HOT Activates for Multiple Disasters: Hurricane Irma and Maria, Mexico Earthquakes and Bangladesh Floods

This week has 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


Hurricane Irma is the largest Hurricane ever recorded, and has torn death and destruction through the Caribbean. Destruction on some islands is estimated at 95%, affecting the lives of 1.2 million so far, and on track to cause severe destruction across the entire Florida State, where mass evacuation is currently underway. Barbuda’s prime minister, Gaston Browne, described the damage as “absolutely heart-wrenching”. “The island is literally under water and barely habitable,” Browne said. About 95% of properties are damaged, there is a serious threat of disease”. Additionally, those already affected by Irma fear a second brutal battering by Hurricane Jose.


Hurricane Maria starting impacting the Caribbean September 18th as a category 5 causing massive destruction on the island of Dominica. Predicted to remain a category 4 or 5 as it hits Puerto Rico and potentially other islands as it tracks north.


Progress so far

The HOT Community is making incredible progress, with nearly 150,000 homes mapped in just a couple of days. Our partners, Netherlands Red Cross and MapAction are en route to affected locations, and will use the map data we create to understand the damage to infrastructure, and estimating the affected populations and their needs as part of Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) missions. The OSM US Community are leading support activating mapping for Florida, where Irma made landfall.


Get involved

  • Mapping tasks and their status can be found on the Hurricane Irma OSM wiki page. Map tasks here:

  • Expert, experienced US road network mappers who use JOSM at the expert level: support needed with mapping in Florida, contact OSM US:

  • Data made available via the HOT Export Tool. The complete list of data available will be continually updated on the Hurricane Irma OSM wiki page.

  • Support with French translation, and coordination with local OSM teams (e.g. OSM Haiti) is needed, please get in touch via Slack (details below) if you can support.

 Mexico Earthquakes


The strongest earthquake for a century struck Mexico the morning of 8th September. At least 58 people have died, 5,000 homes completely destroyed, and many more damaged and vulnerable. Reports from the affected cities say residents spent the morning 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 closer to Mexico City and other densely populated areas, hundreds of deaths have been reported in the first day and 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. All data will be 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

  • Mapping tasks and their status can be found on the 2017 Mexico Earthquake OSM wiki page.

  • Data made available via the HOT Export Tool. The complete list of data available will be continually updated on the 2017 Mexico Earthquake OSM wiki page.

  • Support with Spanish translation is needed, please get in touch via Slack if you can support


Bangladesh floods


South Asia has been affected by extreme floods, with over 40 million people affected across Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Many of these places have remained submerged under water since the floods began in mid-August. HOT has activated in Bangladesh, where 100,000 homes have been destroyed and risk of fatal diseases like cholera are very high.


Progress so far

With support from the OSM Bangladesh Community, HOT has activated a number of tasks to support mapping of affected areas in Bangladesh. Tasauf A Baki Billah has coordinated much of the effort from OSM Bangladesh side.


Get involved


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

  • 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.

Project type:
Disaster mapping

Blake Girardot

Mhairi O'Hara

Nate Smith

Russell Deffner


Sep, 7 2017 to Sep, 30 2017