Each quarter, we’re featuring one of our all-star staff members in a Staff Spotlight Series. Staff featured in this Series have been peer-nominated for their superb performance and values-driven work. This quarter, we’re spotlighting Nicole Siggins, Corporate Partnerships Lead on the Fundraising team.
What first attracted you to work at HOT?
My interests in mapping, Missing Maps, and community projects led me to volunteer at HOT for years before I became an official employee. I trained (and still do train) people in taking their first steps in OSM via the Tasking Manager in my free time. I was also a member of the community working group before I was an employee. These activities meant that when I saw the job ad, I just knew I had to apply, since I was already doing parts of the role for fun!
What’s the best thing about your colleagues?
Their passion! I feel endlessly grateful to be able to work alongside such passionate and excited colleagues. We’re also a worldwide team, and it’s great to be able to work with folks from so many different cultures and backgrounds.
Tell us a bit about how your career/personal journey led you to HOT.
My career path has been non-linear and diverse, covering areas of art, media, and education, and I’ve always been interested in maps and storytelling. I’ve made maps with the Institute for Infinitely Small Things and I got into OSM and humanitarian mapping in 2015 at a mapathon in Berlin. Since then, I’ve been an organizer for Maptime, a core member of London Missing Maps, and matched to a new mapper in an earlier version of the Mapping Gurus program. I love introducing beginners to the magic of OpenStreetMap! When I officially became part of HOT staff, it felt a bit like entering the living room of the house that I was already residing in. I’m still so thrilled about it all!
What is your current role at HOT, and how has it evolved?
I’m currently the Corporate Partnerships Lead at HOT. I joined HOT to specifically run mapathons for corporate volunteer mappers, but it has evolved into coming up with new programs and strategies to work with corporate volunteers. It turns out that running mapathons on the HOT Tasking Manager isn’t always the most effective way for folks to contribute: they often prioritize volume over quality, leading to a lot of data that needs to be validated, and it’s also quite a bit of information for them to absorb at once. So I’m now working to make better and more sustainable programs for these volunteers, so they can contribute meaningfully to the map, have an easier introduction to OSM and HOT’s projects, as well as grow their interest in OpenStreetMap as a whole, and continue on their mapper journey outside corporate volunteering.
Besides being a total map lover, Nicole can be found knitting, hiking, going to art museums and film festivals, and hanging out with her beloved dog, Yuki.
What are your goals in your role in the next 6-12 months?
The goal I’m most excited to complete is getting MapSwipe for Web up and running with the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT). MapSwipe is a really cool project that lets folks find, compare, and validate mapping and satellite imagery. It’s an accessible way for beginners to work with mapping, and it even helps illustrate important validation principles in a way that’s a lot easier to grasp than just throwing folks right into mapping. I think it’s going to make corporate volunteering much more effective, and it’ll be a great tool for many other volunteer mappers. It’s also just super fun to work with the HeiGIT team!
What fulfills you most about your role?
I work very frequently with folks who are brand new to OSM, and it’s super exciting to introduce them to the project. They often arrive with the goal to contribute from the humanitarian side of things, but I also like to let them know about all the other cool tools out there, and all the neat and interesting ways they could get involved in OSM in their own communities.
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading Swarmwise by Rick Falkvinge, a recommendation from Jorieke Vyncke at MSF. Many of the concepts can easily be applied to OSM communities, and it’s truly a fascinating read.
What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
I enjoy artsy activities, such as hitting up a museum or film festival. I especially like contemporary art. I also love any day that I can take my dog out into nature and watch her run around. Her joy is contagious!
Learn more about Nicole here.