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News — 06 December, 2016

Funds for community-led projects: the 2017 HOT Microgrants program

OpenStreetMap (OSM) community leaders are achieving amazing results on zero or near-zero budgets. Many have a desire or opportunity to map their local communities, cities, and countries, but lack the basics to be able to do so, such as reliable equipment and funding to pay for transport and internet. HOT's Microgrants program, launching in early 2017, aims to support and strengthen local OpenStreetMap communities through providing these basics in the form of small grants to key leaders who are transforming their countries through more maps. Grants will be awarded based on what leaders tell us they need in order to carry out projects that broadly contribute to HOT's mission. HOT community support is provided before, during and after the grants period. Our goal is to provide opportunities for local leaders to build and strenghten their OSM communities through successful, locally led projects that increase skills, capacity and experience.

Announcing the 2017 HOT Microgrants Program

HOT will provide grants between $2,000 - $5,000 USD to up to ten OSM communities in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America/Caribbean and Africa to foster growth of OSM communities in those regions and enable them to carry out time-bound, impactful projects (e.g. mapping an entire small city). Through this process, HOT aims to improve the availability and quality of open geospatial data in OSM as well as develop leadership and technology skills of young leaders. This process will directly contribute to several of the Sustainable Development Goals including gender equality as well as prepare more communities to support disaster mapping.

The Microgrants program is designed not only to provide needed financial support to communities in these regions, but to provide technical assistance and guidance within the broader OSM community. A key component will include working with communities to provide proposal development mentoring, to create feasible project budgets and plans. The mentorship component will not only ensure more effective project outcomes, but also will support individual leaders who wish to expand their project management skillsets and experience.



December 2016 - January 2017: Pre-launch/program development

February 2017: Launch/program announcement

March 2017: Proposal review and decisions

April 2017: First round of funding disbursed


Frequently Asked Questions

* Who is eligible?

Open mapping-focused organizations and individuals in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America/Caribbean and Africa. Priority will be given to legally registered organizations or leaders working in collaboration with a legally registered organization that can take on fiscal responsibility, although this is not required. Applicants need not be currently affiliated with HOT, however projects must contribute broadly to the HOT mission of using open map data for humanitarian response and socio-economic development. Co-funding is not a requirement, although applicants with small amounts of co-funding will be given priority. HOT staff members are not eligible.


* What costs are eligible?

Eligible costs are largely determined on a grant-by-grant basis, and could include, but are not limited to, equipment such as GPS devices, phones, laptops and other technical resources to transportation and internet connectivity and meeting/working space rental. Additional eligible costs could include field or technical leadership/management training for key community leaders. If funding permits, costs of pursuing legal registration may also be eligible, as well as volunteer mapathon organization costs for leaders in North America and Europe who organize significant remote mapping events.


* Where does funding come from?

The global community came together through the #mapthedifference campaign to provide the funding and was joined by several corporate sponsors who share the vision of building OSM from the ground up locally.


* Who decides?

Applications will be evaluated and funding decisions made by a panel with representation from HOT senior staff, Board of Directors, HOT voting membership, donor organizations, and external advisors.


* How many grants will be made?

Grant amounts range from $2000 - $5000 USD. Applicants may apply for a grant of any amount in that range that enables a successful OSM focused project or local organization. HOT's objective is to provide as many grants as possible (up to 10 in 2017) based on total funding raised from donors.


* In what form are grants made?

Grants will be made primarily in cash in order to support local economies and local decision-making. If additional in-kind resources are made available from donors (such as equipment or training courses) these may be provided in addition to cash grants.


* When do grants start and end?

Projects are expected to be carried out by the end of 2017.


* How do I apply?

Application details will be announced in the HOT newsletter, mailing list, and website in February 2017.


* How do I get more information?