OpenStreetMap

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…

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