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News — 05 May, 2017

Gulu Mapathon and Partnerships


As Uganda deals with an influx of refugees from South Sudan and neighbouring countries, many responders including UNHCR implementing partners, the Ugandan Government, Department of Refugees, NGOs, and individuals are in much need of data for reporting, monitoring, service delivery, and generally getting an insight into the largest refugee crisis in Africa.


There has been tremendous effort by organisations that carry out humanitarian response both on and off the ground, to set up the refugee settlements and provide the refugees arriving from South Sudan with basic services; at the very least, food, water, shelter, and sanitation. To support their operations, notable efforts in the mapping arena have been taken by Medicines Sans Frontier and the British Red Cross, both of whom are working on the ground and carried out a number of mapping tasks on refugee settlements in northern Uganda with the help of the Tasking Manager.


Thanks to the HOT community for helping remote map several of these settlements (see for example,,, and!




In situations such as the South Sudanese refugee crisis, partnerships and coordination between responders are a key factor for effective data and information management. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is starting efforts to improve data sharing and collaboration, involving local partners in information management and data collection initiatives, to make more data freely accessible online, and provide comprehensive data sets usable by these organisations and refugee communities via OpenStreetMap.


Together with the Ugandan “MapUganda” OSM community and YouthMappers chapters in Uganda, HOT is to start activities in the districts of Yumbe, Adjumani, Arua, Moyo and potentially other districts as the need arises. Through the MapGive project, the Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU) of the U.S. Department of State has provided the OpenStreetMap community access to updated satellite imagery services to help assist with humanitarian mapping.




A mapathon with Youthmappers from Makerere University, Kampala (Geomappers), and Gulu University in Northern Uganda (CSGU) YouthMappers, was attended by 22 students, and focused on creating data for buildings and roads in the Parolinya refugee camp in Moyo. In less than 12 hours over 3000 buildings, and 200 roads had been mapped by this team, on a task jointly being worked on with MSF and CartONG.


There is a lot of anticipation as field activities are being planned very soon in northern Uganda around the districts that are home to most of the refugee settlements, more so with the development of the new software tool (MapCampaigner) to aid our upcoming field mapping operations in Uganda.  HOT welcomes partnerships with government agencies, and UNHCR implementing agencies, in addition to those that have already been established. Watch for updates and get in touch if you would like to get involved in these upcoming activities!




Gift of the United States Government - Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration - US Department of State