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News — 22 November, 2017

HOT Tech in 2018

This year has been a busy year for technology within the HOT community. We launched new versions of nearly all the core HOT tools - Tasking Manager, Export Tool, OpenAerialMap. We also started developing new tools for field data collection and starting discussing new ideas, for example using machine learning for a new tasking workflow. Going into 2018, we want to take the wins and lessons learned from 2017 and go further. Over the past few weeks, we've been working on planning for the next year. I want to share about what we have thought about, what we plan to work on, and how you can start to get involved.

Creating space for more volunteer leadership

At the core, our work is our community of volunteers. Thousands of volunteers have engaged in mapping. We have done a lot in training new mapping volunteers to engage in their first tasks or help experienced mappers leverage their skills for impact. Over the next year, we're going to expand what it means to volunteer within the HOT community. We're going to work to create more spaces for community members to fill and become volunteer leaders - from content creation, to technical support services, to writing code. We want to recognize and formalize the roles volunteers take on and contribute to the community.

We’re starting this by organizing our Github repositories more, creating contribution guidelines, sharing best practices, and documenting how our projects can be organized.

Developing partnerships for more training and tool development

Our community is also made up of partner organizations that we collaborate with to support OSM communities around the world. This last year we had monthly Community Webinars that enabled skill sharing and deeper discussions. This coming year we're going to further develop partnerships to bring more ideas and skills into the community. New ideas like machine learning, new validation methods, or improved user analytics; or, new skills like user-centered design processes.

Be on the lookout for ways to discuss this further or get involved.

Visioning for the future

A great part of our community is that many people are researching and thinking about how to improve our processes and the way the world is mapped. Over the next year we’re going to look further into how the core HOT tools and processes grow. We want to ask questions like, what is the future of tasking for humanitarian mapping? How does the Export Tool better integrate and make data available for users? How do we continue to improve the quality of the data voluteers generate? We want to evaluate and begin to create a roadmap not just for existing tools, but how we continue to evolve our mapping processes.

At the beginning of the year we’ll kick off discussions by working these into our tech working group meetings. We’re getting this started by organizing how we’ll structure our working group meetings. We’re also working on planning when we will hold tech working group meeting times and ensure members around the globe can join and contribute to the discussion.

Want to keep track of these discussions? Sign up for the Tech Working Group mailing list and join our Slack community to be updated on the latest discussions or ways to get further involved.