Back to base (Brittany, France) at the end of the third week of this OSM/HOT mission in Haiti of which you'll find the main facts further below. In addition to the wealth of resources created by the OSM Wiki Project Haiti, the efforts Robert and I spent in our first two weeks of mission meeting and outreaching to all actors (UN and NGOs, Haitian National/Local Authorities, Development projects and Haitian Civil Society), designing a field OSM surveying and editing kit, delivering training and running field surveys continue to pay in this last week.
First layer of activities was training and surveying. More than 30 persons were trained from UNICEF, UNOCHA, MINUSTAH, FAO, WFP, IOM, Shelter Box, iMMAP, MapAction, INTERSOS, DAI project, WINNER project and their partners in Port Au Prince Municipalities, SASH, CNIGS, CNSA, INURED and Representative from the Forum of Communities of Cite Soleil.
This was made possible by the growing and full engagement of freshly trained mappers from both CNIGS (Centre National de l'Information Geo-Spatiale/ Haitian National Mapping Agency) and WFP-VAM (UN World Food Programme "“ Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping unit) in facilitating training and carrying out surveying work combined with the logistics support furnished by IOM, the human support of CNIGS making its sound personals available and the positive receptiveness of all actors of the Haitian geomatic scene. A training training and surveying force has been constituted at the course of those past weeks and has now the means to keep at its own pace.
Those 3 weeks allowed us to find the right *modus operandi* in running those capacity building exercises both in Port Au Prince and in country (Jacmel & Leogane). We all proved to be able to accommodate for comprehensive formal half a day sessions (LogBase, WINNER Project, Cite Soleil) as well as multiple and diverse *ad hoc* sessions delivered to all (drivers, secretaries, social, project workers to hard core GIS practitioners) at all times (day time, lunch breaks, Eastern holidays, or night sessions...).
Last Tuesday 6-April featured the scenario to run future in-country trainings and surveys. We were 8 (5 CNIGS, 1 WFP-VAM, a driver and myself) to take the road to Leogane where a humanitarian base had been set up. Upstream Frederic Moine coordinated and raise awareness about this trip. Up to 15 persons from different organizations were trained and some took part in parallel surveying works carried out in the city. We grew our base of trainees by running *agit prop* techniques throughout the camp, definitively a very enabling environment: receptive persons joining in and propagating the call for training and surveying within the network of partners from DPC (Haitian Disaster Management Agency). It would have been easy, staying in longer to reach out to many and to plug our growing surveying forces into on-going activities.
Small agile autonomous teams of 4, furnished with an OSM surveying kit (a pelican case storing laptop, GPS units/Data Loggers and printer), equiped with tent and basic camping gears, moving to those Haitian secondary hubs taking advantage of convoys, vehicle movements and helicopter rotations to carry out training and surveying work with all willing actors would for a limited budget certainly pay a large tribute to the current phase of the relief work and efficiently support the starting preparedness activities to mitigate the forthcoming cyclonic season. This should be combined in Port Au Prince with some formal/ ad-hoc training in LogBase (and any additional workable place) to help maintaining the capacities grown there. Much more than techniques were transmitted at the event of these many sessions which worked as network incubators. Catalysts of professional networks growth with the OSM *modus operandi* opening up for GIS practitioners from CNIGS, VAM, CNSA., UN and Development projects wide spectra of cooperation areas. Incubator of social networks *tout court* with the strengthening of comradeship ties, relations organizational, trans-organizational, relations: in one word, something of an OSM community at work in Haiti
Second layer of activities was outreach and meeting to articulate OSM to present and future geo data management activities in Haiti. This resulted into a shift where by OSM got considered not only as a data feeder consumed in many handy formats but also as a functional and powerful data editing collaborative platform to support geodata management efforts from Haitian humanitarian and national actors.
Imports and maintenance schemes involving OSM tied to the Humanitarian Data Model to ensure semantic interoperability were discussed with humanitarian data custodians and CNIGS. The work carried out by the community over the Health Facility objects (PAHO data imports) served as both an illustration and a model for these talks. This would be mutually beneficial. OSM would gain a streamlined access to the humanitarian data shareable and compatible with the scope of the project produced at the event of this crisis. OSM would become a *de facto* receptacle of this humanitarian geodata effort and play a role in data accessibility, sharing and visualization in support of exiting mechanims. To the eye of the custodian, OSM is seen as complimentary working as a data feeder branched to "wild" data collection efforts happening outside of its reach in community mapping scheme (Precarious urban areas - Cite Soleil/ Rural Areas). .
Those talks were engaged with UNICEF (schools, qualitative indicators on camp), Education Cluster (schools), CCCM Cluster (camps), WFP/UN LogCluster (Logistics), OCHA (standardization, capacity building and disaster preparedness) and will need a follow-up..
The CNIGS got the full value of OSM as a common and open receptacle of humanitarian data, as a data feeder able to leverage the power of the crowd in both perspective and as a skilled and committed community willing and able to help articulating and activating global and local capacities. CNIGS engaged in OSM, getting 10 of their staffs cognizant and is planning use the platform in articulation with its own data management solution for their base map layers. CNIGS will advocate for OSM among their partners. CNIGS has been furnished with an OSM surveying kit (2 laptpops, one printer, 5 GPS units) in support of this scheme. Direct illustration of this is the DPC (Direction de la Protection Civile/ the Haitian National Disaster Management Agency) considering to make of OSM the technical solution of their geodata data management pipeline in both disaster preparedness and direct disaster response. This could start for the next Cyclonic season. In this pattern, the CNIGS would work as a geographic information service provider for DPC. If this would happen ideally in coordination with similar efforts run on the humanitarian front by OCHA , the benefits for the project and for the constitution of an OSM community in Haiti would simply be great since the DPC has a massive presence over the country.
Outreach to the groups of the civil society was the third pillar of this mission targeted at growing autonomously the Project in Haiti. The interest for community mapping schemes based on OSM techniques in precarious neighborhoods of Port Au Prince is vivid and geographical information is perceived in both its technical and political aspects. Politically, mapping the un-mapped camps, population needs, mapping the gaps of both humanitarian and national current and planned responses is simply a question of life and death and for a community mapping its own environment (expressing in a cartographic language its knowledge of its environment is seen as an evident step and ground on which building to give more strength to the on-going processes by which the civil society seeks an active role in the current response.
3 representatives from the Forum of Communities of Cite Soleil and from INURED (a potential partner for those type of project) trained last Saturday 3-April in Cite Soleil attended a second training facilitated by CNIGS in LogBase in the IOM carre (IOM being the lead Agency of the Camp Coordination and Management Cluster). Already fluent with GPS and questionnaires surveys, they made it to the end of the editing process and now need regular practices.
A surveying kit dedicated to community mapping has been left under the custodianship of CNIGS. Furnished with GPS units, access to a dedicated workstation and benefiting from the technical support of CNIGS, both people from Cite Soleil Forum and INURED should be able to pursue in their acquiring of OSM techniques and contribute their pieces of data over Cite Soleil to the project in articulation of the efforts of the camp custodian (IOM). In the rural area, SASH a grass root NGO from UK engaged in mapping the un-mapped camps will furnish a support similar as CNIGS in community mapping schemes..
It's hard to predict in such a fast changing and complex environment the course at which the above described dynamics will proceed. One thing Robert and myself are sure of is that OSM made it to nice people which tied to remote community support and on-the-ground missions with some on-site institutional support (even limited) should ensure a minimal growth of the project in Haiti.
Remote support spanning over data imports, remote survey editing, translation, developments, capacity building materials in OSM and OSGeo stacks, project proposal writing works and other work items will be needed as well an as continuous as possible OSM presence on the ground. This will work both as as catalysts of the alchemy on the making in Haiti and as an internal strengthening of OSM/HOT capacities whereby new mappers will be exposed to the specifics of field humanitarian work and more be able to step in in the future (Haiti or elsewhere).
The above short paragraph is meant to keep digesting the lessons we are learning from Haiti since 12-Jan in the light of those past 3 weeks and ensure that the OSM project will remain useful, relevant and efficiently articulated to the current relief and reconstruction work in Haiti.
Those 3 weeks meant clearly a lot for us on all plans and we can only be grateful to have had the chance to deploy in this land and thank again the whole community for the work invested on OSM at large and on Haiti in particular, the support furnished by MapAction to make this mission on ECHO funding possible, the support provided in Haiti by IOM (logisitcs, worksplace), by CNIGS (human resources), ushaidi (networking and outreach to INURED & Cite Soleil) and the many we interacted with.