime, mapping and locating ourselves is in itself an act of humanitarian rebellion. Here we are, here we exist, more than planimetry and satellite rasters. We are vectors on the map, with direction and meaning. And our dedication and commitment to cultivating and growing the community in Central America overcomes the risks and dangers.

Central America yes, because when we speak of Latin America we make invisible the particular individuality of Central Americans, we exist between Mexico and South America, and although we share, we are indisputably different from the rest of Latin America in our struggles, way of life, needs and challenges.

This is how we began this workshop, with a great sense of responsibility towards our community and eternally grateful to our alliances and the bonds of trust that we have built over the years with different universities and individuals.

Taking the first steps…

The Mapping Workshop started on a hot Saturday, as Managua is famous for, passing the 40 registration mark, as well as the city’s degrees Celsius. In the room there were new faces and those more familiar, enthusiastic and curious. For our part, we had high expectations of being able to reach out to this young group and sow an interest in community building.

The group was surprisingly multidisciplinary, which required preparation of supplementary material and greater adaptation. Naturally, the language barrier and some technicalities of the different tools and platforms was a challenge to conquer. As YEKA, we have identified this challenge and hope to contribute to its resolution with the construction of a basic instructional booklet on mapping that is more accessible to users.

The issue of universal access to information on a platform where we advocate free data is a critical negotiation process, whether in language or method (audio, video, Braille, adapted for dyslexia and dyscalculia), if we think about the future sustainability of projects in the region.

The lack of spaces to discuss the process of training new mappers and the lack of didactic revision of the materials available on the official platforms are challenges that as part of the community we hope to overcome by building local networks and grouping together to begin these processes of socialisation that concern us as Central Americans. For our part, the challenge in this mapping workshop was to adapt the content and methodology to an audience that was learning from scratch, who were not familiar with GIS and above all who came from such diverse professions as law, sociology, art, industrial and agroforestry engineering, architects and accountancy. A multidisciplinary approach, which at first sight may seem intimidating, but which is nevertheless vital for the construction of comprehensive proposals that would probably not be generated in a typical homogeneous group of architects, urban planners or programmers.

Whilst the challenges were many, the interest of the group overrode them all. From the first day they were expectant, asking questions ahead of time, wanting to get ahead of events, inviting more colleagues to join the workshops the following Saturday and already forming groups for their projects. In this space, people who didn’t know each other ended up creating small mapping collectives and celebrating the occasional birthday.

Going from the simplest to the most complex, acknowledging who we are and what we want as a group (as YEKA, as Youthmappers, as Humanitarian OpenStreetMap) we introduced the group to OpenStreetMap and the ID editor, to understand the responsibility and ethics of the mapper and the monumentality that can be created, all contributing a grain of sand to feed the database. They were receptive, some with more difficulties than others, but as they participated in the small mapathon, questions arose about the usefulness of their work in the future, using the ID editor was easy for them because of the practicality of the programme. From then on, they found themselves in a new world of information at their fingertips.

One foot in front of the other…

A didactic strategy essential in the development of the mapping workshop was the construction of small mapping projects of personal interest. Aiming to bring participants together so that they could share experiences of a small-scale data collection process, and the fact that the theme of the project was not assigned opened up spaces for multidisciplinarity, creativity and in some cases even political positioning within their own communities.

Instruction in the different tools and platforms of the Workshop developed around the realisation of this course project, which allowed the group to feed back step by step the newly acquired knowledge with the implementation of said knowledge in their own field mapping. It was a continuous process of open communication between us and the group, of constant complementary support that ranged from the provision of recorded sessions, to late-night messages and calls through the group chat created for the Workshop. For us, accompanying them, their curiosity, their enthusiasm, their motivation to do more and to do it better, is what successfully keeps us contributing to the mapping and open data community.

We addressed the use of simple collection tools such as OSMAND, OSMTracker and Kobo Toolbox, which has a bit more complexity and scope. The use of applications on mobile devices opened up a space of more confidence and familiarity. Somehow the tools didn’t look so intimidating amidst the tik tok and instagram icons. We accompanied the groups in creating their possible mapping routes, shared experiences of where not to cross, what not to say, what behaviours look suspicious, how to casually photograph without being a victim of theft and yes, sunscreen was necessary as well as umbrellas and jackets.

Finally, with their data collected, it was time for the long and sometimes not so exciting process of editing, review and validation. It seemed that once they had gained confidence in their new skills, YEKA came in like the big bad wolf and blew their house down. We introduced JOSM, Mapbox and the much feared and misunderstood QGIS. Suddenly the spring of mapping was over and we had entered the long winter of trying and testing. The struggle was long and hard fought, addressing challenges with labels, geometry, plug-ins, file extensions and interoperability, coordinate systems as well as raging storms in Managua threatening to knock out power.

Countless cups of coffee, 5-minute breaks, candy and the occasional joke were the fuel that powered the making of the final maps. And finally, in the calm at the end of the 8-session hurricane that was the mapping workshop, we saw each other and our reflection in our maps and were glad to have made it to the end.

The roadblocks…

They say if you want to go fast, go alone - if you want to go far, go together. We hope that our efforts to foster the growth of a mapping community in Nicaragua and in the region itself, will allow us to have projects that go beyond the obstacles that are now holding us back. From this experience and many others along our journey as mappers, we recognise the vitality in grouping, socialising, collaborating and accompanying our sister mapping chapters and groups in Central America. To categorise, redefine, renegotiate and build new strategies for participation and dissemination of our knowledge and contributions to open data as a necessary model for the empowerment of our Central American communities.

HOT unSummit to HOT OpenSummit

Posted by pedrito1414 on 15 May 2023 in English.

In April, I asked OSM community members to help us out with a better name for the HOT unSummit (which too often was confused with something to do with the United Nations!)

We had more than 100 name suggestions, so thanks a million to everyone who put some thought into it!

The new name for the programme will be…

HOT OpenSummit

So I want to send a big thank you to Courtney Williamson for the suggestion - a token of our appreciation will be on the way soon!

We are working out how to make the actual programme better and will be re-launching it in the coming months. If you know of events (mappy and other) where you think there might be appetite for incorporating open mapping and OpenStreetMap for humanitarian and development purposes, please feel free to reach out (and thanks to those who have already done so!)

We know from the pilot HOT unSummit programme that we need a better name (too many people thought it referred to the United Nations!)

Can you help us think of one?

Cuauthémoc putting up an event banner at a geography student conference in Mexico

It need to encapsulate one, some or all of the following aspects…

  • It is a programme that supports / collaborates on open mapping-relevant events all over the world
  • The objective is to inspire people and give them the means to take collective action on humanitarian / social problems through open mapping and OpenStreetMap
  • It seeks to expand and strengthen the humanitarian open mapping movement
  • It is supported by / powered by HOT, but in collaboration with many communities and organising committees

Once we have a new name, we will update the branding and the next phase of the programme will relaunch in June.

You can submit a suggested name here - either anonymously, or if you leave your email address, HOT will send you a token of appreciation if your suggestion is chosen… Deadline for submissions is 16 April 2023.

There is a really amazing video (Turkish with English subtitles) from Dr Uçum on the critical role that OpenStreetMap data has played in ensuring high quality public health programming in one of the tent cities for displaced people in Turkey as part of the earthquake response.

The video was originally published by Yer Cizenler.

Have also pasted below the English translation (thanks, once again, to Yer Cizenler) …

Well, hello everyone. I’m Doctor Mehmet Faruk Uçum.

I am the responsible physician in the largest tent city in Kahramanmaraş the KAFUM tent city. It is also known as New Ataturk Park and Kahramanmaraş Fairgrounds.

Here, as the responsible physician, I provide coordination in terms of health, we have set up the family health tent and we continue to vaccinate there. I also do public health work in the field.

During this process, with my friends in the OpenStreetMap community and my friends in Istanbul, we worked together and as a result of this work, we created a map.

I used this map especially during the vaccination process to find out which tent was where, because we really lacked data in this regard. We didn’t know the location of the tents, or which number was where, so we were not able to navigate to the right tents.

Recently again, I have used it to inspect and verify alleged scabies cases within the tents. I have, for example, some tent numbers that are said to have scabies but some of them may be seen wrongly or it is possible that the wrong number is given to us but I found them on the map and took the necessary action.

In public health, we used it again to identify outbreaks… the focus of outbreaks, that is. After marking the tent numbers on the map, we determined which areas had problems, especially for acute gastroenteritis, for example. Again, if there is a problem with viral rash diseases tomorrow, this map will be used for isolation and quarantine activities.

The authorities have asked me for this map I was using and I gave it to them, and they used it to plan the power lines that needed to be installed for the lighting in the tents. The army has used it for public order and it is also used for logistics.

If I am able to complete it during my stay here, we will try to use it for emergency referrals.

So, we used this map for every kind of planning you can think of… for health, for administration, for public order, and it was really one of the most important things I could have done here.

For this, I thank the OpenStreetMap contributors very much, I thank the community very much, I’m glad you exist.

Thank you very much. Take care of yourselves.

Ruben Martin and I discuss recent highlights and what’s coming up in the humanitarian open mapping community.

What’s covered this week in brief?

Syria & Turkey earthquake response // Activations in Malawi and Ethiopia // International Women’s Day catch up // Bolivia YouthMappers // Mapping journeys to impact // Ruwa project completion // What’s coming up? // Mappy quote of the week

What’s happened this week?

Syria / Turkey earthquake response: The Turkey / Syria earthquake activation continues to progress — tasking manager projects are being finished off and and the validation is catching up. ~ 9,000 mappers have contributed over 2 million buildings and more than 83,000 km of roads so far. We also published this blog to try and provide insight into where the data is going and what it is being used for

There is also this brilliant testimony from Dr Mehmet on his use of OpenStreetMap data for public health programming in the tent cities where people displaced by the earthquake are housed.

Activations in Malawi and Ethiopia: Additionally, the OSM Malawi community has activated to support the data needs for responders following Cyclone Freddy in Malawi — you can support them with mapping, here. OSM Ethiopia are also still mapping in response to the drought and food crisis in Ethiopia, which is drastically affecting people in the region of Oromia — you can contribute here.

International Women’s Day: There was loads of stuff to catch up from from International Women’s Day this week, too… My recommendations…

Encourage you to watch and listen!

Bolivia YouthMappers: Really enjoying following the YouthMappers UMSA chapter from Bolivia. They seem to be on such a roll; developing connections and collaborations, flying drones and doing lots of mapping!

Mapping journeys to impact: Excited to see the insights start to emerge from Rubén’s conversations with people and organisations that have been using open map data for flood resilience, and advocacy for improved services and planning for communities in informal settlements. The goal is to try to expose the knowledge, tools and support that people trying to solve similar challenges need to give them the motivation and means to use open mapping and OpenStreetMap to take action.

Ruwa project completion: Lastly, the closing event of the Ruwa project, which focuses on open mapping and access to water in Niger, is taking place this week. There are trainings, sharebacks and lots more planned by the Open Mapping Hub — West and Northern Africa and their partners. More to come, soon!

What is coming up?

The OSM Africa mapathon is this month focusing on Namibia and hosted by our friends from the Shack Dwellers Federation and OSM Namibia.

There is also a Community Working Group webinar coming up in a couple of weeks, focusing on the women’s participation in OpenStreetMap research mentioned in last week’s weeknotes. Morte details to come!

Mappy quote of the week:

There are so many this week (the recordings and podcast above are full of them!), but this one is from my colleague, Nama (HOT’s regional director — Asia Pacific) and taken from his appearance on the geomob Turkey & Syria earthquake response podcast episode

“OpenStreetMap is a great project and disaster after disaster we continue to demonstrate that we can work together to produce something useful for people on the ground!”

HOT Community Weeknotes: 9 / 2023

Posted by pedrito1414 on 9 March 2023 in English.

Ruben Martin and I discuss recent highlights and what’s coming up in the humanitarian open mapping community.

What’s covered this week in brief?

Syria / Turkey earthquake response // Community Working Group mentorship programme // OSM Ethiopia community-led activation // Community research on barriers to women’s participation in OSM // International Women’s Day // Month activites and events // Mappy quote of the week

What’s happened this week?

Syria / Turkey earthquake response: The response to the Turkey Syria earthquake has continued, with more than 8,500 mappers contributing to the data.

The validation of the data is still a heavy task, and the validation team is working so hard to keep up with the volume of mapping. Please be careful with your mapping and make sure the data that you create and they review is as good as it can be! This video from Becky Candy should help you if you are new to mapping.

Also want to congratulate Said for receiving UN Mapper of the Month for his role in coordinating the data response in the days following the earthquake.

March 2023 mapper of the month poster

Community Working Group: The Community Working Group mentorship program is developing well, following the pilot programme last year. The programme is designed and will be published soon and recruitment for mentors and mentees is expected to open in early April.

Ethiopia community-led activation: Important to remember that the recent earthquakes aren’t the only crises people are facing and so want to highlight OSM Ethiopia’s efforts to support the humanitarian response to the climate crisis in Ethiopia and to amplify their call for mappers to come and join them.

OSM Ethipia banner

Community research: Benedicta from the HOT community team has launched a piece of research looking at the barriers for women’s participation in the OpenStreetMap community, and we want to encourage as many people as possible to fill out the survey and share it with their networks as well as attending the associated webinar later in the month (details to come).

What is coming up?

There are events and activities related to International Women’s Day (IWD) / Month happening throughout March across the OpenStreetMap / open mapping ecosystem.

Find information here on the HOT IWD scoller and here on the OSM blog (alongside a nice profile of Geoladies Philippines) and here on the Geochicas’ map.

Mappy quote of the week:

We have been reviewing the HOT unSummit programme pilot and this quote from Carrol Chan jumped out at me (she was talking about the Pacific GIS Conference and thanking the organisers)…

“There’s something genuine about the connections formed in OSM and grassroots geospatial commmunities, and these tend to transcend boundaries.”

tweet from Carrol https://twitter.com/cmhc23/status/1597546997304524800?s=20

A week ago, my colleague Can (who works at HOT and is part of Yer Çizenler) got a message from Dr Çevik, a Turkish surgeon treating people injured by the earthquake in Turkey.

Message from the doctor to Can

It said: On the first day I went to Rehaniya, when Google Maps was not working, Organic Maps guided us. The importance of such tools is enormous. Good luck to you, Can. 🔥 organic maps 🔥

Can asked him to explain and he did… You can find the video here and the transcript below.

Screenshot from Dr Çevik's video

Hi, I’m Dr Bilgehan Çevik. I’m an orthopedic surgeon working in Ankara, Turkey.

I went to work in the earthquake area a few hours after the earthquake in Kahramanmaras on February 6th.

Ten other volunteer doctors and I went by plane to Adana from Ankara. And from there we set out for Antakya, where the earthquake caused the most damage.

We didn’t know the roads and routes of the region, so we tried to use the online map services we were all using before. Unfortunately, the services didn’t work because there was no network.

In this case, Organic maps came to the rescue and we reached our destination by creating our route with organic maps.

So thank you all, you are doing really great work.

Please keep supporting the response though mapping, validating, organising and everything else you are doing… The data is being put to use in a lot of different ways!

HOT Community Weeknotes: 8 / 2023

Posted by pedrito1414 on 23 February 2023 in English.

Ruben Martin and I discuss the recent activities and what’s coming up for the humanitarian open mapping community.

What’s covered this week in brief?

  • Response to the earthquake in Syria and Turkey
  • Milestone for URBE LATAM and the Preventório favela mappers in Brazil
  • Sharebacks of the Mapping for Resilience Initiative in Hoima, Uganda
  • OSM Community Spotlights at Community Working Group
  • Events coming up
  • Mappy quote of the week

What’s happened this week?

Over the past few weeks, the OpenStreetMap community has mobilised in response to the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. More than 7,500 mappers have contributed to the response so far, and 221 validators have validated over 5,870 tasks in Turkey alone — the contribution of this relatively small number of validators has been phenomenal, trying to ensure high data quality for the relief efforts.

The data produced is being used in the field and has been utilised in various platforms, including the MSF geo portal and the humanitarian data exchange (HDX), the preeminent data platform for humanitarian responders. Despite the ongoing challenges of the response, the community’s response has been amazing, and we, at HOT, are proud to be a part of it.

The response to the earthquake will continue, with data needs changing as the response progresses. For example, Turkish mapping NGO, Yer Çizenler, has introduced tagging for buildings that have been damaged, and other datasets such as pharmacies and medical providers are being integrated.

The message… please keep mapping (go here if you want to know how) — the data is being used everyday to support the response.

Really happy to see that the URBE LATAM team spent last week with their Preventório favela mapping community colleagues and visiting other communities, discussing the results of the mapping and how the data is, and could be, used, as well as meeting with the Mayor of Niterói to discuss future solidarity, economic and public policy projects.

People looking at the maps together

Staying with informal settlement mapping, also great to see the Mapping for Resilience Initiative in Uganda has been doing sharebacks of their mapping work with the residents of Hoima, Uganda, discussing how the mapping can support the assessment of facility distribution & negotiations for better services.

It’s also been fantastic over the past three weeks to have three OSM Community Spotlights (a new feature) at the community working group meetings. The workig group members have hosted OSM Malawi, Togo and Kenya, with really interesting discussions on community evolution, challenges and new initiatives. Check the working group forum for notes and discussion.

What is coming up?

There are a lot of earthquake solidarity events coming up, organised by OSM communities — the best way to find a community mapathon to join is through the OSM wiki or on the OSM calendar.

There is also an exciting webinar being organised by the Community working group tomorrow on the future of field mapping, featuring a demo of the prototype Field Mapping Tasking Manager (sessions in French and English)

Poster for the webinar event

Mappy quote of the week:

Mikel Maron on OpenStreetMap (in conversation on the geomob podcast):

I think it’s amazing that [OSM] works… I’m still astounded that, everyday, this is the way that the fundamental geospatial data set of the world is created. And, it works and continues to work!

Mikel Maron

Since 06 February when the first earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, more than 6,500 mappers have mobilised to contribute to the response through the creation and improvement of OpenStreetMap data.

On 09 Feb, I wrote a diary post about whether the OSM data being contributed by mappers and validators in Turkey and Syria was helping anybody. This one builds on that theme…

Below is a selection of maps and map products being used by responders that incorporate OpenStreetMap data (gathered through searching data sources on maps and data products on ReliefWeb, the MSF Geo Centre and through what people are reporting on the HOT disaster-mapping slack channel). Click through the links to explore the maps yourself…

Map from REACH: Northwest Syria --- Earthquake Exposed Communities

☝️Map from REACH: Northwest Syria — Earthquake Exposed Communities

Map from REACH: Northwest Syria --- Earthquake Exposed Dams

☝️ Map from REACH: Northwest Syria — Earthquake Exposed Dams

Maps and infographics from CrisisReady: Population Density Change Report

☝️ Maps and infographics from CrisisReadyPopulation Density Change Report

Map from MSF: North East Syria Reference Map

☝️ Map from MSFNorth East Syria Reference Map

Map from MapAction: Damaged Buildings and Needs Assessment

☝️ Map from MapActionDamaged Buildings and Needs Assessment

Map from AKUT (photo): being used for coordination in the field

☝️ Map from AKUT (photo): being used for coordination in the field

Map from AFAD (photo): being used for coordination in the field

☝️ Map from AFAD (photo): being used for coordination in the field

Big shout out to Yer Çizenler for continuing to lead this ‘activation’ (HOT word for disaster response) and a huge thanks to all of you mappers and validators who are contributing. Please keep going — there are still many unmet needs in terms of open geo data!

In case it’s useful to anyone reading, there are >40 key datasets, related to the earthquake response, on HDX from UNOSAT, OCHA, HOT (mostly OSM data) and more…

Want to map to show solidarity with those affected by the quakes? Head to the HOT tasking manager.

Short update to the previous post on whether mappers are really helping anybody in a disaster situation

CJ Hendrix from OCHA reached out and shared statistics on the downloads of all of the OSM datasets for Turkey, provided by HOT through HDX

Message from CJ Hendrix

Download statistics for OSM datasets for Turkey provided by HOT through HDX

23% of those downloads are also apparently going to users in Turkey.

Re: Is what I am doing really helping anybody in a disaster situation?

Posted by pedrito1414 on 9 February 2023 in English. Last updated on 10 February 2023.

I received this question through the HOT feedback form today. Here is my response in case anyone else wants to know.

Re: Is what I am doing really helping anybody in a disaster situation?

The short answer is yes, we think so - the tasking manager projects have been created based on requests from organisations who plan to use the data.

The long answer is that in the immediate aftermath, everyone is looking for resources, including data, but we get very little feedback initially as to who exactly is using it.

People and orgs are busy responding. This info usually surfaces a little later and we will update when it does. In previous disasters such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Philippines typhoon Yolanda in 2013, and Ebola outbreaks in West and Central Africa, we have observed that responding agencies often begin using the map data a few weeks into the response, after the initial rush to establish the basics is done. This is only possible if we start early, so that by the time responders need it the data actually exists.

One proxy we do have is that the downloads of OSM datasets provided by HOT through the HDX platform are spiking. There is a lag on the reporting (so latest numbers are from 06 Feb) but we do see them going up. HDX is a key data source for humanitarian responders.

Screenshot from HDX showing the spike in downloads for OSM road data package in Turkey Screenshot from HDX showing the spike in downloads for OSM road data package in Turkey, 10 Feb 2023

Thanks to the mapper who sent in the question and a huge thanks to all of you who are mapping and validating in solidarity.

Please keep an eye on HOT channels for more specific info in the coming days…

HOT Community Weeknotes: 6 / 2023

Posted by pedrito1414 on 9 February 2023 in English. Last updated on 10 February 2023.

Ruben Martin and I discuss the recent activities and what’s coming up for the humanitarian open mapping community.

What’s covered this week in brief?

Earthquake response in Turkey and Syria // The first OSM diary from State of the Map Tanzania // Thank you packs received by top performing validators // An interview with OSM Somalia // Advances in the OSM contribution decline analysis and research // OSM Malawi @ community working group // Mappy quote of the week

This week we were excited by…

Earthquake Response

This is not ‘exciting’, but very significant… The open mapping / OpenStreetMap community have responded in numbers to support people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.. Just yesterday, over 1200 people contributed to mapping tasks in Turkey. New projects have also been published for Syria. The response in Turkey is being coordinated locally by mapping NGO, Yer Çizenler, who are working to connect local partners with the data.

Infographic of earthquake impact and mapping projects

OSM Diary — SotM Tanzania

Jemima published the first OSM diary about State of the Map Tanzania. It was great to read about her experience at the conference, what she learned and who she met.

Thank You Packs for validators

HOT sent out swag packs to top performing validators. The swag packs include a special t-shirt, notebook, and other items. Great to see people tweeting about receiving their gifts.

Tweeted thanks from a happy validator

Interview with OSM Somalia

OSM Somalia travelled to State the Map in Tanzania and presented on their experience mapping in ahigh humanitarian context. The talk was well received and they have now been interviewed on the OpenCage blog. It’s great to see them getting more exposure and telling their story.

Members of the OSM Somalia community at SotM Tanzania in January 2023

Members of the OSM Somalia community at SotM Tanzania in January 2023

OSM Contribution Decline Analysis and Research

The HOT community team is advancing the OSM contribution decline analysis and research and starting to get some granular data. In Latam, for example, there was not a decline in contribution during 2022, and in other areas where there was a decline, there has been an increase in the number of facilities, buildings, and roads. The team is working with HOT regional Open Mapping Hubs to better define the research questions.

OSM Malawi at the community working group

OSM Malawi came and presented their evolution and their challenges around community mobilisation at the community working group this week and it was a good discussion. But, there’s more to talk about. The notes are on the community working group forum, and people can continue to discuss and give advice, tips and share their experience.

What is coming up!

The community calendar is dominated by mapathons organised in solidarity with those affected by the earthquakes. Events are spinning up fast and the best place to keep track of them is OSM Cal. There are events organised by the Open Mapping Hub — Asia Pacific, OSM Uganda, community groups in Mexico and Brazil, UN partners and others. If you want to join, follow the links at osmcal.org.

Mappy quote of the week

Comes from Tsion Taye, OSM Ethiopia volunteer ❤️

Mapping is beautiful! What could be more meaningful than contributing to saving lives, minimising the destruction that hazards cause, and letting others have a serene environment to live in?

Tweet with original quote

Stay tuned for more updates……………………

Also cross-posted on medium

HOT Community Weeknotes: 5 / 2023

Posted by pedrito1414 on 2 February 2023 in English.

Sharing with you again some of the things that Ruben and I have been excited about, and some of what’s coming up, in the HOT community and across the humanitarian open mapping movement.

Things that have excited us this week…

Congrats to the HOT training working group who had an impressive 52 participants at the advanced JOSM training last weekend!

Chisom Okwuchi shared a lovely OSM diary of her experiences as a Community Working Group mentorship lead

… and, the organising group for the mentorship program is now planning for the next phase and will be looking for mentors and mentees in the next few months!

Shout out to Kraan46, one of HOT’s global validators, who has now validated on 360 days out of the last year — an impressive feat and huge contribution!

Contribution timeline for Kraan46

Contribution timeline for Kraan46!

Kudos to OSM Uganda, who have established a new MOU with the Terego district on integrating OSM learning into schools.

Cool to hear that the Suza YouthMappers have just started working with the Jane Goodall Institute for forest monitoring through community mapping.

The State of the Map Africa logo was launched to the public and is really nice! The event is in December this year in Cameroon.

New state of the map africa logo

Ruben Martin also shared that he’s been digging deeper into the research on declining contributions in 2022 and is seeing some upward trends too (in the numbers too at a more granular level). Full report to come once the research is done…

The Open Mapping Hub — Asia Pacific has published an approach for improving OpenStreetMap data quality in the region.

Lastly, at the OSM Africa mapathon, hosted by OSM Angola recently, the mayor of the town being mapped turned up and addressed the mappers directly! Very cool…..

What’s coming up?

The Llamitas Mapeadoras YouthMappers chapter released the schedule for the Tambomachay project, which looks like a very exciting, collaborative mapping project in Peru. Also, they have the best logo 😎👌🔥

Lalamitas mapeadoras logo

The 28 of 28 campaign from OSM Ghana is taking place in February again with a prize for the winner. Get involved!

Following a successful pilot, the HOT Summit Working Group proposed to the senior management team to evolve the unSummit concept over the next two years as core programming and it was unanimously supported. The working group is now moving into planning to make it bigger, better, and more impactful.

We’ll be continuing work on replacing the HOT website in order to provide a better experience and resources, help people find the right path to solve problems through open mapping and discover others who have been solving similar issues.

As always, we hope this update helps you keep up with some of what’s going on. We’re just trying this out to see whether a weekly digest like this is useful to people across the community… If you have any questions or want to suggest something that should be in here but isn’t, feel free to reach out in the comments!

These weeknotes are cross-posted on Medium

Notathon México (translated)

Posted by pedrito1414 on 3 October 2022 in English.

I really like the ‘notathon’ concept, so just posting a translated version of AngocA’s original diary entry (which was in Spanish).

On Saturday 1 October 2022, a notathon was held, as is customary one week after the Latam meeting. This time it took place in Mexico, and was coordinated by BigBlueButton - OSMVideo, where several people participated.

Notathon Mexico

This time DAMN-project was used to divide the areas. For the division of areas we filtered by only the notes created from the Maps.me application. This is the task of DAMN: https://client.damn-project.org/?area=2407

We showed how to use the JOSM plugin, which automatically downloads the notes, and this allows to work in several areas, without having to leave the editor.

In total 63 notes were solved, with participants mainly from Mexico (alex_mayorga, Mapeadora, Sandra, among others), but there were also attendees from Venezuela (risturiz), Argentina (Manuel Retamozo) and Colombia (AngocA).

This activity has allowed us to work as a region, supporting each other, and each one contributing from their experience. We learned about tree mapping, humanitarian mapping strategies, among other things.

There were also very good questions, and we are going to create a couple of tickets in DAMN and OSM. For example: the OSM API should not create a note with the same coordinates on top of an existing, open one; instead, it should add a comment to the existing one.

If you want to see what happened at the Mexico Notathon, you can relive it at: https://youtu.be/oXmOmT8GT7Y

Inspired by Gustavo’s diary on his SotM experience, I am putting some of my thoughts down on paper…

This was only my second in-person State of the Map (first in Belgium) but it felt like I’d been many times - people were so welcoming and open, the organisation and volunteers were great and there were a lot of familiar faces (and usernames).

On Friday my main track highlights were Martijn on 10 years of MapRoulette and Kristen on Entry Level Mobile Mapping.

On the Friday afternoon (also World Humanitarian Day), I hosted the HOT unSummit Humanitarian sessions (which you can watch again here) and we heard fantastic stories and insights and saw some great maps, data and tools from 12 different speakers, all relevant to humanitarian open mapping and from all corners of the world. Kudos to the speakers for being so well prepared and to the audience for being so engaged and curious. It was a really great afternoon.

Presenters from the HOT unSummit Humanitarian Sessions at SotM 2022 receiving questions

Presenters from the HOT unSummit Humanitarian Sessions at SotM 2022 receiving questions

Presenters from the HOT unSummit Humanitarian Sessions at SotM 2022 receiving questions

In the evening, HOT hosted a social event to mark World Humanitarian Day and the role that OSM plays in humanitarian response and development work. By chance it happened before a live gig, so our speakers did look like rock stars on the stage with a booming PA and a bank of lighting above them! It was really interesting to hear them all reflect on OSM and humanitarian open mapping from such interesting angles (Nama and Tyler from a HOT perspective, Sarah as a GIS professional at MSF), Guillaume from an OSMF perspective and Zola from MapMalawi who brilliantly crowdsourced her remarks.

On Saturday my main track highlights were Florian on How to kill OSM? Above all, change nothing and Ana, Silvia and Natalia on Women Leadership in Mapping Riverside Communities in the Amazon Forest Using OSM

Also, a shout out to my colleague Arnalie for her online presentation on Localization as an inclusion and participatory enabler research. This is a topic she has been keeping front and centre in HOT and it was great to see her present it to the wider OSM community and sparking interesting discussion and insights in other platforms subsequently.

Arnalie presenting at SotM

Saturday’s SotM social was, of course, fantastic :D

On Sunday, I didn’t get to see many presentations but one that really stood out for me was Anne Lee’s Mapping crises, communities and capitalism on OpenStreetMap: situating humanitarian mapping in the (open source) mapping supply chain in the Academic Track. This was fascinating and impressive. Someone commented afterwards that they had long thought that OSM deserved an anthropologist in residence. I second that sentiment!

Aside from the conference itself, it was great to meet such a dynamic group of HOT scholars (and some HOT colleagues for the first time) as well as hang out with the YouthMappers ambassadors (special mention to those from Latin America who taught me so much in 90 minutes about the huge challenges of building community whilst speaking with such passion for the topic).

Lastly, huge thanks to… the organising committees for the event itself but also for collaborating with HOT on the humanitarian sessions in such a great way…. whoever was behind the SotM Telegram group - that was really fun and engaging… and to the event volunteers - legends!

The SotM 2022 family photo

Location: 43.802, 11.244