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News — 20 July, 2017

From the map to the field: HOT trains MSF and refugees in field data collection - Uganda

On the 12th of July, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) in Uganda, under the Crowdsourcing Non-Camp Refugee Data program, funded by United States Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, conducted a Mapathon with MSF, NGO partners and refugees from Bidibidi refugee settlement at the MSF Office in North Uganda.

Having refugees attending the Mapathon, and then working in the field with HOT and MSF teams, was a unique opportunity to have the direct beneficiaries of humanitarian programs work along with aid workers to set priorities and share their knowledge on unmet needs in refugee settlements. On the other side, refugees learned advanced mapping techniques used by humanitarian organizations to plan settlements and ensure aid services. Representatives of the overall refugee community and local leaders of Bidibidi refugee settlement Zone 5 attended the meeting.

    Remote Mapping of roads and buildings to understand areas to be mapped

 Over 1,660 buildings, 684 meters of larger roads and 2,382 meters of smaller roads were mapped, providing a comprehensive picture of the existing infrastructure in an area where a new refugee settlement extension will be implemented to avoid overcrowding in already existing refugee areas.

The Mapathon targeted area at the end of the participatory mapping

The information collected during the Mapathon was verified in the field, also providing training to the MSF team of field data collectors on how to use OpenDataKit, OpenMapKit and OSMTracker for the collection of data in the field.


 HOT data collectors mapping a water point in a refugee hosting community

By using the newly collected information on roads, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and MSF travelled to the area where new refugees are received and where humanitarian organizations work against the time to provide shelter, health services and food to an average influx of hundreds of people per day.


 Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and MSF inspecting and mapping new areas for refugee settlements between Rhino camp refugee settlement and Imvepi refugee settlement

The field mission provided valuable information and data on ongoing activities in the refugee area extension, including the direct contact with new refugee population, that allowed MSF team to gather more information about urgent needs, composition of vulnerable groups, and actual access to health and hygiene basic facilities.

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and MSF with new refugees settling in an area with no shelter or facilities, carrying water from the only, far borehole

Data collected via Open Source tools on mobile phones is used to better characterize the map developed during the Mapathon, assessing the road conditions for the movement of ambulances and other vehicles, buildings to be rehabilitated for health programs and existing WASH points. Following the results of the Mapathon and the training of MSF to use OSM tools for field data collection, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team plans to expand the deployment of OSM tools to support NGOs, UN agencies and refugees in North Uganda.


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