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Mhairi O'Hara

Voting Member


Mhairi started out with HOT as a technical project manager back in 2015 and is delighted to see it grow larger and evolve with each passing month. Mhairi has lead numerous projects focusing on research, technology, data creation and community development. These include the GFDRR Challenge Fund, the UK Space Agency METEOR initiative, the HOT Export Tool development and the USAID funded InAWARE programme in Indonesia. Receiving her Masters degree in Geographical Information Science from the University of Edinburgh, Mhairi focused her research on the modelling of historical lava flows at Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. She completed her Bachelors degree in Geography at King’s College London, focusing on the development of urban landscapes and the impact of natural hazards on cities. She has also spent time with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on the Big Island and worked on WASH solutions in Turkana, Northern Kenya. Growing up all over the world, it was her time in Fiji and Indonesia that nurtured her interest in natural hazards. She continues to travel, and loves meeting new people and having new experiences. She would say she has a healthy obsession of volcanoes, surfing, food, gaming and anime, in addition to promoting the use open source and open data for humanitarian mapping. She is passionate about personally engaging with individuals, sharing skills, and community driven projects. Helping HOT develop the tools that transcend technical ability, language barriers and financial status, is at the heart of her work. Mhairi believes everyone has a right to have access to information and tools to empower themselves and take on issues they deem most prevalent in their local environment. Providing the tools and sharing skills with local citizens to participate and apply OSM to their own initiatives is just a small way in which she can support the world as we work together towards the SDGs.


Export Tool Updates: New OSM Datasets for Countries on HDX and More

We've updated the Export Tool! It's now even easier to deliver critical OpenStreetMap data into the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), and the hands of the organizations that use it, faster than ever. The update offers new export features, and captures how people are using it, so we can further tailor it to users' needs.

16 February, 2020

How We're Making it Easier for Humanitarians to Use OpenStreetMap Data

At HOT, we’re constantly looking to improve our tools to address user needs and help OpenStreetMap data be delivered in the right format at the right time. In July we started a new round of software development on the Export Tool to continue to help humanitarian partners get the data they need. We continue to update and develop the Export Tool as we attempt to provide our users with the best possible experience and answer a wider variety of their needs.

13 August, 2019

An approach to field data collection in Kathmandu

Guest blog by Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs. Covering the collection process carried out by the team for surveying exposure data in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal as part of the METEOR project.

3 April, 2019

Digitising Kathmandu from above

Guest blog by Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs. Covering the digitisation process carried out by the team for mapping building footprints in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal as part of the METEOR project.

13 December, 2018

METEOR: Site Visits with Kathmandu Living Labs in Nepal

HOT and KLL set out on site visits across Kathmandu to assess the homogenous zones identified for mapping in OpenStreetMap. These seven zones have been identified as rural, residential, dense residential, urban, industrial, informal, high urban and new industrial. KLL will remotely digitise all the building footprints within the homogenous zones, before collecting detailed attribute information on the ground for a select sample of these buildings.

20 November, 2018

Export Tool | 04 Applying Exported Data

This blog is the final in a series of ‘Learn Export Tool’ posts following the launch of the revamped tool on the 18th September 2017 and will share some examples of how OSM data can be used through the Export Tool. The first blog of the series was on ‘Selecting Area of Interest’, the second focused on ‘Data File Formats’ and the third looked at ‘Customising Map Features’.

25 October, 2017

Export Tool | 03 Customise Map Features

This blog is the third in a series of ‘Learn Export Tool’ posts and focuses on how to customise the OSM map features for export. Following the launch of the revamped tool on the 18th September 2017, the first Learn blog focused on ‘Selecting Area of Interest’, the second focused on ‘Data File Formats’ and the last will look at examples of ‘Applying Exported Data’.

10 October, 2017

Export Tool | 02 Data File Formats

This blog is the second in a series of ‘Learn Export Tool’ posts and focuses on the file formats available for OSM data to be converted to. Following the launch of the revamped tool on the 18th September 2017, the first Learn blog focused on ‘Selecting Area of Interest’. The other two posts to follow in the series will cover how to ‘Customise Map Features’ and examples of ‘Applying Exported Data’.

3 October, 2017

Export Tool | 01 Selecting Area of Interest

This blog focuses on how to 'Select Area of Interest', and is the first in a series of ‘Learn Export Tool’ posts following the launch of the revamped tool on the 18th September 2017. Three more blogs in the series will cover the different available ‘Data File Formats’, how to ‘Customise Map Features’ and examples of ‘Applying Exported Data’.

25 September, 2017

Export Tool 3.0 Launched

Version 3 of the Export Tool officially LAUNCHED on 18th September 2017. The new version is now hosted at, with Version 2 available at till mid November 2017, when it will be shut down.

19 September, 2017

OpenStreetMap on the Humanitarian Data Exchange

The Export Tool is now pushing customised OpenStreetMap (OSM) data through to the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform. Buildings, points of interest, roads and waterways datasets for the countries of Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali are now available as SHP, GPKG, IMG and KML files. The integration tool, nicknamed OSM2HDX has the ability to automate data updates at set intervals and allows the administrators to select any country for export.

19 May, 2017

Next Generation HOT Export Tool - Version 3

The HOT Export Tool allows users to create custom OpenStreetMap (OSM) exports for various regions, by specifying an area of interest and a list of features. Within minutes, up-to-date OSM data is extracted for the area and filtered based on the selected features before it is converted from the native PBF file into other data formats. The Export Tool is currently undergoing renewed development to provide the OSM community with a tool to meet their data extraction needs. Numerous feature enhancements have been requested and an overall update to the software will improve its performance.

17 March, 2017

OpenStreetMap Workshop at The Pacific GIS and Remote Sensing Conference (University of the South Pacific)

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) community in the Pacific Islands is small but growing. This year, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) held an OSM workshop as...

16 December, 2016

Kickoff of HOT's Participation with the InAWARE Programme

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s (HOT) participation in the InAWARE program kicked-off last week with stakeholder workshops in Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia. The Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) graciously hosted the event at their headquarters, which was lead by the Pacific Disaster Centre (PDC) and attended by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Disaster Management Innovation (DMI), HOT and various other stakeholders.

30 July, 2016

Ecuador Earthquake: Assessing the Extent of Damaged Buildings

Efforts are still going strong 7 weeks after the initial earthquake struck Ecuador on the 16th April close to the towns of Muisne and Pedernales, with HOT transitioning from the 1st stage of mapping focused on pre-event data to the 2nd stage, a pilot project aimed at mapping building damage and temporary shelters.

3 June, 2016

Ecuador Earthquake: Day 16 Update

We want to highlight the amazing work done to date by the wonderful volunteers mappers of OpenStreetMap, with 2,300 individuals making close to 3 million map changes with the associated #MappingEcuador changeset comment.

4 May, 2016

Ecuador Earthquake: Day 7 Update

by Mhairi O'Hara, Tyler Radford As of the 22nd of April there have been over a million and a half changes made to OpenStreetMap...

22 April, 2016

Commence - Mapping Financial Services Training

The Mapping Financial Inclusion in Uganda project is truly underway as we enter our second week of training in Mbale, Uganda. HOT is currently at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) introducing 30 local students to various open source tools with the assistance of students from Makerere University. There will be two days of training before we head out into the field on Wednesday to start mapping the district of Mbale.

11 January, 2016

Hewlett Foundation Grant Summary | Ebola Epidemic Response

Inspired by our response to the West Africa Ebola epidemic, a grant was generously made by the Hewlett Foundation to HOT in late 2014. This funding was aimed at improving the ability of HOT to fulfill its large scale and long running Ebola response, as well as have the capacity to respond to future events. It was determined by the community that the grant be divided and focus on three projects, addressing the development of the online tools Field Papers and the Export Tool, as well as building the numbers of Activation Coordinators.

19 November, 2015

Old Export Tool Moving to HOT Servers as Read-Only Copy

  As the new Export Tool has been successfully rolled out, the earlier version is to be switched off as it is held on the GeoFabrik...

4 November, 2015

Eastern Afghanistan Earthquake Day 2

Since the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) officially activated on the 27th October, the team has been working hard to evaluate the mapping needs in response to the Eastern Afghanistan earthquake. There are two Tasking Manager projects set up in an effort to map key affected areas.

29 October, 2015

The new OSM Export Tool is Live

The newly developed Export Tool is now LIVE. Please register with your OSM username and explore some of the new functionality, such as the use of...

6 October, 2015

Outreachy Presentation | HOT OSM Round 10

The HOT OSM participants of round 10 of the Outreachy program will be presenting their work through Google Hangout on Air today, followed by...

1 October, 2015

Beta Release of the Redeveloped Export Tool

The new Export Tool  was released for its Beta phase on Friday the 18th of September. We have had great input from the community during the...

23 September, 2015

Alpha Release of the Redeveloped Export Tool

The Alpha release of the new Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team OSM Export Tool takes place today. Please help us iron out any bugs or oversights...

31 August, 2015

End of the Outreachy Program Round 10

Round 10 of the Outreachy program has come to an end! Running for three months, from the 25th May till the 25th of August,...

27 August, 2015

Pilot Workshops - HOT Activation Curriculum

HOT has been developing an 'Activation' training curriculum over the last several months in order to build and improve the skills of it's 'Activators'....

23 July, 2015

The New Field Papers Site is Live!

The new Field Papers site has been live for over a week now, as it was successfully launched on the 28th of May. Thanks to the team at Stamen Design in conjunction with co-funding from the Hewlett Foundation through the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, the tool has been re-vamped to become stable and more international. Field Papers has been optimised for multiple languages, which include but are not limited to Deutsch, Español, Français, Bahasa Indonesia, Italiano, 日本語, کوردی, Nederlands, Português, and Kiswahili. Please contribute towards the internationalisation and translation of Field Papers by visiting the Transifex project and joining the team of your desired language.

5 June, 2015

A Warm Welcome to the Outreachy HOT Interns

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community would like to welcome the new round of Outreachy interns! The program, originally known as the Outreach Program for Women (OPW) is aimed at helping individuals from under represented groups get involved in free and open source software. Starting the 25th of May, four enthusiastic and highly driven students will embark on their projects within the community, assisted by their mentors to tackle a number of key issues related to HOT and OSM.

18 May, 2015

Working Groups