Humanitarian OSM Team

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Hot logo.svg
The mapkibera project ( is training local people of Kibera, Nairobi to create and own their map with OpenStreetMap
OpenStreetMap being used by search & rescue teams after the Haiti earthquake.

The community responded rapidly creating the best map resources available. Our maps continue to be used for redevelopment planning, and HOT people are currently on-the-ground in Haiti giving training in use and improvement of the data

From the beginning of OpenStreetMap the benefit of open data for humanitarian aid and economic development was anticipated. The idea proved its worth during the Haiti earthquake in 2010. HOT was incorporated in the immediate aftermath, August 2010 as a US Non-profit, and became a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization in 2013. Anyone is welcome to contribute to the HOT mission via our Tasking Manager all you need is an OpenStreetMap Username, the only thing we ask is that you try to uphold the same Code of Conduct as our Members, see our HOT Membership Code.

HOT Mission and Objectives

Mission Statement

  • The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) applies the principles of open source and open data sharing towards humanitarian response and economic development.

Core Objectives

  • connecting point between humanitarian actors and open mapping communities
  • remote data creation during crises
  • collection and organization of existing data sources
  • deployments to the field
  • distribution point for free data
  • developing open knowledge and tools

Advocacy, Training and Outreach

  • mapping parties
  • Communicating and meeting with humanitarian actors and United Nations technical communities

Thinking and Design

  • promotion of crowd-sourcing and simple web standards for data sharing
  • technical improvements to OSM and OSGeo in response to field requirements (offline support, verification, format adaptors, multi-master sync..)


Global Volunteer Community

There are many ways to contribute to the mission of HOT, see the HOT Guide for the basics. All we ask is that you govern yourself as best you can using our Code of Conduct, found in our HOT Membership Code

Voting Member Community

Dedicated volunteers who have been elected and make up the voting community are listed here: Main article: Humanitarian OSM Team/Members

Board of Directors and Officers

Our current Board of Directors, elected from the Membership as well as our leadership team and its history can be found at Main article: Humanitarian OSM Team/Board Elections


How to Get Involved

HOT has many diverse community roles. In a Community Sprint, we designed the following types:


  • Training and mentorship programme to cross-train new leaders with the goal to have more leaders and less burnout
  • This role includes storytellers and communicators.


  • Outreach to share about learnosm and how to get involve into HOT
  • Clean up general communications on wiki and websites to provide a clear path to Get Involved
  • Research Communities to outreach to (see below)
    • Collaborators: Create a list of common friends of OSM who might help with surge support in various areas eg. Mozilla, hubs, etc (something that can also link with connectors/teachers regarding leaders)
    • OSM Contributors: Begin a wider OSM outreach plan (coordinated with respect) to get active mappers involved in HOT more.
    • New Communities to reach out

Partners/Mission Supporters

  • Need policy and guidance on how to mutual communication with partners, a W3 ( who does what when)

there are some items in membership code of conduct.

  • This group includes researchers.


  • Setting process for how to get devs involved in the tech working group (more outreach, clear tasks)
  • Promote the tools we have developed

Business of Mapping

  • Talking points for the membership on how to talk with partners and potential funders
  • outreach strategy to get these folks involved and/or supporting HOT

Getting Started

Notice: A more formal definition of projects (humanitarian mapping projects and activations) is being developed, see HOT activation

Learning to Map

The vast majority of our volunteer needs are for OpenStreetMap contributors. To get started contributing to OpenStreetMap, visit LearnOSM (

Remote Mapping

Humanitarian Mapping Projects (HMP) are the immediate responses to natural disasters, political crises, and other humanitarian crises where current geographic data is needed and the OSM data is currently being or will be used by local communities and/or responders. Generally, these HMP are launched by active HOT participants who remotely coordinate mapping with Humanitarian actors and other first responders, and the local OSM community. If the situation becomes complex the individual(s) or local community are encouraged to reach out to HOT; our team will decide to Activate officially, to indicate that this is a high priority for the organisation, and invite other NGO's to collaborate. These decisions take into account other HMP and/or Activations we are currently supporting or monitoring, the potential impact on the project beneficiaries, and our current capacity and capability to provide assistance.

Volunteers can directly contribute to current activities by mapping on the HOT Tasking Manager.

Community Activities

Participate in or Lead Working Groups

Our Working Groups are those which perform the more 'business' like work of HOT, see Working Groups SubPage for a list, description, and contact information.

Attend Meetings

  • Most HOT meetings, sprints, etc. are open to all, join us!
  • Visit Meetings for details. (Includes Board meeting minutes)

Current Remote Mapping Activities

Help plant grass roots OSM Communities

HOT is involved with locally working in areas vulnerable to natural disaster, recovering after a disaster, or in economic transition to develop a local OSM community, create partnerships with local governments, academics, and geographers to utilize and contribute to OSM. These Initiatives on the ground include:

The Missing Maps Project

The Missing Maps Project is an open collaboration founded by HOT, Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the British Red Cross. It aims to map the parts of the world where the most vulnerable people live within two years.

Building on the excellent work done by Open Street Map and others in emergency response mapping, the Missing Maps Project aims to map in a proactive way. Instead of responding to a natural disaster, conflict or epidemic, regions vulnerable to crises are identified and mapped in anticipation of crises, meaning that when one occurs, local people, NGOs and other responders can start using the maps and the data from the word go, saving valuable time, and potentially, lives.

See the Missing Maps Project page for more details.

Current Remote Mapping Actions

Year Action
2014 Activation, 2014_West_Africa_Ebola_Response 2014, March - ongoing
2014 Activation, Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola Response - ongoing
2013 Activation, Central Africa Republic (CAR) Crisis Response - ongoing
2013 Activation, South Sudan Crisis Response - ongoing
2013 Humanitarian Mapping Project, Tharparkar Drought in Pakistan - ongoing

Past Remote Mapping Actions

Year Action
2009 2009, September - Philippines - Ondoy
... Iran -- Post-Election Crisis
... Gaza
2010 2010-01 Haitian Earthquake
... AlbanianFloodingCrisisCamp
... 2010 07 Pakistan Floods
... 2010 Alagoas Flooding
... 2010 Yushu earthquake
... 2010 Chile earthquake
... 2010 Storm Megi/Juan
... 2010 Colombia floods
... 2010 Shkoder Flooding
... 2010-03 Cyclone Tomas over Wallis and Futuna
2011 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami
... Libya crisis
... 2011 Christchurch earthquake
... 2011 Rio de Janeiro Flooding
... 2011 Richelieu river flooding
... Horn of Africa Famine
... 2011 Samoa Cyclone Simulation
2012 2012 Flooding in Senegal
... May - Refugee Camps in Ethiopia & Kenya (Camp Roberts)
... En:WikiProject Ivory Coast
... 2012 Activation for South and North-Kivu, DR Congo
... 2012-2013 Mali Crisis
2013 2013 Humanitarian Mapping Project for Uttarakhand, India
... Typhoon Haiyan Response (Philippines)

Other HOT Activities to Date


Jobs, Internships, and Contracts

For the Media and the Nice Things They Have Said


  • Official:
    • info @ - email to HOT staff
    • HOT mailing list - Moderate traffic announcements and discussion; ~836 subscribers as of 2 April 2014.
    • HOT blog - Details of some HOT activities (RSS). Feel free to contact us with a suggested text for blog posts.
    • OSM Tasking Manager - for coordinating the mapping tasks
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter bird.svg @hotosm - Twitter feed with quick-fire messages and links related to HOT
    • F icon.svg hotosm Facebook Page
  • Live Chat:


Presentations on HOT activities. Open-licensed slides are available for use in your own talk.



HOT in the Media

Related Initiatives and Partnerships

See also

External resources

  • [4] Humanitarian Response Portal, Administrative Boundaries, Populated places
  • [5] FAO, International and Administrative boundaries
  • [6] UN Second level Administrative boundaries (1:1'000'000)
  • [7], Administrative boundaries in development countries (License?)
  • [8] Administrative boundaries (Redistribution, or commercial use, is not allowed without prior permission)
  • [9] NGIS Populated places Geographic name files by countries
  • [10] FreeGisData List of GIS Ressources
  • Oxfam recent emergencies - google map. boo!
  • categories: politics & conflicts disasters & accidents- open licensed news