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Rebecca Firth

StaffExecutive Director


Rebecca is the Executive Director of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). HOT is an international team dedicated to humanitarian action and community development through open mapping. HOT’s vision is a world where community needs are addressed through mapping, everyone can access and contribute to the map, and open map data is available and used for impact.

Before stepping into the role of Executive Director, Rebecca served as Interim Executive Director and Senior Director of Strategy & Program. In that role, Rebecca managed HOT’s Community, Partnerships, and Communications activities, and oversaw HOT’s global expansion into four Regional Open Mapping Hubs (Asia Pacific, Eastern & Southern Africa, West & Northern Africa, Latin America & Caribbean). She has worked to improve HOT’s capabilities to provide longer-term capacity building for OpenStreetMap communities through training and microgrants, grow OpenStreetMap use amongst NGOs and other partners, and share HOT’s message globally with new volunteers and partners. Rebecca also led HOT’s Audacious Project application in 2020, including delivering a TED Talk.

Rebecca joined HOT in 2016 after working in digital and innovation consulting at Accenture. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Geography from the University of Cambridge UK, where she focused on international development. She has lived and worked in Borneo, Japan, Colombia, and Peru, focusing on public health, education, disaster reduction, and organizational operations. Rebecca currently resides in London, UK.


Rebecca Firth on Becoming HOT's Executive Director

I am thrilled to share with all of you the incredible news that I have been appointed as the new Executive Director at Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) starting today.

1 June, 2023

Declaraciones de Rebecca Firth al convertirse en directora ejecutiva de HOT

Estoy encantada de compartir con todos ustedes la increíble noticia de que he sido nombrada nueva Directora Ejecutiva del Equipo Humanitario de OpenStreetMap (HOT) a partir de hoy.

1 June, 2023

Introducing the HOT Community Team

Over the past few months, HOT has assembled a six-person community team to support humanitarian OpenStreetMap community growth across 94 countries. Meet the members and welcome them to the HOT staff team.

8 January, 2021

Covid-19 Pandemic in Peru: Mapping Health Implications

As Peru struggles with the impacts of Covid-19, HOT and GAL Group are helping public health officials at all levels of government plan how to support communities by mapping rural and vulnerable populations in the Cusco region.

24 August, 2020

Reflections on our “Audacious” Journey

“Do you have an ambitious idea for tackling one of the world’s biggest problems?”

18 August, 2020

HOT’s Community Support Programs - Going Beyond Microgrants

HOT’s vision is to map an area home to one billion people living in poverty and at high risk of disasters by engaging mappers around the world to massively grow the number of local edits to the map. To kickstart planning, HOT’s Community Team has hosted a series of workshops to understand community perspectives.

10 August, 2020

Second Round of Rapid Response Micrograntees Announced!

Congratulations to the latest COVID-19 Rapid Response Micrograntees! Their work will make their communities more resilient and help people stay safe.

30 June, 2020

Applications Open for Facebook Community Impact Microgrants

HOT has opened the application period for Facebook Community Impact Microgrants, with a special focus on projects that engage women and girls in mapping. Apply today!

27 June, 2020

#map2020 Results Announced

After reviewing all of the inspiring submissions, the HOT and Mapillary teams have chosen SIGenBici as the #map2020 project of the year.

26 June, 2020

Cuatro regiones, cinco años, 94 países, mil millones de personas

En 2019, la comunidad de HOT elaboró un Plan Estratégico, en el que se planteaba un objetivo audaz: cartografiar en OpenStreetMap un área en la que vivan mil millones de personas. Esto nos llevó a una pregunta clave: ¿Dónde?

19 June, 2020

Four regions, five years, 94 countries, one billion people

In 2019, the HOT community developed a Strategic Plan, which stated an audacious goal: to map an area home to one billion people in OpenStreetMap. But one key question remained: where?

19 June, 2020

What if we could map an area home to one billion people currently missing from the world’s maps?

We are honored and excited to announce that the HOT community is one of eight recipients of funding from The Audacious Project, a collaborative philanthropic initiative that serves as a springboard for social impact on a grand scale.

17 June, 2020

HOT Rapid Response Microgrants: COVID-19 – First round of Micrograntees announced

We’re excited to announce the first round of awardees for HOT Rapid Response Microgrants: COVID-19. Microgrants, which are provided to OpenStreetMap communities to support their local response to the pandemic, have been awarded to projects in Liberia, Uganda, Kenya and Mongolia. Over the next 6 months, these Microgrants will support the following work:

29 May, 2020

Rapid Response Microgrants: COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting communities across the globe in many shapes and forms.

17 April, 2020

International Women’s Day 2020: #EachforEqual

International Women’s Day (#IWD2020) celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, while calling on the world to accelerate progress towards gender equality.

5 March, 2020

HOT launches Microgrants 2020: Funding for OpenStreetMap Communities

Is your local OpenStreetMap community mapping to improve lives? We could have a microgrant for you! Pitch your project and be in for a chance to receive funding as part of HOT’s annual fundraising campaign to support global OpenStreetMap communities.

27 September, 2019

Announcing the Winners of #map2020

There were 33 projects submitted for the #map2020 challenge to build better maps in undermapped regions. Mapping teams joined in from Europe, Asia, and Africa for the chance to demonstrate how street-level imagery can play a role in addressing a humanitarian challenge. Two projects were selected to present at the HOT Summit in Germany.

25 July, 2019

How #Map2020 Mappers Use Street-Level Imagery to Tackle Humanitarian Challenges

From Ghana to Zambia to the Philippines, we take a look at some of the 33 mapping projects that are taking part in #map2020 to build better maps in undermapped regions. The mapping participants are collecting street-level imagery to improve things like waste management, natural disaster response, and damaged roads, addressing some of the most pressing issues in undermapped regions.

20 June, 2019

#map2020: A campaign to accelerate critical map data collection for humanitarian challenges

Mapillary and HOT are joining forces to accelerate map data collection in undermapped regions. Local mappers are invited to use street-level imagery in mapping projects that address humanitarian or developmental challenges. Two of the projects submitted to the #map2020 campaign will be selected for a fully-funded trip to the HOT Summit in Heidelberg, Germany this September.

10 May, 2019

Eight New Communities Selected for 2019 HOT Microgrants

Female drone pilots mapping Africa’s largest slum, a youth group changing waste management behaviours in mega-cities, and mappers making Manila more accessible for persons with disabilities. These are a few examples of the eight incredible new community projects that are the recipients of the 2019 HOT Microgrants!

12 April, 2019

Cyclone Idai: how can you help by mapping?

Volunteers, we need your help! Over the past few weeks, Cyclone Idai has caused widespread destruction across Mozambique and Zimbabwe, destroying homes and infrastructure. The situation on the ground is constantly changing and the humanitarian teams responding need up-to-date information at their fingertips. We need your help to update maps of the areas affected by the Cyclone. This is a critical time in the lives of millions of people and you can help humanitarian responders provide lifesaving aid.

1 April, 2019

International Women's Day 2019: #balanceforbetter

HOT celebrates work to improve gender inclusion across OpenStreetMap. While no country in the world has achieved gender parity, inequality is particularly extreme in many of the places HOT works. Scroll on to see how you can get involved, and see our highlights from the past year.

8 March, 2019

2019 HOT Microgrants Program: empowering local OpenStreetMap communities

HOT invites communities to submit their applications for the 2019 Microgrants program.

25 January, 2019

OSM Benin: growing local mapping with a HOT Microgrant

Guest blog - Luc Kpogbe, OSM Benin

7 September, 2018

State of the Map 2018: reflections on inclusivity

The beauty of OpenStreetMap is it’s potential to be the most inclusive and representative map there is. Inclusion has long been discussed in the...

24 August, 2018

Microgrants 2018: HOT supports eight OSM communities!

We are pleased to announce the launch of this year’s Microgrant programme, which will support communities across South America, the Caribbean, West Africa and...

20 April, 2018

International Women’s Day 2018: #pressforprogress

Scroll down for Spanish

7 March, 2018

HOT 2018 Microgrants Programme Launch!

HOT 2018 Microgrants Programme Launches!   Many OSM communities around the world are achieving amazing results on zero or near-zero budgets. HOT wants to...

6 February, 2018

Funds for community-led projects to improve resilience to disasters and crises: the 2018 HOT Microgrants program

2018 Microgrants Program   Part of HOT’s mission is to enable anyone, anywhere to map their community. OpenStreetMap (OSM) community leaders worldwide are achieving amazing...

17 January, 2018

Building OpenStreetMap Zambia with the help of a HOT Microgrant

*Guest Blog – Trudy Namitala, OSM Zambia*   Since 2016, OSM Zambia has embarked on a journey to transform communities in Zambia by introducing...

9 November, 2017

HOT Microgrant: Mafalala, Mozambique - Mapping history with a focus on the future

*Guest blog: Remigio Chilaule, Mafalala, Mozambique*   Mozambique is a developing African country with many riches, and a lot of untapped potential in natural...

2 November, 2017

Microgrants: Humanitarian mapping of coastal wetlands and fishing livelihoods for resilience to climate change and variability, Colombia.

*Guest blog: Juan F. Blanco-Libreros, Ph.D., Natalia DaSilveira Arruda, M.Sc., and Nixon A. Aristizabal, GIS Spec. Universidad de Antioquia*   Rural and urban communities...

2 October, 2017

HOT Activates for five disasters: update

La comunidad (HOT) esta actualmente mapeando ( cartografiando) para unos  5 impredecibles desastres en Mexico, el Caribe y el sur de Asia. Mas de 4.800 voluntarios...

26 September, 2017

HOT Activates for Three Disasters: Hurricane Irma, Mexico Earthquake, Bangladesh Floods

Cette première semaine de septembre 2017 a vu se produire des catastrophes et destructions d’une intensité sans précédent et la Communauté HOT a été activée pour y répondre. Les projets et sur la façon de fait pour participer sont détaillés ci-dessous. C’est un moment critique pour la vie de millions de personnes dans le monde et nous remercions les cartographes volontaires pour leur soutien.

9 September, 2017

Sharing Experiences OSM Mapping in Four Countries: Armenia, Bangladesh, Fiji and the Philippines

*Guest Blog: Colleen Curran GeoInformatics Center, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)* Throughout 2016 the GeoInformatics Center, a research center at the Asian Institute of Technology...

23 August, 2017

HOT and Heidelberg Institution for Geoinformation Technology Collaborations

We’re pleased to announce we’ve recently formalised our partnership with the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) at GIScience Heidelberg University. HOT and HeiGIT...

10 August, 2017

Crowd2Map Tanzania: putting rural Tanzania on the map with the help of a HOT Microgrant

*Guest blog - Janet Chapman, Crowd2Map*   Crowd2Map Tanzania is a crowdsourced mapping project aiming to put rural Tanzania on the map. Since 2015,...

3 August, 2017

State of the Map Africa: the first conference

  *Guest blog - Janet Chapman, Crowd2Map*   It was a great privilege to present Crowd2Map at the first State of the Map Africa...

17 July, 2017

HOT Supports Community Driven Open Data: Ger Community Mapping Center, Mongolia

  Guest blog: Enkhtungalag of Ger Community Mapping Center, Mongolia, who are the beneficiaries of a 2017 HOT Microgrant.   Mongolia is considered one...

10 July, 2017

World Malaria Day: map to help Malaria elimination worldwide

Tuesday 25th April is World Malaria Day, and we’re hosting a Global 24 hour mapathon to support eradication of Malaria worldwide. You can join...

21 April, 2017

HOT Microgrants 2017: Results

    We had a fantastic response to our first ever Microgrants Programme, with over 70 applications from nearly 50 countries worldwide. After much...

20 April, 2017

This International Women’s Day, show your support by mapping

Many of HOT’s projects and partners focus on improving outcomes for women and girls in the developing world. This work is done in support...

7 March, 2017

2017 Microgrants Programme in full swing - read our Q&A summary

  The 2017 Microgrants Programme is in full swing, with just under three weeks until the application deadline! We've summarised the questions we've received...

21 February, 2017

HOT Microgrants Programme Launches

We're excited to launch the HOT Microgrants Program! Many OSM communities around the world are achieving amazing results on zero or near-zero budgets. HOT...

2 February, 2017

Recap of the UN World Data Forum: using OpenStreetMap for the Sustainable Development Goals

Last week I attended the UN World Data Forum to share the work the HOT community is doing with our partners towards achieving the...

27 January, 2017

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