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 it was anticipated that open, free map data would be a tremendous benefit for humanitarian aid and economic development. The idea was proved during the Haiti earthquake in 2010. HOT was incorporated in the immediate aftermath, August 2010, as a U.S. nonprofit 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. We ask only 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 to humanitarian response and economic development.

Core Objectives

  • To be the connecting point between humanitarian actors and open mapping communities
  • To provide remote data creation during crises
  • To collect and organize existing data sources
  • To support deployments to the field
  • To be a distribution point for free data
  • To develop open knowledge and tools

Advocacy, Training and Outreach

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

Thinking and Design

  • To promote crowd-sourcing and simple web standards for data sharing
  • To develop technical improvements to OSM and OSGeo in response to field requirements (off-line support, verification, format adaptors, multimaster 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 contributors govern themselves using our Code of Conduct, which is 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 program to cross-train new leaders with the goal to have more leaders and less burnout
  • This role includes storytellers and communicators.


  • Outreach to share the OSM educational web site learnosm ( and to show the community how to get involved in HOT
  • Clean up general communication on the wiki and web sites to provide a clear path for those who want to get involved
  • Develop target communities for outreach (see below)
    • Collaborators: Create a list of friends of OSM who might help with surge support in various areas (e.g. Mozilla, hubs, etc., as well as links with connectors/teachers regarding leaders)
    • OSM Contributors: Begin a wider OSM outreach plan (coordinated with respect) to get active mappers more involved with HOT.
    • Identify new communities for outreach

Partners/Mission Supporters

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

there are some items in membership code of conduct.

  • This group includes researchers.


  • Identify a process to get developers involved in the Tech Working Group (more outreach, clear tasks)
  • Promote the technical tools HOT has developed

Business of Mapping

  • Talking points for the membership to use with partners and potential funders
  • Expand outreach strategy to get partners and potential supporters involved with HOT

Getting Started

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

Learning to Map

The largest volunteer need of HOT is for OpenStreetMap contributors. To get them started contributing to OpenStreetMap, the community has developed a simple-to-use beginners guide called LearnOSM ( A series of quick lessons guide any new user through setting up an account and beginning to map.

Identifying Projects

Humanitarian mapping projects are the immediate responses to natural disasters, political crises and other destructive events. They are launched where up-to-date geographic data is needed and where OSM data currently is being used or will be used by local communities and/or responders. Generally, these projects are launched by active HOT participants who coordinate the remote mapping with the needs of humanitarian actors and other first responders, and with the local OSM community. If a situation becomes complex, individual(s) or local communities are encouraged to reach out to HOT. If the HOT team decides it can take on a project, it will do an official "activation," which indicates that this crisis is a high priority for the organization. The team also may invite other NGOs to collaborate. These decisions take into account which humanitarian mapping projects and/or activations HOT currently is supporting or monitoring, as well as the potential impact on the project beneficiaries and our current capability to provide assistance.

The HOT Tasking Manager

The Tasking Manager is a tool that divides large mapping tasks into small sections to make them easier for volunteers to manage. The Tasking Manager also includes background information on the locale to be mapped, as well as information about what kind of data is needed (road, schools, etc., and how to recognize them). Volunteers can contribute directly to current activities through the HOT Tasking Manager.

Community Activities

Participate in or Lead Working Groups

Our working groups perform the "businesslike" work of HOT. See Working Groups SubPage for a list and descriptions of the working groups and their 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 locally, working in areas vulnerable to natural disaster, recovering after a disaster, or in economic transition. HOT tries to develop a local OSM community and to create partnerships with local governments, academics and geographers who can use 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), American and British Red Cross. It aims to map, within two years, the parts of the world where the most vulnerable people live. 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, it will identify regions vulnerable to crises will map them in anticipation of crises. This means that, when a crisis does occur, local people, NGOs and other responders can start using the maps and the data immediately, saving valuable time and, potentially, lives.

See the Missing Maps Project page for more details.

Current Remote Mapping Actions

Year Action
2014 Activation, Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby)
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


  • Official:
    • To email HOT staff directly: info @
    • HOT mailing list - Moderate traffic announcements and discussion; ~836 subscribers as of 2 April 2014.
    • HOT blog - Details of HOT activities (RSS). Feel free to contact us with a suggested text for blog posts.
    • OSM Tasking Manager - The HOT tool to coordinate the mapping tasks
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter bird.svg @hotosm - Twitter feed with 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 presentations.



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