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News — 14 January, 2011

Introducing COSMHA

A new organization has been formed to sustain, support, and grow the local OpenStreetMap Community in Haiti.  COSMHA, or Comunite OpenStreetMap de Haiti, was formed in late 2010 by a group of mappers from Port au Prince with the goal of ensuring that the best map data for Haiti is created by Haitians and available to anyone to use and improve.

COSMHA Workshop at IOM offices in Gonaives

COSMHA now has over 200 members, primarily from Port au Prince, but active groups are working in several other communities including Leogane, Jacmel, and Gonaives.  The group came into existence in the months following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti as a result of a partnership between the Community Forum of Cite Soleil and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).

OpenStreetMap was widely used by humanitarian agencies during search and rescue efforts and response planning in the days and weeks following the earthquake.  Following the initial emergency, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team began work to ensure that the rich and detailed data in OSM for Haiti would continue to be sustained and improved by the local community.  With the support of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), COSMHA is out in the field daily, mapping communities and providing data critical to the ongoing relief efforts.

COSMHA's current work centers around creating maps that will assist the cholera response.  Teams have been active around the country, collecting data on cholera treatment facilities and water and sanitation infrastructure. Mappers ride motorbikes, walk, and take tap taps to reach remote areas.  In the next six months, COSMHA hopes to expand it's activities and membership to include the majority of the country.