Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

Applying the principles of open source and open data sharing to humanitarian response and socioeconomic development


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About the project Edit

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) uses the information available in the open data map OpenStreetMap (OSM) to fill in the gaps in base map data and assist responses to disasters and crisis.

In the same way that the OpenStreetMap data bridges missing information, HOT acts as a bridge between traditional humanitarian responders and the OpenStreetMap Community. HOT works both remotely and physically in countries to assist the collection of geographic data, usage of that information and training others in OpenStreetMap.

The bulk of HOT's activity happens remotely. Efforts are made to link the responding organization to available data and satellite imagery in times of crisis. A coordinator is assigned to each case to make sure that communication between HOT and different responding organizations and communities goes smoothly.

HOT also works physically on the ground in areas that are both prone to disaster, as well as those recovering. For example, HOT worked in Haiti in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake to gather geographical data for OpenStreetMap. Efforts were also made to train locals on how to use OpenStreetMap and gather mapping data. In terms of "data preparedness" efforts, HOT also works on gathering geodata in sensitive areas so it is readily available in times of crisis. A good example of this is HOT's activities in Indonesia.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

HOT activities are two-fold: To render available existing data according to humanitarian and socioeconomic needs, and to create new mapping data. The uniqueness of the project resides in the fact that it is completely open source (as is the OpenStreetMap project). Code is available on Github and HOT uses a CC by SA 3.0 license.

Apart from the open data aspect, HOT differentiates itself by the nature of the data it collects. HOT collects traditional geographic data (coordinates, roads, buildings), but also non-traditional data such as the construction type of buildings, roof types or building usage. This data shows itself very useful for preventive risk modeling and effective crisis response.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Comprehensive geographic data is vital in times of natural or political crisis. It helps responding organizations and communities know where services are, what roads to use, where water is accessible, etc. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team works on making available extensive and detailed map data to those who need it in times of crisis. HOT also trains locals on how to use OSM so they can themselves use and add data to OSM. University competitions are used to promote participation in the HOT/OSM project.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The HOT team has projects in Somalia, Haiti, Côte d'Ivoire and Indonesia. Since it is an open sourced project, anyone can contribute and get involved:

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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