Humanitarian OSM Team/Working groups/Activation/Activating local volunteers

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Activating local volunteers

Having contacts with local people during a HOT activation can be very useful in order to have feedback on the OSM information collected so far and to obtain some categories of geographic information that a remote effort cannot get. It also can prepare a potential ground deployment.

However, even through people who are directly or indirectly known by one Hottie, this remote activation is not easy to start and coordinate. One first key may be to explain clearly basic OSM concepts and to present what kinds of contributions these local volunteers can make, considering their equipment (especially the Internet connection), their skills and their involvement in the OSM response. What is needed is something clear and consistent regarding what kinds of information to map and how to do it.

Explaining the OSM concepts

What would be the best way to explain the OSM concepts to people from the civil society? Switch2osm may be a good start point but it seems available only in English so far.

Contributing as a local volunteer

Regarding the info, anyone could be able to provide:

  • at a small scale, numbers for roads that are already traced
  • at a higher scale, street names and main POIs

Whether or not they can contribute more-specialized information depends on the profiles of the local volunteers.

Regarding how to contribute, how to use walking papers and/or, rather than having to spend time to learn how to handle JOSM or even Potlatch. is also lighter than Potlatch, which can make a difference in countries where the Internet connections are slow. could be an alternative: an explicit pop-up regarding OSM concepts, the capacity to choose the error type with a drop-down list or to add a nickname. However it may seem more complicated for a newbie + it displays by default the Mapquest rendering, not Mapnik.