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News — 15 September, 2014

Mikel Maron Chosen as a Presidential Innovation Fellow

On behalf of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team I am pleased to congratulate Mikel Maron for his new role as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House. He will spend the next few months sharing OpenStreetMap and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team processes with the government as part of “OpenStreetMap for Diplomacy” at the State Department. The project expands on the the Humanitarian Information Unit’s MapGive and Imagery to the Crowd initiatives, supporting citizen driven mapping contributions to humanitarian response.

A group photo of the new Presidential Innovation Fellows (via @daeaves / Twitter)

Mikel's thoughts on the fellowship: "The problems facing the world, humanitarian, climate, environmental, economic, are so extreme, everyone must find a substantial way to work together. No matter if you are a slum dweller in Chennai, or a bureaucrat at the World Bank, you contribute to the same database in OpenStreetMap, and that is powerful. In fact this is the role of HOT, to serve as the interface between the quite different worlds of the OpenStreetMap community and humanitarian response, and bring people together. And this is why I put myself forward to serve as a PIF. There are entirely new ways to cooperate and organize now open to us, and while the answers are certainly not obvious, I felt a calling to explore the landscape of potential." Read more of his thoughts and reflections here.

We feel excited about this opportunity as a show of the increased significance of OpenStreetMap globally. As our Executive Director Kate Chapman puts it: “Mikel’s fellowship signals a strengthening of HOT’s work. HOT voting members and contributors have successfully worked within other formal institutions including the World Bank, United Nations, governments, universities and International NGOs. Thank you Mikel for all your work that has helped shape HOT into what it is today and your future work as we all grow together as an organization.”

The HOT Community activities have been internationally recognized by humanitarians, governments and media. HOT is making a difference with mapping activations. We are very thankful for all the community, membership and partnership support. HOT members are also increasingly part of official organizations. HOT best practices within organizations and in partnership with humanitarian and civil society groups. This supports our mission.

With the new responsibility Mikel will be stepping down from his role as the HOT Board President to be able to focus on the fellowship but he will remain an active Board Member. We would like to formally thank Mikel for his years of service as HOT’s President. He has been instrumental in HOT’s creation and growth from idea inception to founding.

The HOT Board will discuss the next steps in its September 2014 meeting. This includes the election of a new President. There will be no further Board changes and HOT will continue to support all the great work that all members offer.

Thanks for your continued support and congratulations again to Mikel!