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Disaster Activation: Hurricanes Irma, Maria, Mexico Earthquake, Bangladesh flooding

The past year we have seen disasters and destruction on an unprecedented scale, and the HOT Community has activated to respond. Details on the projects, and how you can get involved are below. This is a critical time in the lives of millions of people worldwide, and we thank the mappers volunteering to support them.

Hurricane Irma and Maria


Hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the Caribbean islands, causing extreme destruction. Hurricane Maria has caused widespread damage. According to assessments by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), between 80-90 per cent of buildings were damaged or destroyed. All of the country’s crops have been devastated, and 75 per cent of the island’s trees have been damaged or ripped out of the ground. In September 2017, the entirety of Puerto Rico (3.5 million people) lost power, and there was significant damage and loss of communications in Dominica. We have undertaken mapping in many locations, with Puerto Rico and Dominica currently a high focus.

Progress so far

5,300\+ mappers added over 1.4 million buildings to the map in support of relief efforts led by organisations including International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation and societies, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Digital Humanitarian Network and MapAction.

Get involved

Mexico Earthquakes


The strongest earthquake for a century struck Mexico the morning of 8th September 2017. Over 58 people died, 5,000 homes were completely destroyed, and many more were left damaged and vulnerable. Reports from the affected cities said residents spent the morning of the disaster using basic tools and their bare hands to dig through the wreckage of collapsed buildings and pull the injured, and the dead, from the rubble. Another earthquake struck on 19th September. This one was closer to Mexico City and other densely populated areas, and hundreds of deaths were reported in the first day of the tragedy. The estimated humanitarian and economic impact is significant.

Progress so far

Just a few hours after these disasters struck, local leaders from OSM Mexico began support for the map response. In coordination with local teams, we are mapping the affected areas, taking their guidance on priority. Over 1500 mappers digitized 300,000\+ buildings and 24,000\+ kilometers of road network in Mexico. All data was provided to the Mexico National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) and Many thanks to Céline Jacquin, Edgar Lemus, and Miriam Gonzalez for their leadership in this activation.

Get involved

South Asia floods


In Autumn 2017 South Asia was heavily affected by extreme floods, with over 40 million people affected across Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Many of these places remained submerged under water for several weeks since the floods began in mid-August 2017. HOT activated to support efforts in Bangladesh and Nepal, with OSM-Bangladesh helping directly with mapping where 100,000 homes have been destroyed and the risk of fatal diseases like cholera were very high. American Red Cross, HOT’s partners through Missing Maps, deployed to the area to support the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society to update and utilize the maps in response efforts. HOT's partner organization, Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL), who were instrumental in facilitating the exchange of information between the crowd and response organizations during the 2015 Gorkha earthquake; coordinated the mapping efforts in Nepal.

Progress so far

Over 800 mappers added 18,000\+ buildings and 48,000\+ km of road to the map, but much more is needed.

Get involved

Western Pacific Volcanoes


Mount Agung on the Island of Bali, Indonesia has been showing signs of activity. 60,000\+ people live in the exclusion zone and more than 130,000 people in the entire area around the volcano have either fled or are prepared to leave at a moments notice.  HOT Indonesia has begun an effort to map the area around Mount Agung in case the mountain decides to erupt. Not far away in the island nation of Vanuatu several volcanoes there have residents on edge.  HOT community members mapped Vanuatu during Cyclone Pam in 2015 so the basemap is ready, but so are we if the situation changes.

Progress so far

So far 80 mappers have mapped 128,000\+ buildings around Mount Agung in preparation.

Get involved

  • Mount Agung mapping projects can be found at

  • Stay tuned to HOT and HOT Indonesia social media for breaking news on any volcanic activity.

More resources:

  • Learn to Map, or brush up on your mapping skills: the more people that contribute, the quicker we can provide the maps needed to response teams. High quality data is important, and we have a lot of materials online to help create this, visit and

  • Want to help with or watch the activation coordination? Join us on Slack ( and then join #disaster-mapping

  • Want to become an HOT Activator, start with the Activation Essentials course here:
  • Got questions? Ask us via Slack, or email

  • Can you spare some financial support? All donations help HOT to support and maintain our infrastructure ongoing so we can always be ready to respond to disasters:

  • Spread the word via social media so more people can join the mapping: we’re posting regularly on and

  • The HeiGIT team from GIScience Heidelberg has updated the Disaster OpenRouteService ( to the following routing regions:
    - North America (including Mexico)
    - Carribean
    - Bangladesh

 We cannot thank HOT Community enough for their contributions, and for anyone affected by these disasters, we’re wishing the best possible outcome for you and your families.

Recent news from Disaster Activation: Hurricanes Irma, Maria, Mexico Earthquake, Bangladesh flooding (View all news)

Calling All Validators (and Mappers)!

HOT begins to transition mapping of critical data in response to the Mexico Earthquakes, South Asia Floods, Caribbean Hurricanes and West Pacific Volcano threats back to local communities. It’s during this crucial time that we ask for mappers to become validators, and make an important second look to ensure the mapping was done as instructed.

Russell Deffner — 10 November, 2017

OSM Puerto Rico Emerges Stronger and Ready to Help Rebuild!

As Hurricane Maria‘s winds and rain battered our home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, among the many thoughts that bounced in my head in those long hours was wondering about the people living in the mountainous regions of the island. The winding roads, heavy foliage, cliffs, bridges and terrain susceptible to landslides could make it the worst place to be in during such a powerful storm. Many small communities on those mountains would become isolated for weeks.

Russell Deffner — 27 October, 2017

Fall 2017 Disaster Response: Calling All Mappers!

HOT continues response to multiple disasters...

Russell Deffner — 10 October, 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.

Rebecca Firth — 9 September, 2017