In year 2015, 344 disasters triggered by natural hazards were reported worldwide, affecting 108 countries and nearly 142 million people. That’s 344 times that local communities and organizations, local and national governments, and international organizations needed geographic information on the affected area to inform a rapid and effective response. Unfortunately, there are still many places across the world which lack this basic geographic information, remaining unmapped.
Detailed maps give individuals, organizations and governments’ information to support them in planning DRR activities and preparing for crises. Detailed maps also help humanitarian response actors to get aid where it is needed most, by helping to understand the population size and density, as well as identify and address logistical challenges. Efforts are being made to address the lack of maps in the most neglected places.
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is a global NGO that creates and provides digital and print maps to address the world’s toughest challenges. In times of crisis and natural disaster, HOT rallies a network of volunteers to rapidly produce maps relied upon by humanitarian relief organizations to reach those in need.
A common question about aid is, does it work? In some cases, yes, but not always. Unfortunately, nothing in life is that straightforward. When someone external comes in to do the work and eventually returns home, they leave with the skills and knowledge of the project as well, so how is this sustainable? We believe initiatives carried out by community members, not only provides local knowledge, which instantly enhances the project, but the skills and knowledge associated with the project remain in the area and continue to be applied.
Micro grants are a way to support local champions of open geo-spatial data (maps), community organizing and an open source software tool chain and building OpenStreetMap from the ground up every step of the way. Many local OSM community builders face obstacles that can be difficult to imagine but they are succeeding in turning OpenStreetMap into a global, open map of the world every day.
Your donation regardless how big or small, is needed urgently to map the world’s most vulnerable and least mapped places through Micro grants, before the next disaster. 100% of each Micro grant donation goes to a local leader who is transforming their country by filling in critical data gaps. Your donation will help provide the basic necessities to these leaders, in the forms of micro-grants. Micro-grants will cover the basic costs of mapping additional villages and cities by paying for things like transportation, equipment, internet, printing, and more.
By contrast with the starry-eyed Silicon Valley evangelists who often claim their technologies have changed the world, we see the process of filling in the gaps of the maps as providing a humbler service to humanity.
“We are not trying to claim that this map is saving a kid’s life. It’s just not true,”
“Doctors, nurses and aid workers save kids’ lives. These maps help them do their jobs better.”