OpenStreetMap

pedrito1414's diary

Recent diary entries

OSM-related International Women's Day / Month events - add what we have missed!

Posted by pedrito1414 on 2 March 2021 in English (English).

We (community working group) have been compiling a list of OSM-related events inspired by International Women’s Day / Month or the 2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge.

Find them on the wiki here!

Please add any that we have missed!

Wito wa Kutengeneza Nembo ya Hali ya Ramani 2021

Posted by pedrito1414 on 9 February 2021 in Swahili (Kiswahili).

Posting this here as volunteer translators did great work translating this OSM blog post to Swahili, but there have been some issues in the communications working group adding it as a new language to the blog platform (which will be fixed soon). Didn’t want the effort to go to waste!

Mwaka 2020, kwa mara ya kwanza tulifanya mkutano wa hali ya ramani mtandaoni! Mwezi Julai mwaka huu, Mkutano huu (SotM 2021) pia utafanyika mtandaoni (tarehe rasimi zitatangazwa katikatu ya mwezi february).

Sura ya SotM ni, kwa kweli, nembo yake: kipengee cha picha kinachotambulika ambacho kinawakilisha uhai na hali ya mkutano wa ulimwengu wa mwaka huo. Kwa sababu hii, tunahitaji msaada wa akili nyingi za ubunifu katika jamii kutengeneza nembo (logo) mpya ya SotM 2021!

State of the Map image

Nembo pia ni muhimu kwa kuelezea muundo na rangi ya tovuti rasmi ya SotM na mtindo wa vitu vilivyomo kwenye mkutano katika majukwaa yote ya OSM. Itatumika pia kwenye vitu tofauti kwenye mkutano kama fulana, stika, nk, na kufanya mkutano uwe na kumbukumbu nzuri zisizisahaulika.

Kutoka kwa wataalamu wenye uzoefu hadi ubunifu wa kawaida na wapenzi wenye utashi, kila mtu anaweza kushiriki na kutoa mawazo yake kwa jamii!

Mwongozo wa Shindano

Ubunifu wa nembo inapaswa:

  • kuwa mchoro halisi (original)
  • rejea OpenStreetMap (OSM), na State of the Map (SotM)
  • zingatia hisia za jamii ulimwenguni na maadili yake ya msingi
  • kutambulika kwa urahisi
  • leseni ya wazi: CC BY SA au inayohusiana
  • kuwasilishwa Jumapili tarehe 14 Februari 2021 23:59 UTC (03:59 PM EAT)

Jinsi ya kuingia Tafadhali wasilisha pendekezo lako la nembo kupitia barua pepe kwa sotm@openstreetmap.org, ukiambatanisha faili ya muundo katika fomati ya PNG na muundo wa faili unaoweza kuongezwa au kupunguzwa (kama PDF au SVG).

Uchaguzi wa mshindi Sanaa/nembo zilizowasilishwa zitakaguliwa na kikundi kinachofanya kazi cha SotM, na nembo ya ushindi itaamuliwa kupitia kura. Nembo rasmi itatangazwa baada ya mkutano wa SotM katikati ya mwezi Februari.

Je unatafuta msukumo au mwangaza? Angalia logo za mikutano ya SotM iliyopita. Kama una swali lolote, jisikie huru kuwasiliana na kikundi kazi cha SotM kupitia barua pepe: sotm@openstreetmap.org.

Mkutano wa hali ya ramani (State of the Map conference) ni mkutano wa kila mwaka, wa kimataifa wa OpenStreetMap, ulioandaliwa na OpenStreetMap Foundation. OpenStreetMap Foundation ni shirika lisilo la faida, iliyoundwa nchini Uingereza kusaidia Mradi wa OpenStreetMap. Imejitolea kuhamasisha ukuaji, ukuzaji na usambazaji wa data ya kijiografia ya bure/huru kwa kila mtu kutumia na kushiriki. OpenStreetMap Foundation inamiliki na inadumisha miundombinu ya mradi wa OpenStreetMap na unaweza kuiunga mkono kwa kuwa mwanachama.

Kamati ya uandaaji ya State of the Map ni moja katu ya vikundi kazi vyetu vya kijitolea

Devolved community investment pilot in Tanzania

Posted by pedrito1414 on 9 February 2021 in English (English).

I want to share a community investment initiative HOT Is piloting in collaboration with OMDTZ (OpenMap Development Tanzania).

Over the next five years, HOT aims to support a movement of individuals and communities who create and use OpenStreetMap data to improve local lives and livelihoods in places vulnerable to crisis or experiencing multidimensional poverty. The strategy for using the Audacious project funds to achieve this centres around moving decision-making, resource allocation, support and engagement closer to these places. Partly, this is through the launch of four regional mapping hubs, but we also want to try and innovate in other ways.

HOT’s microgrants programme has proved successful over the years but we know that our reach in many places is limited and that, despite a diverse community panel for selecting winners, we cannot have a deep understanding of the context (and therefore the challenges, opportunities and constraints) in every one of 94 countries.

For this reason, we are piloting a devolved community investment programme, where we can pass on the budget for multiple grants to a trusted partner (in this case, OMDTZ) to design and implement a programme at a national level. With a few caveats (around principles, objectives, diligence and reporting requirements), we want OMDTZ to be free in designing a programme of community support and investment that works for Tanzanian contributors, communities and organisations.

We hope that by doing this the funds will be more accessible and have greater local reach, that the funded work will have greater local relevance and impact and that we (HOT) and others can learn from OMDTZ’s successes and failures and improve our own programme.

We also hope that, if the pilot is successful, we are able to replicate or adapt a similar strategy in other countries with strong OSM community organisations. In fact, if you think this is something that could work where you are, we’d love to hear from you.

The details of how the Tanzanian programme will work, what it will be called and what the timelines are are currently being developed and I’ll leave it to OMDTZ to communicate that in the near future. If you are interested and want to know more, you can find them on twitter or contact them through their website or by email at omdtanzania@gmail.com.

Why OMDTZ?

OMDTZ team. Photo by Chris Morgan, World Bank and taken from OMDTZ website

To pilot this programme, we wanted to partner with an established organisation within the 94 focus countries with a significant focus on leveraging OpenStreetMap data to improve lives and livelihoods. The organisation needed to have other sources of funding and the capacity (depth of relevant experiences and skills) to support contributors, communities and organisations nationally. OMDTZ was not the only organisation to meet these criteria and, we hope, is only the first that we will work with on this initiative.

Help us redefine how we support communities leveraging OSM for social impact

Posted by pedrito1414 on 8 February 2021 in English (English).

The humanitarian OpenStreetMap Community Working Group has taken the decision to revisit our scope and purpose.

We want to better serve…

  • OSM communities in places vulnerable to humanitarian crisis or experiencing multidimensional poverty
  • Communities or orgs that use (or want to use) OSM for social impact
  • People that want to show solidarity with these communities through collaboration and support.

…and be less focused on the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) specifically.

Draft community definitions

In order to work out how to evolve, we would like to invite interested people to join us in one hour workshops to try and understand what scope, principles and objectives will serve this new purpose. We would love to have a diversity of people and perspectives inform this work.

The insights from these workshops will be used to inform a draft of the working group’s new terms of reference, which will be published in advance for consultation.

It does not matter if you have engaged with the working group in the past or whether you plan to in the future (although you are always more than welcome).

There are two one-hour workshops available if you would like to share your perspectives:

If these times available aren’t convenient for you, but you would like to give your opinion, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at pete.masters @ hotosm.org and we can organise an alternative.

Looking for webinar panellists: Colonialism in Open Data and Mapping

Posted by pedrito1414 on 2 February 2021 in English (English).

The humanitarian OpenStreetMap community working group is looking for interesting panellists for a webinar mini-series on Colonialism in Open Data and Mapping. Do you have any suggestions?

This is the explainer for the webinar:

“And while maps may be missing from digital platforms and social networks, we are still here.”- David Garcia, 2020

Maps and digital data have played crucial roles in humanitarian aid eg. disaster response. Although it is of best interest to help local communities through generating data and features on the map, humanitarian actors and mappers should take note that we are not only mapping features (houses, roads, waterways, etc), but also mapping the land, oceans, and communities who live and are stewards of that space. With this webinar, we want to examine and discuss this balance (community <> digital information), decolonising open data and open mapping, and representation and power in humanitarian mapping, among others.

There will be two events in this series that hopefully accommodate interested people in different timezones : 26 Feb 2021 at 06:00 & 16:00 UTC.

Our panel so far for the 06:00 UTC event are:

And, for the 16:00 UTC event:

We are looking for one more panellist for each event. If you would like to suggest someone, please feel free to get in touch via the comments or the community-wg slack channel or via email at pete.masters @ hotosm.org

For more info on the webinars that the WG organises, there is a wiki page, here.

For more info on the working group, there is a wiki page, here.

Mejoras potenciales al Tasking Manager de HOT para ayudar a los colaboradores, nuevos y existentes, a colaborar de forma más efectiva

Posted by pedrito1414 on 13 January 2021 in Spanish (Español).

Esta entrada del diario se publicó por primera vez en inglés y se tituló: Potential HOT tasking manager improvements to help new and existing contributors collaborate more effectively.

En los últimos meses, he hablado con algunas personas diferentes sobre la fricción que puede existir cuando grupos de nuevos colaboradores se comprometen con OpenStreetMap en áreas donde ya existe una comunidad activa. Si bien el impulso para escribir esta entrada del diario ha sido temas recientes en Panamá (entre un capítulo local de YouthMappers (YM) y un pequeño grupo de mapeadores locales activos), el contenido no es específico sólo de esa situación y ha sido informado por múltiples personas en múltiples continentes (así como mi propia experiencia).

El tema en sí mismo tampoco es en absoluto nuevo - si bien recuerdo, a partir de 2014, cuando iniciamos el proyecto de Missing Maps. Lo que es nuevo es que ahora trabajo en el equipo de la comunidad de Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) y en realidad es mi trabajo tratar de averiguar cómo hacer crecer la comunidad de OSM de una manera que respete el pasado y el futuro del proyecto y de la comunidad.

Se preguntarán qué tiene que ver la situación en Panamá con HOT y creo que hay dos respuestas a esto.

En primer lugar, llevamos la instancia HOT del Tasking Manager (TM). Vemos al TM como un activo de la comunidad y, aunque no originamos todos los proyectos que hay allí (por ejemplo, en 2020, HOT originó el 17% de todos los proyectos publicados), sí desarrollamos y mantenemos la tecnología, así como proporcionamos los flujos de trabajo y la incorporación de personas que quieren crear y gestionar proyectos específicos. Por ejemplo, la mayoría de los capítulos de YM (YouthMappers) contribuyen mediante el mapeo a través de el TM (incluido el capítulo de Panamá que organizó proyectos locales que se establecieron en colaboración con el equipo mundial de YM).

En segundo lugar, la misión de HOT es aumentar radicalmente las contribuciones de calidad de los mapas locales y los colaboradores de 94 países de África, Asia y América Latina y el Caribe durante los próximos cinco años como parte del proyecto Audacious. Tenemos que ser buenos en asegurarnos de que los nuevos mapeadores (no estoy seguro de cómo traducir mejor “mappers” en español, pero tuve un interesante intercambio en twitter aquí sobre ello y usaremos “mapeadores” en este post del diario) se basen en lo que ya existe en colaboración con las personas y comunidades que ya participan activamente en el proyecto OSM y que sean bienvenidos en esas mismas comunidades.

Así pues, este diario trata de identificar algunas formas específicas en las que HOT podría mejorar los flujos de trabajo del Tasking Manager (algo que está firmemente dentro de nuestra esfera de influencia) para ayudar a mejorar la forma en que traemos nuevos colaboradores a OSM (y especialmente aquellos, para los que el TM es una de sus primeras experiencias con OSM) y la forma en que interactuamos y colaboramos con ellos como contribuyentes y comunidades experimentadas.

Posibles cuestiones a tratar / aspectos a mejorar

Lo que sigue no son soluciones, sino una lista de cuestiones que, si se abordan, tal vez puedan contribuir a resolver algunos de los problemas planteados. Por favor, ¡siéntate libre de añadir ideas adicionales en los comentarios (y hacer preguntas / críticas constructivas)!

Conocimiento y comprensión del Tasking Manager (¿y documentación?)

Está claro que hay malentendidos sobre qué es el TM y cómo es el proceso de mapeo a través de él. Existen múltiples conceptos erróneos sobre el origen y la propiedad de los proyectos, a quién sirve la herramienta y cuán accesible es. También hay una falta de comprensión en torno a (o de aceptación de) las dos etapas del proceso (mapeo -> validación), ya que surgen frustraciones en torno a las nuevas ediciones del mapeador (incluidos los datos que se eliminan / los cambios que se revierten) antes de que un proceso de validación haya tenido tiempo de llevarse a cabo. Esto no sólo puede desalentar a los nuevos cartógrafos, sino que también puede impedir que se lleve a cabo un importante proceso de aprendizaje.

Transparencia del Tasking Manager - creadores de proyectos

Cuando el TM estaba completamente abierto a que cualquiera pudiera construir proyectos, había un grave problema con la calidad de los datos, ya que algunos proyectos estaban mal descritos y/o carecían de instrucciones y orientación adecuadas para los mapeadores. HOT ajustó la política de TM de manera que las organizaciones y grupos tuvieron que registrarse y completar el “onboarding” para poder convertirse en creadores de proyectos (es decir, poder publicar un nuevo proyecto). Ahora, a través del Tasking Manager, cualquiera puede encontrar al creador de un proyecto y enviarle un mensaje. Un problema con la situación de Panamá fue que un miembro del equipo global de YM está manejando todas las tareas de YM (actualmente sirve a más de 200 capítulos). Esto dificulta la transparencia a través del TM, ya que los contribuyentes de OSM sólo saben quién implementó técnicamente el proyecto, no quién lo solicitó o lo está administrando localmente.

Espacio para la mejora de la “responsabilidad social” en la orientación inicial a los creadores / gestores de proyectos

El principal objetivo del “onboarding” de los creadores/gestores de proyectos es la ejecución técnica de los proyectos, esencialmente tratando de asegurar que se cumplan las normas y que los cartógrafos puedan hacer lo que se les pide de manera eficaz. La integración abarca las expectativas y aptitudes en torno a: la participación de las comunidades locales y los colaboradores, la respuesta a las preguntas y solicitudes de información, el cierre de los proyectos, la documentación en el wiki (en el caso de la edición organizada), etc. Pero está claro que este aspecto de la integración podría desarrollarse y reforzarse.

Clasificación de las áreas de interés (para los nuevos mapeadores)

Un tema que surgió a través de la situación de Panamá fue que una zona urbana fue categorizada como un proyecto para principiantes. La actual incorporación y orientación para los creadores de proyectos no les ayuda a asegurarse de que el entorno que se va a cartografiar sea acorde con la experiencia del grupo de mapeadores, especialmente cuando es probable que haya muchos principiantes.

La documentación del proyecto no está bien integrada / enfatizada

Independientemente de la calidad de la documentación del proyecto en el wiki de OSM (una convención establecida en las directrices de edición organizadas), la plantilla del proyecto de TM / proceso de incorporación no hace énfasis en la importancia de la documentación ni en el vínculo con ella si está disponible.

Los proyectos del TM no siempre se cierran

Los proyectos inactivos (o apenas activos) pueden “quedarse” en el TM durante mucho tiempo, lo que significa que los datos en el OSM pueden ser incompletos en toda el área de interés. Esto también puede causar problemas si otros trabajos de edición se inician en las mismas áreas / superpuestas. Además, cuanto más tiempo esté abierto un proyecto, más difícil será encontrar a las personas que participaron en la solicitud / creación del mismo.

Los proyectos del TM pueden superponerse (entre sí o con proyectos en otras instancias de TM)

Actualmente no hay forma de saber o comprobar eficazmente si otros proyectos del HOT TM o en otras instancias del TM se superponen a un área de interés. Esto significa que es teóricamente posible (y ocasionalmente ocurre) que múltiples proyectos traigan a diferentes grupos de mapeadores para que aporten datos para la misma área (básicamente diciendo a los mapeadores, “esta área necesita ser mapeada” cuando potencialmente está siendo / ya ha sido mapeada).

Comentarios a través del TM

Aunque esto es posible, no es fácil o intuitivo (y esto se aplica a la retroalimentación / preguntas dirigidas al creador / gerente del proyecto o al propio HOT).

Encontrar mapeadores activos locales a un proyecto no es fácil (especialmente para los nuevos mapeadores)

En la actualidad, se necesitan importantes conocimientos tácitos para poder encontrar colaboradores locales e interactuar con ellos. Aunque se trata de una cuestión más genérica en la que nos gustaría profundizar en un futuro próximo (hay, por supuesto, múltiples herramientas y métodos disponibles para hacerlo), hay poco espacio para ello dentro del propio TM. Sabemos que para algunos mapeadores, el TM es una de sus primeras experiencias en OSM, por lo que ayudarles a integrarse o colaborar con los colaboradores o comunidades existentes dentro de la plataforma podría ser potencialmente beneficioso.

¡Se agradecen opiniones y comentarios!

Por favor, añada cualquier cosa que haya pasado por alto y corrija cualquier error. Una vez que hayamos hecho un poco más de consulta sobre este tema, nosotros (en HOT) podemos mirar si / cómo podríamos tratar lo anterior y cuáles deberían ser las prioridades.

Por cierto, un gran agradecimiento a todos los que me hablaron de esto y me ayudaron a identificar y articular lo anterior, pero especialmente a Rory y Mario por ayudarme a entender los temas específicos de la situación de Panamá. Su tiempo fue muy apreciado.

Potential HOT tasking manager improvements to help new and existing contributors collaborate more effectively

Posted by pedrito1414 on 31 December 2020 in English (English).

Over the past months, I have spoken to a few different people about the friction that can exist when groups of new contributors engage with OpenStreetMap in areas where there is already existing and active community. Whilst the prompt for writing this diary entry has been recent issues in Panama (between a local YouthMappers chapter and a small group of active local mappers), the content isn’t specific only to that situation and has been informed by multiple people across multiple continents (as well as my own experience).

The issue in itself is also not at all new - I remember if from 2014 when we started the Missing Maps project. What is new is that I now work in HOT’s community team and it’s actually my job to try and work out how to grow the OSM community in a way that respects the past and the future of the project and the community.

You may wonder what the situation in Panama has to do with HOT and I think there are two answers to this.

Firstly, we run the HOT instance of the tasking manager (TM). We see the TM as a community asset and, whilst we don’t originate every project on there (for example, in 2020, HOT originated 17% of all published projects), we do develop and maintain the technology as well as providing the workflows and onboarding for people that want to create and manage specific projects. For example, a majority of YM chapters contribute by mapping through the TM (including the Panama chapter who organised local projects to be set up in collaboration with the global YM team).

Secondly, it is HOT’s mission to radically increase quality local map contributions and contributors from across 94 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America / Caribbean over the next five years as part of the Audacious project. We need to be good at making sure that new mappers build on what already exists in collaboration with people and communities already actively engaged in the OSM project and that they are welcomed into those same communities.

So, this diary is about identifying some specific ways in which HOT could improve tasking manager workflows (something firmly within our sphere of influence) to help improve the way we bring new contributors into OSM (and especially those, for whom, the TM is one of their first experiences of OSM) and the way we interact and collaborate with them as experienced contributors and communities.

Potential issues to address / aspects to improve

The below aren’t solutions, but rather a list of issues that, if addressed, could maybe contribute to solving some of the issues raised. Please feel free to add additional ideas in the comments (and ask questions / constructively criticise)!

Tasking manager knowledge and understanding (and documentation?)

It is clear that there are misunderstandings around what the TM is and what the mapping process through it looks like. Multiple misconceptions exist around the origin and ownership of projects, who the tool serves and how accessible it is. There is also a lack of understanding around (or buy in to) the two-stage mapping -> validation process as frustrations arise around new mapper edits (including data being deleted / changesets reverted) before a validation process has had time to take place. This can not only discourage new mappers, but also can stop an important learning process taking place.

Tasking manager transparency - project creators

When the tasking manager was completely open for anyone to build projects in, there was a serious problem with data quality as some projects were poorly described and / or lacked proper instructions and guidance for mappers. HOT adjusted TM policy so that organisations and groups had to register and complete ‘onboarding’ in order to become a project creator (ie. be able to post a new project). Now, through the tasking manager, anyone can find a project’s creator and message them. One issue with the Panama situation was that one staff member from the YM global team is managing all YM’s tasks (currently serving >200 chapters). This makes transparency through the TM difficult as OSM contributors only know who technically implemented the project, not who requested it or is managing it locally.

Room for improvement in ‘social responsibility’ onboarding for project creators / managers

The main focus of onboarding for project creators / managers is technical project implementation - essentially trying to make sure that standards are met and that mappers are able to do what is asked of them in an effective way. Onboarding does cover expectations and skills around; engaging local communities and contributors, responding to questions and info requests, closing out projects, ensuring documentation on the wiki (in the case of organised editing), etc, but it is clear that this aspect of the onboarding could be developed and strenghthened.

Classification of areas of interest (for beginners)

One issue that arose through the Panama situation was that an urban environment was categorised as a beginner project. Current onboarding and guidance for project creators doesn’t support them to make sure that the environment to be mapped is commensurate with the experience of the group of mappers, espercially when there are likely to be many beginners.

Project documentation not well integrated / emphasised

Regardless of the quality of the project documentation on the OSM wiki (a convention established in the organised editing guidelines), the TM project template / onboarding process does not emphasise the importance of documentation or link to it if it is available.

TM projects don’t always get closed out

Inactive (or barely active) projects can ‘hang around’ on the TM for a long time, meaning data in OSM can be incomplete across the area of interest. This can also cause issues if other editing work is starting in the same / overlapping areas. Also, the longer a project is open, the harder it becomes to find the people who were involved in requesting / creating it.

TM projects can overlap (each other or projects in other TM instances)

There is currently no way of knowing or efficiently checking whether other projects in the HOT TM or in other instances of the tasking manager overlap an area of interest. This means that it is theoretically possible (and occassionally occurs) that multiple projects draw different groups of mappers to contribute data for the same area (basically saying to mappers, “this area needs mapping” when it potentially is being / has already been mapped).

Feedback through the TM

Whilst this is possible, it is not easy or intuitive (and this applies to feedback / questions directed to the project creator / manager or to HOT itself).

Finding active mappers local to a project is not easy (especially for new mappers)

Currently, there is significant tacit knowledge needed to be able to be able to find local contributors and interact with them. Whilst this is a more generic issue that we would like to dive deeper into in the near future (there are, of course, multiple tools and methods available to do this), there is little space given to this within the TM itself. We know that for some mappers, the TM is one of their first experiences of OSM, so helping them to integrate into / collaborate with existing contributors / communities within the platform could potentially be of benefit.

Feedback welcome!

Please feel free to add anything I have missed and correct anything I have wrong. Once we have done a bit more consultation on this topic, we (at HOT) can look at if / how we might go about addressing the above and what the priorities should be.

BTW, a big thanks to everyone who spoke to me about this and helped me to identify and articulate the above, but especially Rory and Mario for helping me understand the specific issues from the Panama situation. Your time was much appreciated.

Community conversations: 'community' and 'sustainability' perspectives

Posted by pedrito1414 on 20 November 2020 in English (English).

A group of HOT voting members, from across four continents) met on Tuesday evening as part of the HOT board’s strategy committee to discuss perspectives on community definitions and what we mean when we talk about community sustainability. These conversations are really pertinent at the moment as HOT begins to develop and implement the Audacious project, which provides a real opportunity to support local communities to power up as well as generate high quality OSM data in 94 countries.

The first question: What is HOT?

It was acknowledged that HOT is many different things to different people. It was thought to both be a network or community (including volunteers and contributors, staff, humanitarian data users) and a node in other networks (where it was felt that HOT sometimes plays an important facilitation role). It was also suggested to be a (niche) social network, used for finding and developing information, knowledge, tools and relationships.

It was also perceived as a sub-community of the OpenStreetMap and as an NGO.

Whilst there were many positive attributes associated with HOT (diverse, collaborative, oriented to social good), it was also felt that HOT was sometimes a label applied too easily to contributors and communities in its networks, without thought for how they might define themselves. For example, the use of the phrase ‘HOT community’ to encompass any group doing humanitarian work involving OSM (or ‘HOT edits’ for any OSM contributions through the Tasking Manager) can be perceived as HOT staking an undeserved claim over the work of others and not indicative of a collaborative node in a network.

Outputs from the discussion of the question, what is HOT

The second question: What is the / an OSM community?

There was less discussion around this question. Partly, because the group seemed fairly aligned on the definition but also, partly because of my poor phrasing of the question. ‘What is a local OSM community?’ would have been a more accurate question and this was probably a missed opportunity.

In its broadest sense, the definition was contributors and users of OpenStreetMap data but it was agreed that within this definition a myriad of communities and special interest groups exist.

Outputs from the discussion of the question, what is an / the OSM community

The third and fourth questions: What scope of community development should the Audacious project support over the next five years and what should we mean when we talk about ‘sustainability’ of communities?

I group these together because the discussions overlapped to a large degree.

There was a strong alignment that Audacious should prioritise support to communities who wanted to use OSM to solve local problems, regardless of whether they were already affiliated to OSM, HOT or other actors in the network.

It was also broadly agreed that priority should be given to supporting existing communities and organisations in trying to solve these problems as this would also lead to greater chance of sustainability in the medium-long term.

It was suggested that data collection or generation needed to take place on the terms of the communities involved in order that it was, firstly, useful and, secondly, sustainable. In the same vein, support to communities should help them develop the power to innovate and evolve in whatever way they see fit (masters of their own OSM destinies).

Data users came up as important in both discussions in the sense that, without an ecosystem in which OSM data was used and valued locally, it could be unlikely that use of OSM would be sustained in the long term (demand being important as well as the supply).

Economic benefits were also discussed, with professional opportunities related to OSM, open data and GIS highlighted as a potential major driver for individuals (e.g. professionals and entrepreneurs) and collectives (e.g. local NGOs, community-based organisations and startups), especially acknowledging that, in the areas where the Audacious project will be focus, unemployment and poverty are significant and interlocking issues.

There was alignment that, for the Audacious project to be successful, tools, systems, networks, strategies, etc need to be grounded in a networked, community approach and not reliant on HOT (the NGO) by the end of the five years (i.e. the term of the Audacious project).

Finally, it was expressed that people involved need to be inspired and excited through engaging with OSM and humanitarian OpenStreetMap communities and networks if they are to continue to develop the OSM project and their part in it!

Outputs from the discussion of the question, what communities should the Audacious project support?

Outputs from the discussion of the question, what does 'sustainability' mean in the Audacious project support?

This was a small group conversation and only the start of this particular conversation. The next iteration will hopefully be hosted by the community working group (to be discussed at next week’s meeting). In the meantime, happy to hear comments, questions, constructive criticisms and alternative points of view.

Running for the HOT board again - Pete Masters candidate statement

Posted by pedrito1414 on 19 June 2019 in English (English). Last updated on 30 June 2019.

I am just finishing my first two-year board term for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and am running for another two years. This diary is written to tell HOT voting members why, so that they can decide whether to vote for me or not…

Priorities for another term

Having spent the last couple of years meeting and talking to people, reading documentation, attending board meetings and discussing ideas and issues, I have a much better understanding of where we are strong as an organisation and should double down and where we are weak and perhaps need to focus more. These perspectives have some very pragmatic implications in terms of where I would prioritise my time if I were re-elected… I would like to take you through the top two of those priorities…

Firstly, I’d like to make sure that HOT strengthens the expertise and skills necessary at board level for an organisation of its size and ambition. Secondly, I’d like to contribute to a movement within HOT to reconnect the organisation with its members, creating more opportunities for meaningful contribution from the diverse communities they represent.

Strengthening our governance

On the priority number one, we have already started to take concrete steps towards recruiting an advisory board. This idea was first floated years ago and when I joined the board I was actually against it. I thought that it would move HOT away from its model of community governance. Now, I don’t - I think having a strong advisory board will allow our community-elected board to be more focused on leveraging data and mapping to support people in crisis and the HOT community itself.

We know that we have skills / knowledge gaps on the board - finance and legal being two obvious ones - and it is not surprising. HOT voting membership tends to attract mappers or techies or community organisers, rather than accountants and lawyers. I would like to see through the recruitment of the right people to the right advisory positions and work out how we structure ourselves and the work we have committed to doing, so that they can best contribute to HOT’s mission.

Changing how we engage as members

On priority two, I feel like the work done by the strategic working group last year was really great and that so many people turned up to contribute was excellent! However, beyond that piece of work and voting in elections like this, we are very quiet as a membership.

I feel strongly that if HOT is to remain community-led and open-first and to continue to hold voluntary contribution to be central to who we are, we need to change how we do things. These characteristics are just words if we as members feel less and less engaged or that there are less and less ways to contribute meaningfully.

I know that others feel the same and I would like to contribute to the work to reverse this trend and represent that work as a priority at board level.

Next two years

I believe I have served HOT well as a board member so far… I remain a proud humanitarian who sees the good that HOT, our partners and the wider OpenStreetMap community do in the field and an active member of the Missing Maps community in the UK. I believe we can do better at doing things differently as an NGO, bringing the value of open data, innovation and community to impact on serious humanitarian work.

Let’s talk about how and get working together on this.

Running for the HOT board

Posted by pedrito1414 on 29 March 2017 in English (English).

Hi all, my name is Pete Masters and I am the outgoing Missing Maps coordinator at MSF UK (I change jobs in a few weeks).

I would like to be considered as a HOT board member because I have a lot of respect and admiration for what HOT does in the humanitarian sphere and I think my skills, experience and networks can be of value to HOT on a strategic level. For me, it represents a chance to contribute to a community that I have come to be very proud of in a different way. This would be my first board position and I am eager to prove to myself and to the community that I can operate at this level and help to take HOT forward.

In my eyes, the future of HOT is very interesting. On the one hand, local communities are growing strong in places where previously HOT would have been only mapping remotely. The size and diversity of the community behind the first State of the Map Africa this year is testament to this growth. On the other hand, NGOs, large and small, are coming to rely more and more on OSM data and HOT through activations, and initiatives like Missing Maps. These are serious organisations with short timelines and specific needs. In my opinion, HOT must continue to walk the line between these two vital elements; the bottom-up, grassroots communities and the top-down, humanitarian actors. I do not have the answers to how HOT does this, but I believe I have some good ideas.

The most important in my eyes, and the one I would like to discuss here, is credibility, and this works both ways.

For the NGOs, HOT’s activations, both emergency and long term must be impact-focused and appropriate. This means providing data that meets the needs of the situation in a timely fashion. We will need to better able to understand and translate operational needs, prioritise mapping, mobilise resources and motivate current and new community members and mappers effectively. I think my experience with MSF can help HOT to do this. Over the past two and a half years, being the bridge between an extremely operationally-focused NGO and a volunteer community has been my job and translating what an epidemiologist or a logistician or an emergency team needs into mapping projects has been my day-to-day. Through this, I have learnt the importance of understanding of where limitations of humanitarian mapping lie and how expectations need to be managed.

On the other side, I believe HOT needs to stay true to its roots and HOT’s roots are in community. The community members and the mappers should be an integral part of what HOT is. This means supporting people to be more proactive in their engagement with the mapping, but also with the decision making. At the heart of this should be information flow. Too often I feel that a lot is asked of the community without them necessarily being offered much in return. For me, the best Missing Maps collaborations have happened where MSF has been able to externalise a problem it faces, volunteers have felt empowered to add value to the medical care being delivered in the field, and where that value has been reported back quickly. I feel I have been able to instill this successfully in the culture of Missing Maps (although improvement is always possible) and would look forward to putting this experience and my background in communications and community building at the disposal of HOT to help try and make this happen at a broader level.

To be honest, whether as a board member or not, I look forward to a long relationship to HOT. I love being a part of this community and love the conversations (easy and hard) that come with it.

I apologise for the brevity and lateness of this post. I have been on the road with MSF for a few weeks now and have only just found the time…. In the interests of transparency, it is important to note that my new job will also be with MSF (as Medical Innovation Advisor).

Feedback from MSF in Chad

Posted by pedrito1414 on 21 July 2016 in English (English).

Just a quick post as I got some nice feedback from an MSF epidemiologist in Chad for everyone who took part in mapping of HOT project 2015 (Missing Maps / Hadjer Lamis).

Hi Pete,

I have gone through the maps and they are really detailed, thanks a lot! We are basically doing a nutritional survey with local surveyors that probably have never used a smartphone or GPS technology before. So these maps will really allow them to more easily locate the randomly generated GPS points corresponding to the households they need to include in the survey. Please thank on my behalf the people who have produced the maps!! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Best regards, Susana

She has also requested the mapping of three more villages, so if you have any time to help, it would be much appreciated. The new project for these villages is #2036

MapSwipe: Coming soon...

Posted by pedrito1414 on 13 July 2016 in English (English).

Sorry, I published that by mistake!

Full post coming soon….

London mapathons: switching the emphasis to JOSM

Posted by pedrito1414 on 12 May 2016 in English (English). Last updated on 14 May 2016.

There has been a lot of chat on the HOT list about validation and a lot of that has focused around tools that new mappers use. It is obviously tiresome for validators to be squaring buildings endlessly or dealing with validation issues that would have been picked up by the original mapper at the touch of a button in JOSM, but that are invisible for those using iD.

In response, we have decided to start trying to work out better and quicker ways of moving people to JOSM at the London Missing Maps mapathons.

Tweet from dekstop

The first try at this happened in May. Using the eventbrite system to register participants to certain categories of ability has been our modus operandi for a while, so we simply upped the percentage of places available to those who wanted to learn JOSM and reduced the iD places. We also emailed ahead to our JOSM-experienced mappers to ask if they would mind making an effort to sit with, and support, the newbies.

Robert led an impressive, three hour walk through that mappers could dip in and out of and answered specific questions as he went.

From chatting to people there, not as much actual mapping was done. Despite asking all people to download and install the software before they came, there was still a fair amount of troubleshooting to do in this respect. We will see how the validating goes on the task we tackled. Feedback from validators looking at this task more than welcome!

I’d also love to hear from others organising mapathons where JOSM is the primary tool and from new mappers who have learnt to edit OSM with JOSM, or a combination of JOSM and iD. How did it work for you? What kind of training or resources worked best? What elements of the tool is it important to learn first? Any other comment?

Looking forward to taking this further…

End of year shout out to the Missing Maps hosts and organisers!

Posted by pedrito1414 on 10 December 2015 in English (English).

This diary is dedicated to all the people who have organised mapping parties on behalf of the Missing Maps project this year.

When I started working on Missing Maps for MSF (before it even had a name), I was nervous that the idea wouldn’t take off in the way we needed it to - after all, we have some pretty lofty ambitions! The first Missing Maps mapping party had me worried - would we fill a room that could hold fifty people?

A few short months later and we are complaining because we can’t find London venues big enough to meet the demand of people wanting to map!

First Missing Maps London party

So, then I started to worry that other people wouldn’t want to organise their own mapathons. We needed the mapping parties to take off globally in order to tackle tasks of the magnitude of South Kivu in Congo (DRC). And, here is where my job has been a real pleasure this past year.

In the past year, we have seen mapping parties organised across six continents, involving all sorts of people and the impact this has had on what we want to do has been tremendous! I know that statistics are sometimes meaningless out of context, but until today, 5,370 volunteers have committed nearly 16 million map changes to OSM in countries like DRC, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Haiti, CAR, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sierra Leone and many, many more as part of Missing Maps.

Again and again, I hear and see NGOs, such as MSF, using maps that include OSM data in their operational decision making, their logistical planning, their disaster risk reduction programming and their epidemiological analysis. Much of this data has come from Missing Maps and HOT volunteers and a lot of it has come from people at mapping parties.

Mapping at a mapthon

So, a huge thanks to all of you mapping party hosts for all the organising and advertising and teaching and follow up! Looking forward to working with you all in 2016!

A few special mentions (and far from comprehensive as I don’t have direct contact with everyone that organises these events)…. The London HOT / Missing Maps gang who I am so happy to be a part of, the fabulous OSM Bangladesh community, the Friends of MSF student groups, The Engineers Without Borders crew in Norway, the Scottish OSM and Missing Maps guys (probably the most prolific mapping party organisers I know), and everyone involved in OSMGeoWeek on the #100mapathons campaign (I think we got to 70, which is incredible).

And, a very last special mention to the lads and lasses from MapLesotho. Loving your work, guys - inspirational stuff!

Virtual invite to London for HOT validators

Posted by pedrito1414 on 3 November 2015 in English (English).

It is the monthly London Missing Maps / HOT mapping party tonight.

For a while now, we have had a table or two at each mapathon where people can sit if they want to learn to validate. And, with much thanks to the HOT / OSM stalwarts who have sat with them each month, we now have a gang of new validators.

Some of the London validator community

We identified validation early on as something we would have to address with the mapping parties in London. We are bringing a lot of new mappers to the table and they aren’t necessarily coming via HOT or OSM. They are, essentially, humanitarians, who have a desire to do something, rather than just donate something. HOT and Missing Maps is a perfect fit, but they are mapping novices.

Our community of validators are now doing great stuff helping guide the newbies and ensure some quality control.

What we’d like to start doing now is connecting our London validators up with the wider community of HOT validators. So, tonight we’d like to invite any validators out there to join us. We will introduce our validators that don’t know to mumble and hope to have an ongoing chat between those in the room and those joining remotely.

Our hope is that they will enrich the validator community within HOT and also provide our new validators with some contacts who can help them as they learn.

The event details are here and you can sign up as a remote validator

Mapping starts at 1830, but we might be a bit late getting the validators set up on mumble as we usually prioritise onboarding the new people.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

Feedback from MSF in Doro Refugee Camp

Posted by pedrito1414 on 11 September 2015 in English (English).

Just wanted to feed back on the remote mapping that HOT / Missing Maps volunteers did in response to an MSF team based in Doro refugee camp in South Sudan (see the map on reliefweb, here). The message below arrived this week from Guido, an MSF epidemiologist who has just returned from South Sudan.

I don’t think I have anything to add other than well done and thank you! It’s great to see your work at work for NGOs in the field….

Dear Pete, this is Guido, MSF epidemiologist in South Sudan. Greetings from Juba!

We don’t know each other but I realize we have been recently in the same loop of communications about MSF project in Doro Refugee Camp, Maban.

Actually, I am just back from Doro where I have been conducting a multi-antigen vaccination coverage survey.

I am writing today because I lately understood that the map that I received in preparation of my survey was actually developed by you and the Missing Map Project Team.

So, I would like to let you know a bit about the survey, and, above all, thank you for your job, since the map was really valuable to us. Actually, I used the map as a basis to prepare the survey: to locate villages (they call “villages” the different parts of the camp, since they relate to the villages of origin in Sudan), to understand the real distribution and presence of people together with the Health Promotion team and to allocate clusters to villages. Basically, it served for the first stage of clustering and it allowed us to save a lot of time in getting a clear picture of the setting; moreover, I felt it was good to let HP team to visualize what they already knew by heart.

In the end, we had to add a few more villages and to account for some recent movements (occurred earlier this year). Then, I admit I was lucky enough to work with Health Promoters, who knew the camp very well and this actually eased the final data collection (i.e. once we had allocated the specific number of clusters to villages, they moved autonomously in the camp… we applied the EPI method and easily accessed all areas).

*Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the teams working since I was advised not to take pictures in the camp… actually, it was not allowed. Nonetheless, I just took a couple of pics of my copy of the map and of a larger copy that I drew on a flip-chart for training purposed. Directly from the field. *

So, this is how it went. I would like to say thhttp://reliefweb.int/map/south-sudan/south-sudan-upper-nile-state-maban-county-doro-camp-communities-and-places-interestat I hope we may stay in touch and we may have soon another opportunity to exchange. In this case, it will be my pleasure to come back to you ahead of time and reasonate together over some maps according to operational needs.

Please, give my best to the Team and thank you very much to you all, again.

Best regards, Guido

The map being used in the field by MSF

Microtasking from Disaster Mappers - help needed

Posted by pedrito1414 on 17 July 2015 in English (English). Last updated on 3 August 2015.

As part of the planning for mapping South Kivu, the Disaster Mappers (and particularly a guy called Benni) have been developing a new microtasking platform for identifying human settlements and road networks before we go anywhere near the tasking manager.

This has been designed for two reasons. Firstly, so mappers don’t have to spend hours scanning through the many, many, many square kilometres of jungle that exist in the province. The second is that, by using a much simpler tool for recognition of features, we hope to be able to engage a whole new audience of collaborators. People that might not want to learn iD - or might only have five minutes to spend. If they can do this painstaking work in a relatively easy (and fun?) way, it leaves mappers to… well, map.

Benni’s first try at this was great, but we knew it could be better. We sent it out to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team list and got some great feedback.

screenshot of the v2 pybossa microtasking platform

Now there is a version 2. Benni says he has taken this about as far as his skills allow and is asking for help to finish it off. If anyone is interested in collaborating on this, please get in touch by leaving a comment or by tweeting at Missing Maps.

Benni has left some comments on what he has done and the challenges he needs help solving on the original feedback form. Source code available via dropbox, here or on github, here.

How did this London Missing Maps party not end up totally chaotic?

Posted by pedrito1414 on 8 July 2015 in English (English).

Yesterday’s Missing Maps party in London looked like it was going to be completely chaotic. Both Astrid (who organises the mapping parties) and I had been on holiday til the day before and the new MSF office (which we only moved into a little while ago) was only ready for us to move around about ten minutes before we started.

But, by 1820 (twenty minutes after start time) all that could be heard was the clicking of mice and the low level buzz of excited, whispered conversations…

The iD room. Photo by Harry Wood

How did it go so smoothly when the opposite was looming?

Chatting with Astrid later, we came to the following conclusions, which I want to share here…

Firstly, our Missing Maps community in London is committed and engaged. Many people come back on a regular basis and friendships and sub-communities are forming. So cool to see groups forming around certain tasks, such as supporting Carmen, who is field mapping with the OSM Bangladesh guys or helping Rupert get the field paper data he and Kieran gathered with local mappers in Epworth, Zimbabwe on to OSM.

Secondly, we made the discovery that if you split people up by experience and by what they want to achieve (we had four rooms: iD for beginners, JOSM for beginners, experienced JOSMers and validators-in-training), the conversation flows, the people in each room are much more able to support each other and peer training really works.

Lastly, our HOTties from London (and nearby) are great. Each room had a HOTty in there, responsible for leading and advising. So, as soon as people turned up, they got comfortable, knew who to ask for help and could get rolling with no fuss at all. When we have everyone in one big room, it certainly looks more impressive, but people are less confident asking questions and HOTties often end up answering the same questions countless times.

Of course there are other reasons (the wifi didn’t crumble, the pizza turned up on time etc), but for those looking to put on large scale mapathons (about 70-80 people last night), I hope this helps…

Tasking manager for field data

Posted by pedrito1414 on 15 June 2015 in English (English).

Just a musing on a tasking manager software, but for field data instead of tracing.

With the amount of data we are expecting to come back from the Soputh Kivu mapping, we need better tools and processes for getting it into OSM

If this rings bells with anyone, please feel free to get in touch…

Field data tasking manager concept

The need:

So far Missing Maps field data editing and uploading is fairly randomly done, using a combination of wiki pages, data in dropbox folders, scanned field papers.

On a small scale, this can be effective (and has been). However, as we start to get more and more data back from the field, and as field data becomes a normal part of mapathons / armchair mapping, this model doesn’t scale well.

It relies far too much on the person managing the project being present to explain the data and the system for uploading it. It also relies on individuals to carefully document how much of the data they took responsibility for they actually edited / uploaded.

The / One solution:

The HOT tasking manager is a great example of how software can solve problems in a crowdsourcing / microtasking environment. Whilst there is always room for improvement, its fundamental raison d’etre means that large tasks can be worked on collaboratively by many individuals at the same time.

One solution to the scaling of editing of field data is a task manager for field data that chunks up geographical areas and then presents data relevant to that area, whilst providing instructions on purpose and process.

What would this look like?

The user signs in and elects a task. The task displays with instructions and purpose. The user chooses a square from a grid. The TM displays the types of data availabkle in that square. The user then confirms their choice and locks it or chooses an alternative square.

One the square is confirmed the current OSM data for that area is displayed on the screen.

Also displayed are the types of data that are available for that square (this could be gpx, odk shapes, field papers, OpenMapKit). The user chooses the data type and it displays as a layer. The user then begins to add the data that he/she has been instructed to add.

If the user finds the object to be added (ie a building) is already in the OSM data set, he/she adds the relevant tags and saves. If the building does not exist already, the user uses imagery to try to locate it. If successful he/she adds the object and tags and saves. If the object still cannot be found, the user flags the object for further investigation, filling out a short comment. This comment is then communicated to the manager of that task.

If the user finds/creates the object but has problems tagging, s/he flags the object for further investigation, filling out a short comment. This comment is then communicated to the manager of that task.

Possible workflow for a field data tasking manager

If the user finishes editing / uploading a particular data set (eg gpx), then s/he can mark this as done. Then, the user can either move on to a different set of data or unlock the square. If s/he finishes all the data for the square, then s/he marks the square done. If the user finishes their session without completing a data set, they unlock and add a comment.

Missing Maps data in action (Burundi Crisis)

Posted by pedrito1414 on 9 June 2015 in English (English).

Just a quick note to say well done to everyone who contributed to Missing Maps task #1068.

Data contributed by you in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp is now being used by NGOs within the camp. The image below is a map of the camp, made by MSF and featured on reliefweb.

Map of Nyarugusu Refugee Camp