HOT Activates for five disasters: update

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Sep, 26 2017
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The HOT Community is currently mapping for an unprecedented five disasters in Mexico, the Caribbean, and South Asia. Over 4,800 volunteers have joined the mapping and validation efforts over the past few weeks. Details on the projects, and how you can get involved are below.


Two strong earthquakes, 12 days apart, have shaken Mexico this month, killing hundreds of people who were unable to escape. Just before midnight on Sept. 7, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake (the most powerful to hit Mexico in a century) struck the Pacific Coast, and on Sept 19th, a magnitude 7.1 quake struck Puebla and Mexico City. The earthquakes led to severe and sustained shaking, causing many buildings to crumple.


The government of Mexico, Estrategia Digital Nacional (National Digital Strategy of Mexico), are using the maps for reconstruction planning. To date, 1,500 volunteers have added 165,000 buildings and 17,000km of road to the map. You can support these relief efforts by mapping: Validation is urgently needed for these tasks:

South Asia

South Asia has been affected by extreme floods, with over 40 million people affected across Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Many of these places have remained submerged under water since the floods began in mid-August. HOT has activated to support efforts in Bangladesh and Nepal, OSM-Bangladesh are helping direct the mapping where 100,000 homes have been destroyed and risk of fatal diseases like cholera are very high. American Red Cross, HOT’s partners through Missing Maps, have deployed to the area to support the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society updating and using maps in response efforts. HOT partner organization, Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL), who were instrumental in facilitating the exchange of information between the crowd and response organizations during the 2015 Gorkha earthquake; is coordinating the mapping efforts in Nepal.


Over 600 mappers have added 13,500 buildings and 30,000 km of road to the map, but much more is needed. Mapping and validation tasks here:



Over the past two weeks, Hurricanes Irma and Maria have battered the Caribbean islands, causing extreme destruction. Hurricane Maria has caused widespread damage. According to assessments by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), between 80-90 per cent of buildings have been damaged or destroyed. All of the country’s crops have been devastated, and 75 per cent of the island’s trees have been damaged or ripped out of the ground. Since September 20, the entire of Puerto Rico (3.5 million people) lost power, and there is significant damage and loss of communications in Dominica. We have undertaken mapping in many locations, with Puerto Rico and Dominica currently a high focus.


So far, 2,800 mappers have added over half a million buildings to the map in support of relief efforts led by organisations including International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation, Netherlands Red Cross and MapAction. The maps are being used for rapid damage assessments to understand what level of aid needs to be sent to different locations, and how long the aid might be needed, for example temporary or more permanent shelter. Some validation is needed on outstanding tasks:

We cannot thank HOT Community enough for their contributions, and for anyone affected by these disasters, we’re wishing the best possible outcome for you and your families.