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News — 24 June, 2024

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) joins the Overture Maps Foundation

After careful consideration, we realized that joining the Overture Maps Foundation will enable us to fulfill our role as an organization dedicated to the creation and use of open map data for humanitarian action and community development.

In May 2024, we officially joined Overture Maps Foundation (Overture) as a “Contributor Member.” Launched at the end of 2022, Overture defines its mission as aiming to create reliable, easy-to-use, and interoperable open map data for the world. This open map data can then be used to power current and next-generation map products and services to support mapping professionals and developers.

After carefully assessing the opportunities and any potential challenges of joining —looking at the Overture technologies, the Foundation as an entity, and the evolving landscape around the initiative— we reached the conclusion that becoming a member of Overture will enable us to better achieve our vision and live our values as an organization whose work is dedicated to the creation and use of open map data for humanitarian action and community development.

Specifically, we see potential in how Overture’s member organizations pool their resources and technology to build open map data products. For example, we are excited to see how some members have shared their own geospatial databases of points of interest or buildings and made them available through Overture’s datasets. We also analyzed the first beta release to understand the resulting products and licensing (see our Overture Data Viewer, which visualizes samples of the Overture data product in some of our priority countries).

OvertureViewer.png A screenshot of the Overture Data Viewer shows the available Overture map data in Kenya.

There are three main reasons why we are excited to join as a new member of the Overture Maps Foundation:

Build bridges: As an organization with experience connecting different types of groups and individuals interested in open map data, we believe it is important also to connect with the organizations in the Foundation and to bring together the work of Overture’s members with the communities we partner with.

Bring HOT’s priority countries to the forefront: By being part of Overture, we aim to raise awareness of the importance of using their open map data technologies to improve maps in vulnerable areas and support communities there. Moreover, we want to advocate for the inclusion of community-collected data in products and services based on Overture’s datasets.

Best to Use_ Hubs Map v4.png Our priority countries as covered by our four Open Mapping Regional Hubs.

Focus on humanitarian data: Currently, Overture is working on data improvements across different themes: Base (a proxy for land use and land cover), Divisions (administrative and named localities data), Buildings, Transportation, and Places. An Address theme will be added in an upcoming release. Data schemas for these themes have been defined by the respective task forces within Overture. By joining as a member, we want to bring specific attention to how the data in these themes could be used for humanitarian approaches and aim to improve the use of humanitarian data in Overture Maps. We expect this will increase the usability of humanitarian data by potential Overture Maps users.

We are interested in seeing what other opportunities open up as we become part of this Foundation and look forward to bringing our unique humanitarian perspective to Overture’s work.

Want to learn more about the Overture Maps Foundation? Check out their answers to Frequently Asked Questions. And if you are interested in continuing the conversation about our role at Overture, reach out to us at: