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News — 05 November, 2014

Announcing the Missing Maps Project

I'm delighted to announce that this week HOT, in conjunction with American Red Cross, British Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders UK are launching the Missing Maps Project. The main goal of the project is to map the most vulnerable places in the world, in order that international and local NGOs and individuals can use the maps and data to better respond to crises affecting the areas. This collaboration is huge moment for the HOT community for a couple reasons. First it will allow us to better continue to map areas vulenrable to crisis and natural disaster as we have already been since the creation of HOT. Secondarily it continues to show the growth of broad support of the use of OpenStreetMap for humanitarian purposes in partnership with traditional response organizations. Responders using our maps is key for OpenStreetMap to assist humanitarian action. Both of these items will signifcantly contribute to our vision of a world where communities living in vulnerable environments and areas are empowered to create and utilize geographic data to play an active role in their own economic development and resiliency.

"People before data" is a core tenet of Missing Maps, which is key to building sustainable mapping communities. Through this principle we will work together to build relationships between international volunteers, local communities and others that want to help. We will focus on people and communities at greatest risk to ensure maps and data are available for disaster risk reduction programs and disaster response when required. This is done through the following process as a basis. 

Missing Maps Process

This process and portions of it have been used in multiple places around the world. Here are a few examples.


Mapathon in London

Volunteers in London Come Together at Monthly Missing Maps Mapathon to Digitize Satellite Imagery

Mapping in Lubumbashi

Community Members in Lubumbashi Organize Field Papers to Collect Data

Red Cross using OpenStreetMap after Typhoon Haiyan

Individuals from the Red Cross Use OpenStreetMap After Typhoon Haiyan in the Philliphines

I'm very proud and appreciative of all the volunteers, partners and others that have helped to develop the tools, methodologies and processes that Missing Maps has adopted. This project would not have been possible without this large body of work done beforehand. I would also like to extend my gratitude to those joining us from all over the wolrd today. There are launch events in London, Jakarta, Heidelberg, Vancouver, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Manila, for more information please visit the Missing Maps Project website. In addition to launch events I am also presenting the MIssing Maps Project at the International Conference of Crisis Mappers in New York City and we are having an informal gather in NYC (please contact me if you are in the city and would like to join). In addition to this, many mapathons are expected in the coming year to support the effort. The Missing Maps Project really is about teamwork and if it sounds exciting to you and you would like to help, please get in touch.