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News — 30 April, 2015

Helping to map Nepal: getting started

[Guest post from Pete Masters, Missing Maps Project Coordinator]
The Nepal earthquake has inspired a whole new wave of people to join HOT and help support NGOs and local people in Nepal respond to last week's earthquake.
A big thank you to everyone who has decided to contribute...
Along with the huge potential benefits this brings to teams working on the ground to assist those affected by the quake, it has also bought into sharp focus the challenges the HOT community faces in helping new mappers get involved in mapping tasks.
If you are new (or nearly new) to mapping and OpenStreetMap, I hope that this post will help you find the resources you need to get started.
First, however, some fundamentals for new mappers...
When you click into a task you will see a grid overlaying the map. You will need to choose a square in that grid to work on. If you are just starting out, please choose a 'white' square. These are untouched and need mapping from scratch. If you choose an orange or green square (a 'done' square or a validated square respectively), you'd be correcting someone else's work. Also, never validate your own work... While we'd love you to one day be a validator, let's take it one step at a time ;)
If you are mapping a square and you are unsure of something, do seek help. The list below provides links to training and guidance, so start there. If you have a very specific question, you can ask on the HOT list or via twitter. The HOT community is extremely welcoming and responsive and it shouldn't be too long before you get an answer.
Don't worry if you don't finish a square... Whatever you have time for is helpful. If you haven't finished, leave a comment in the comments box on the task manager and click unlock. If you do finish, click 'Mark task as done'.
The best way to learn is by doing. If your square is invalidated, this is not a criticism of you. Everybody makes mistakes and nobody is expected to know everything. Learn from your mistake and keep mapping...!
Lastly, thank you for getting involved and good luck!
Resources for mapping:
  1. A tagging guide to roads in Nepal (urban and rural)
See the maps you are helping to make
Kathmandu Living Labs are on the ground coordinating the mapping efforts and producing maps and data for NGOs and others responding to the earthquake. Go here to see just one of the resources you are contributing to.