Aerial imagery today is available from a variety of sources including traditional satellites, nano satellites, manned and unmanned aircrafts, mapping drones, balloons and kites. It is often difficult to share and access the acquired data efficiently. OpenAerialMap (OAM), a project funded by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), is creating a system to easily host and share aerial imagery. People will be able to go to OAM and search to see what free imagery is available in their area of interest. OAM is also being designed as a software to be installed on a computer to share imagery locally or with the global OAM network. Many humanitarian organization will benefit from OAM by being able to host and provide access to imagery for mapping, disaster response and damage assessment projects.
Since the initial project brainstorming, starting in January 2015 the OAM community has been holding weekly meetings to coordinate project development. The first outcome was the definition of high level requirements for the main OAM component, the catalog. When implemented the catalog will provide indexing capabilities of uploaded datasets and a web interface for searching and displaying imagery. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), which is supporting OAM efforts through the HIF grant, is publishing a tech challenge with the goal of hiring two developers who will lead the catalog implementation. This is a great opportunity for anyone with experience in building modern and open source Web mapping software to contribute to OAM. Proposals are accepted until March 5th and the winners will be announced shortly after.
More information about OpenAerialMap is available on GitHub. Anyone who is interested in the project is welcome to join and participate in the discussion on the mailing list. The project is also currently seeking feedback about user requirements with a dedicated survey. If you are involved in humanitarian projects dealing with aerial imagery and mapping, by answering the 5-minute survey you will provide valuable feedback that will help to build OpenAerialMap.
HOT will soon publish a second tech challenge with the goal of developing another main OAM component, the map engine, also known as the OAM Server. This component is designed to ingest imagery data and make it available as a map service for indexing in the catalog and use through any GIS or Web mapping software. Stay tuned!
OAM on GitHub: https://github.com/hotosm/OpenAerialMap
User Survey: http://goo.gl/forms/kUK0nQ7wJh