The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team United States, Inc. (HOT) applies open source principles and open data sharing for humanitarian response and economic development. Founded in the wake of the Haiti earthquake of 2010, responders and organizations recognized the need for accurate, accessible maps to aid in humanitarian response and the potential for international development interventions. Since then, HOT has utilized its network of tens of thousands of volunteers to contribute to OpenStreetMap, the free and editable map of the world. HOT’s network and tools enable everyone, local or international, to have an impact by putting places on the map.
The West and Northern Africa Hub (WNAH) is a branch of HOT that covers 24 countries in the region with the mission of making open data and free software a decision-making tool for development focusing on communities. The WNAH works with humanitarian organizations, governments, civil society, private operators, institutions, and other actors to use OpenStreetMap (OSM) tools; data collection, spatial analysis, and state-of-the-art cartographic production are the essential tools that the Hub will promote for socio-economic decision-making.
We want to be closer to communities so data and maps can be a tool for analysis and decision-making to improve people’s lives. Through a regional approach, by assisting local communities using open-source mapping data, tools, and software, we intend to contribute to community development by improving their livelihoods.
Eco-Smart Cities Project
The Eco-Smart Cities project aims to tackle the complex issues in urban centers within the region. It envisions a future where cities become lively and intelligent ecosystems. The project aims to address environmental degradation, limited resources, inadequate infrastructure, public health concerns, and economic inequalities through a comprehensive, open data and participatory mapping approach. This project will stimulate sustainable urban growth that benefits current and forthcoming generations. This will be achieved by collecting data, conducting analyses, and presenting information visually. This valuable data will aid city planners, national authorities, the private sector, and other stakeholders in making informed decisions and shaping urbanization strategies.
To address the challenges related to sustainability, a comprehensive strategy that considers the environmental, social, and economic dimensions is required. Data can play a crucial role in this process. Still, it is essential to ensure that all stakeholders - including governments, local authorities, and private sector partners - collaborate effectively to develop and implement sustainable policies. One of the initial steps in this journey is to accurately map the city’s layout, including its structures, buildings, amenities, roads, waterways, and land use.
The Eco-Smart Cities project targeting under-mapped built and populated cities aims to attain and catalyze interlinked and ambitious goals. These aims are crafted to confront the urgent obstacles of swift urbanization and nurture sustainable urban progress. These objectives are designed to establish a comprehensive and unified methodology for constructing environmentally conscious, streamlined, and robust regional cities.
The principal aspirations of the project encompass the following:
Build the capacity of local volunteers in Remote Mapping and Validation to support project activities.
Through collaboration with local teams, remotely map at least two populated cities in each of the project’s two countries.
For analysis, map and merge critical city infrastructure with other datasets, including population and air pollution.
Acquire relevant existing datasets from critical stakeholders to support maps and other analysis activities.
Develop training resources in English and French and share them with local project teams.
Conduct remote mapping of buildings, roads, waterways, land use, and other critical amenities to support development and sustainability.
Combine other reliable open data sources, existing city datasets, and remote mapping data to conduct analyses and visualizations.
Use open and available air pollution datasets with project data to develop thematic maps on air pollution per city, causes, sources, impacted populations, and related hazards.
Conduct a knowledge-sharing webinar with all participating city representatives to discuss project outcomes sustainability.