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News — 25 January, 2019

2019 HOT Microgrants Program: empowering local OpenStreetMap communities

HOT invites communities to submit their applications for the 2019 Microgrants program.

Established in 2017, the Microgrants program has supported 16 communities to scale their mapping activities. This year, the Microgrants program will provide 8-10 communities with awards that can be used to address the barriers they face to scaling their work. These include funding trainings, engagement with local government, or strengthening the community’s capacity in the areas of project management, financial management, technology skills, and expanding their network through attending local conferences.

In 2019, the HOT Microgrants program will specifically focus on the following areas:

Diversity & Representation: Communities from regions with few or no applicants in the 2017 & 2018 Microgrants programs are strongly encouraged to apply. These include communities located in the Caribbean, Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Consideration will also be given to mapping communities seeking to increase the diversity within their community (gender balance, age, socioeconomic status, or any distinguishing characteristic mentioned in the HOT Code of Conduct).

Innovation: Mapping is a first step towards empowering local leaders and communities, but it is not the final step. HOT is seeking grantees who will take their mapping further, making clear connections between how mapping will be used to drive action and decision-making and considering how to grow their work. Communities should clearly articulate who will be using the mapping data (local municipalities, policymakers, local NGOs) and how they plan to build and sustain these partnerships. Historically, the Microgrants proposals we have received have been focused around field mapping and training within a community. This year, HOT welcomes a wider variety of proposals. Examples of projects we consider innovative include regional support between OpenStreetMap communities (e.g. a developed OSM community supporting a less-developed OSM community in a neighbouring country), support to embed OSM within local authorities, and support to embed OSM more broadly in technology/open source communities (e.g. presenting/hosting a booth at regional conferences).

Sustainability: HOT views the Microgrants program as a launching point for communities to deepen their investment in mapping activities that will lead to long-term change. Proposals that demonstrate a clear commitment and strategy for engaging in mapping beyond the 12-month grant period are strongly advised. This may include building community capacity in areas like project management and financial management, developing further technology skills or training capabilities, and/or supporting communities to become legally registered organizations with clear operating standards.

Continuity: HOT understands that sustainability does not happen overnight, and in recognition of this, we will award one 2018 Micrograntee a follow-on grant in 2019. The winner of this grant will be decided via a vote by HOT Voting Members, based on summaries of the 2018 grantee project achievements and goals for 2019.

The HOT Review Committee will score applications based on the following:

Community Maturity: HOT looks for communities that have demonstrated a commitment to open mapping through past activities. Communities should have some previous experience using OpenStreetMap. While communities do not need to be large in number, smaller mapping communities should demonstrate a clear plan for growing their community and sustaining it in the long-term with the assistance of a HOT Microgrant. Preference will be given to those that apply as groups rather than individuals.

Clear Impact: Applications will be carefully reviewed to determine the concrete impact of mapping activities on community development in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Communities should be able to clearly communicate the need for mapping and the outcomes they aim to achieve through a HOT Microgrant.

Defined Strategy: Communities should demonstrate a clear commitment and the capacity to execute on their proposed activities and achieve their stated outcomes. Grant recipients will largely self-direct their own projects over the 12-month period with support from the HOT team. Communities should demonstrate that they have a clear vision and timeline for the Microgrant.

Accurate Budget: The HOT Review Committee carefully evaluates the proposed budget included as part of the Microgrants application. Budgets should contain accurate and detailed plans for how the grant money will be utilized and should justify the total grant amount being requested. Proposed purchases should be clearly aligned to the impact and strategy mentioned above.

Communities are invited to submit their Microgrants application by February 28 at 12 midnight EST. More details, including the grant application, can be found using this link. Questions can be sent to Please allow 24-48 hours for a member of our team to reply.

Thank you to the generous supporters who made these microgrants possible by participating in the 2018 #mapthedifference campaign. Additional thanks to our our corporate contributors Digital Globe, Salesforce France, New Light Technologies, and Geoawesomeness. Empowering local leaders begins with you. If you or your company are interested in supporting communities to grow their mapping capacity, please contact us at