News

Posted by harry on Jun, 16 2011
On May 28th members of the OpenStreetMap community met with employees of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance ("Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe" or BBK) for an workshop in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany. The main goal of this event, taking place at the Academy for Crisis Management Emergency Planning and Civil Protection ("Akademie für Krisenmanagement, Notfallplanung und Zivilschutz" or AKNZ), was to inform active contributors of the OpenStreetMap community and employees of AKNZ and BBK about OpenStreetMap and crisis mapping. Read more about the presentations and practical workshops which took place with the full write up on blog.openstreetmap.de (in German) or the english translation.
Posted by Kate Chapman on May, 17 2011
HOT activated in December of 2010 for the Ivory Coast following the Presidential Election crisis. During that time the OpenStreetMap information collected has been used as a datasource for Mapaction and included in the Common Operational Datasets of OCHA. We have managed good coverage over Abidjan thanks to Bing and SPOT imagery as well as performed an import of SAFER data over Yopougon, this information wouldn't be nearly as useful without the local knowledge that was contributed as well.
Posted by harry on Mar, 21 2011
OpenStreetMap used as a basemap for live disaster reports We've all been too busy for blogging lately, but the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is of course responding to various world-wide events. There's been quite a few lately : Uprisings in Cairo triggered fresh efforts to improve the map of that city, and now there's an ongoing push to improve the mapping in Libya. OpenStreetMap had a pretty good map of Christchurch, New Zealand, in advance of the earthquake there, thanks to local mappers. Now we're looking at a death-toll of >8000 after the earthquake and tsunami devastation along the north-eastern coast of Japan.
Posted by Mikel Maron on Mar, 15 2011
The COSMHA team came in for a training today on aerial imagery tracing and some review of fundamentals. Despite the initial remote Haiti OSM response being 100% aerial imagery tracing, the team on the ground has focused exclusively on GPS. Why not expand on learning with an opportunity to contribute. We decided to focus imagery tracing on the HOT responses in Japan and Libya. Did you hear that? This is Haitian OpenStreetMap mappers contributing to Japan and Libya. Check out the edits by rlouin, jean presler, Perest Jonas, and senatusgesner.
Posted by Mikel Maron on Mar, 11 2011
Erica and I have been in Haiti for almost a week. Inspiring and overwhelming, and lots to talk about. But for this moment, just a small slice of what's going on. This is Rob Baker learning to survey with GPS in OpenStreetMap, being taught by Haiti OSM mapper Denny. Notice anything unusual? This is the foreign super-connected techie learning the ropes from a citizen of a Haiti that's still struggling to emerge from the earthquake over a year ago. One thing they mapped is this "Dodane", or speed bump. Perhaps the biggest change I've seen in Haiti this week is the proliferation of speed bumps on Logbase.
Posted by Mikel Maron on Feb, 17 2011
The Tufts University Crisis Mapping Class is surveying the tools, ideas, and networks in new approaches to crisis response. There was a class on OpenStreetMap last night, and Rosalind Sewell asked HOT to present to the students. Academic networks are going to be key to increasing the ability of HOT to respond to every crisis, so we're very happy for the invitation. Christian Spanring stepped up to lead the session. Reports are that it went really well, and that the students want more! Here's Christian with some lessons for HOT from the class.. I think it went well, but for an evaluation you would need to ask students ;-) For future student/class sessions, I think it would help to narrow down the objective a little more, get a better sense about the students background, how tech/map savvy they are and what the class objectives are, what is it what they want to learn or get out of it. You can obviously talk a long time about OSM and what's involved, which I did. the planned 15min ended up being about 45min and left only little room for hands-on.
Posted by Mikel Maron on Feb, 8 2011
Hello all, It's been an amazing year for OpenStreetMap and the H.O.T. community. We've supported humanitarian efforts and built capacities on every continent. Starting this month, there are almost 40 Haitians working on OSM full-time supporting the cholera response as the result of efforts by the community. We've incorporated HOT as a formal organization and are in the final stretch of obtaining 501c3 certification. Thanks to a partnership with SPOT we have increased access to raw imagery and there are ongoing conversations with a few other providers that will hopefully provide an even greater range of options soon. But there's a lot of work left to be done. Many goals which we've set out for ourselves that we haven't yet reached. The great news is that there are a lot of people who would like to be more involved. A few of us thought an open conference call would let members of the community share what they've been working on, prioritize a few projects that could use some extra hands, and find some general consensus on how to best move forward.
Posted by robert on Jan, 26 2011
As an organization, HOT is almost 100% bootstrapped.  We are volunteer driven with most of our costs being project related and paid for by the organizations we partner with.  However, in the past few months we've received some very generous donations from a few companies who are very active in OpenStreetMap and open-source GIS communities.  These funds will go to helping us scale as an organization, starting an internship program, and developing custom software tools to improve our workflows.  More news on both of these exciting projects soon. They will also help us pay for more boring, but utterly necessary things like an accountant, web hosting, and insurance when we send people to parts of the world undergoing crisis to provide support, training, and data.  Without this, we would not be able to carry on our work, promoting the use of OpenStreetMap in humanitarian response.
Posted by harry on Jan, 25 2011
It is my pleasure to present the new Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team logo: Throughout December we held a logo design competition, inviting the community to put forward a logo for our organisation. Despite a fairly short deadline, we received lots of entries, and we were very impressed by the quality of the designs. We'd like to thank all the competition entrants for taking the time and applying their talents to come up with logo designs, but we had to pick one logo as the winner.
Posted by robert on Jan, 14 2011
A new organization has been formed to sustain, support, and grow the local OpenStreetMap Community in Haiti.  COSMHA, or Comunite OpenStreetMap de Haiti, was formed in late 2010 by a group of mappers from Port au Prince with the goal of ensuring that the best map data for Haiti is created by Haitians and available to anyone to use and improve. COSMHA Workshop at IOM offices in Gonaives COSMHA now has over 200 members, primarily from Port au Prince, but active groups are working in several other communities including Leogane, Jacmel, and Gonaives.  The group came into existence in the months following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti as a result of a partnership between the Community Forum of Cite Soleil and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).
Posted by nicolas on Dec, 30 2010
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) activated as political tension increased dramatically in Ivory Coast in the aftermath of the presidential election this late December 2010.  The risk of seeing the post electoral dispute escalating in a major political crisis is real. As we know, maps can help with the relief efforts as responders on the ground grapple with problems like lack of  reliable baseline data to monitor, plan, implement and coordinate relief and recovery/development activities. So"¦ How can OpenStreetMap help? We are coordinating mapping activities on the Ivory Coast wiki pages. This includes:
Posted by Kate Chapman on Nov, 24 2010
Since March HOT has been holding trainings in Haiti on how to contribute to OpenStreetMap. We've travel to many of the earthquake effected areas such as Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Léogâne, Carrefour and Pétionville. As well as traveling to Gonaïves, which while not effected by the earthquake has been effected by flooding and the cholera epidemic. One of the successes has been teaching GPS data collection and editing within the Java OpenStreetMap editor. We have not had as much success helping people make maps from the data they have created. In OpenStreetMap this is often the case for many people. If you have an expensive smart phone or a GPS unit there are plenty of ways to use the data. If you have a phone just capable of SMS and calls there are not as many ways to utilize it. There are various projects for printing maps, but they are not as flexible as they could be. Usually designed for a specific project such as printing street maps for example. HOT is hoping to change this by making a proposal to the Knight News Challenge.
Posted by ivan on Nov, 17 2010
This post has simultaneously published at the Spanish Spatial Data Infrastructures blog Last week was a small adventure. I went to Mozambique to make maps, as part of theYouth Empowerment through Arts and Media program. The main goal was to train youngsters in order for them to be capable to make a basic cartography of the surrounding rural communities. This travel is part of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team activities. After the successes of Kibera and Haiti, we want to check how much we can help by providing cartography.
Posted by nicolas on Sep, 8 2010
It has been one week since Kate and I came back from Haiti where HOT deployed to grow OSM capacities within the Communication Unit of the International Organization of Migrations (IOM-CU) in support of its community information kiosk project. This project aims at rolling out community information kiosks in more than 200 camps by the end of December. This network of kiosks will allow for two ways communication between international and national relief and reconstruction workers and affected populations. Responders will use these kiosks to disseminate key messages (including mapping products) to affected persons living in the camps which in return can propagate their own messages back to responders. Maps of the camps featuring key information for both responders and inhabitants are one of the information items that will be published as hardcopy through this kiosks network. This cartography will result from community mapping scheme lead by the IOM-CU kiosk mapping unit and its partners powered with tailored data collection and cartographic materials assembled by HOT.
Posted by harry on Sep, 4 2010
The coverage of the SPOT imagery has recently been shifted and much extended, to cover a great deal more of the flood affected area of Pakistan, as shown here: Updated SPOT coverage boundary relation Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA
Posted by harry on Aug, 25 2010
In July Pakistan was hit by massive flooding. Monsoon rainfall continues to feed the floods and the flood itself has killed tens of thousands of people. But now destroyed homes, destroyed crops, and spread of disease are threatening millions. As we know, maps can help with the relief efforts as responders on the ground grapple with problems like lack of road access for distributing aid. Coordination of long term recovery will also require maps. So... How can OpenStreetMap help? We are coordinating mapping activities on the Pakistan Floods wiki pages. This includes:
Information Kiosk
Posted by Kate Chapman on Aug, 22 2010
Information Kiosk (image courtesy Leonard Doyle) Nicolas and I are back down in Haiti until the end of August. There was just as much preparation this time, but less fanfare. Being well practiced at the general logistics of our missions we were able to focus more on the actual tasks for this trip. Our focus has changed from general OpenStreetMap training and data collection to focus on mapping within settlements and camps. HOT is working within the IOM (International Office on Migrations) Communications Department. The goal it to not only put data into OpenStreetMap about the settlements/camps but also have printed map products that the residents can access. This has involved adding additional tags to the HDM (Humanitarian Data Model) as well as custom cartography so the settlement/camp specific information shows up. The printed maps are going to be posted in kiosks along with other community information.
Posted by tellermann on Jun, 28 2010
Membership on the HOT team is quite the trying experience. There are always long days of work with early mornings and late nights. It's not uncommon to miss a meal and end up in an uncomfortable bed if you are lucky, on the floor if you are not. Every couple days there is a long ride in an uncomfortable car followed immediately by hours of trainings. Then there is the frustrating waiting while unexpected delays and problems get worked out.  At one point during one of the delays I asked myself. Is all the time and money and effort put into this really worth it? Here are some of the experiences we have had that helped me answer that question. We have trained literally hundreds of eager Haitians in mapping and there will be more before we leave. Where ever we go and people find out what we are up to they are interested and even excited to learn of our work. There is an obvious desire and need for an accurate map of Haiti. At one point after selling us some SIM cards for our phones the salesman quizzed us on OSM for fifteen minutes complaining about how expensive and inaccurate the maps available were and excitedly asking over and over "It's free? It's free?"
Posted by nicolas on Jun, 28 2010
The final day of HOT's third deployment to Haiti was no less busy than all the other days.  This training day did in a way mark a culmination of all the previous work.  Class occured in Carrefour, which was one of the metropolitan areas worst hit by the quake.   Personnel from organizations active in the Shelter Cluster trained on the OSM stack and joined the IOM teams engaged in OSM base lines surveying. The training was entirely facilitated by the personnel from CNIGS and from the Forum Communautaire of Cite Soleil (FOCS) under contract with IOM.    Abed (GIS) and Emmanuel (Head of surveys) from CNIGS lead both the training and surveying. This event was a result training delivered the previous week to Shelter Cluster workers at the UN Logbase as well as the follow-up work by IOM and Shelter Cluster IM/GIS coordinator together with HOT. There were many organizations that helped bring this training together.  Logistics support was provided by The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), IOM and CARE.  ADRA provided our venue for training in basic editing in JOSM, IOM and CARE provided transport for the exercise.
Posted by Kate Chapman on Jun, 27 2010
The first actual mapping party of this mission was scheduled for 25-27 June in this town of Northern Haiti. In OpenStreetMap a mapping party is a group of people getting together to map an area. Mapping parties happen for silly reasons, such as to map a zoo and more serious such as an area has poor mapping coverage. Tomorrow's mapping party is because Gonaïves has poor map coverage and it is an opportunity for people to use their newly acquired surveying and editing skills.

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