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News — 10 October, 2017

Fall 2017 Disaster Response: Calling All Mappers!

HOT continues response to multiple disasters...

We are calling all mappers to help us provide critical data in response to the Mexico Earthquakes, South Asia Floods, Caribbean Hurricanes and West Pacific Volcano threats.


The situation in Mexico is improving after two large earthquakes and several aftershocks struck in September. Although the immediate response has mostly ended, it is predicted the recovery could take many months as some of the hardest hit areas were more economically challenged before the earthquakes. HOT has been working to fulfill a request from OSM-Mexico and the Mexico National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) for baseline geospatial data in the most impacted areas.

Mexico Earthquakes

Since the response began, 1400+ mappers have digitized over 250,000 buildings and almost 25,000 kilometers of road. Many mapathons around the world have supported these efforts such as this gathering in New York hosted by CARTO.

CARTO Mapathon CARTO Mapathon

There are still many projects needing mappers, and especially validators. See the Mexico Earthquakes Wiki-page for more information and complete list of projects; or head straight to the HOT Tasking Manager to get mapping.


Although much of the flood waters have receded, the situation for recovery is grim in some areas. Bangladesh is particularly challenging as they are also dealing with the Rohingya refugee migration. HOT (global) is helping manage the flood related projects while the Bangladesh Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Operational Team (BHOOT) focus on the refugee crisis. We don’t anticipate any further projects in Nepal so helping get the remaining tasks validated will help Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) call this response a success.

South Asia Floods

See the South Asia Floods Wiki-page for more details on the response, or use this search on the Tasking Manager for projects.


Although Hurricane Irma and Maria have passed, the devastation left behind will take a massive effort to recover from. HOT continues working to fulfill dual requests for a basemap of the island of Puerto Rico from the American Red Cross and FEMA. We are hearing that it is still extremely difficult to get services to the interior of the island so it is critical we move as quickly as possible to get a complete road network and all buildings on the island mapped. There is still some clean-up work of other areas impacted by Irma and Maria so there is a bit of something for everyone with this response.

American Red Cross Planning With OSM American Red Cross Planning With OSM

So far over 1,000,000 buildings and 35,000 kilometers of road have been digitized during the response for both Hurricanes by about 3500 mappers.

Caribbean Hurricanes

For more details and a list of all projects see the Hurricane Irma and Maria Wiki-page or head to the HOT Tasking Manager for mapping projects. For experienced US road network mappers, head to the OSM-US Tasking Manager to help fix-up the Puerto Rico roads (mostly TIGER import).


Several volcanoes in the Western Pacific Ocean have shown signs they may erupt at any moment. 11,000 residents of the island of Ambae, Vanuatu have been moved to other islands in fear of the Manaro Volcano erupting. In Bali, Indonesia about 185,000 people have left the evacuation zone around Mount Agung as it continues to vent steam and have hundreds of earthquakes each day. HOT Indonesia is coordinating the mapping there with our global team ready to support if necessary.

Bali, Indonesia

So far 80 mappers have made almost 1,000,000 changes to the map of Bali, but they would appreciate your help. The Mount Agung preparedness project can be found at

Other Ways to Get Involved

Need a break from mapping or validating? You’re in luck, there are a ton of activities happening ‘behind-the-scenes’ that make these responses possible. Have coding skills? Like to write articles or social media posts? Want to help first responders use OSM to save lives? We have needs for those skillsets and more. The best way to get further involved is to join our Working Groups most of them have regular meetings you can see on the calendar link, others are only a mailing list and/or skype/slack group and may only meet when necessary. If you are interested in becoming an Activator and working directly on a disaster mapping coordination team, please visit - once you complete the Activation Essentials course, you will be added to the roster and can choose any, or all, of the role training courses and perhaps immediately putting the training to use.