Humanitarian OSM Team/Working groups/Activation/meeting 2014-07-08

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Meeting on Tue July 8th 2014 to discuss HOT activation. Lasted 1.5 hours.

The specific Hackpad is still the live shared document for the Working Group to exchange ideas.


The discussion mostly focused on the use of Trello, tested as planned for the CAR Activation as a tasking tool. Decision to test it for Ebola Activation as well. Seems public access to Trello (vs specific people) is not free, so this service would be used between Activators leads and most involved volunteers to easily share tasks (with reminders, due time, etc). Wiki would remain the public document for Activation. Feedback from a volunteer participating to the AWG (yalla) shows the wiki remain an essential access point to activations.

Co-working on documentation of activation procedures still to be done and scheduled between those interested to set this. is the draft for the TORs produced after the meeting for review and modifications.

Discussion about how to make things progress between monthly meetings: weekly meetings on specific topics, ad-hoc scheduling on a specific topic between the interested people, informal discussions on Mumble followed by reporting key points are proposed, but no decision is taken.

Action points

  • Test of Trello on Ebola Activation after test on CAR Activation

Still pending from June meeting:

  • Defining TORs for the Activation Working Group (document stating the goals and topics addressed within the AWG)
  • Set specific meetings for the main points:
    • Activation review meeting
    • coordination meetings for current activations
    • documentation/procedures meetings

Next AWG should occur monthly every 2nd Tuesday. Next one will on August 12, 2PM UTC.

IRC log

<russdeffner> hello
<sev_hotosm> Lot of people today, great!
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<sev_hotosm> yalla did I convince you to come? :)
<yalla> hu, yeah, why not? i'm on vacation and it's raining anyway;-)
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<pierzen> Hey you are closed to me then :)
<sev_hotosm> so last time we had several action points:
<sev_hotosm> pierzen It is rainy today as well and we are not close at all! :)
<sev_hotosm> Let us start by the actions points that have been done
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<sev_hotosm> We (rbanick, ClaireH, Amadou and I) tested Trello and it works well
<sev_hotosm> a limitation for regular events (like sending reminders to monitor reliefweb every week)
<sev_hotosm> though
<sev_hotosm> pierzen do you use it for Ebola?
<pierzen> We only use skype
<sev_hotosm> Trello is useful for tasking, not to communicate
<sev_hotosm> if someone wants to have an eye, I can give access to the one for the CAR Activation, there is nothing secret
<mkl> perhaps we can start using it for the ebola activation. if someone familiar with trello could guide in its use
<sev_hotosm> to have acss you need to provide an email address I think
<mkl> sev_hotosm: can the trello be made publicly readable? or is it white-list only?
<sev_hotosm> basically it is super easy
<mkl> (i'd like to check out the CAR instance)
<sev_hotosm> mkl by default it is white list, need to check if it can be made public
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<yalla> sorry if I need to ask, but what does CAR stand for?
<mkl> central africa republic
<mkl> african
<pierzen> Where there is a civil war.
<yalla> alright, thanks
<sev_hotosm> mkl for some task I would like not to make them public eg if the task is to contact such person in such organization to facilitate something or to reuse the data
<sev_hotosm> *tasks
<mkl> yes, agreed
<sev_hotosm> so it can be either public/organization/private
<AndrewBuck> hello all, just saw the email about the new time.  :)
<sev_hotosm> so maybe we could have a public board and an organization one where it deals with tasks to persons?
<sev_hotosm> I mean for every activation
<sev_hotosm> AndrewBuck sorry :(
<mkl> that could get a little complicated to have two, but i suppose worth trying
<AndrewBuck> sev_hotosm: no prblem.
<pierzen> public instance, how this fits with the wiki ?
<AndrewBuck> either time works fine for me anyway.
<mkl> pierzen: example of wiki usage for coordination among activation group?
<AndrewBuck> From what I understand (haven't used it yet) but trello is better for tracking progress and whatnot than manually doing it on the wiki. I think there are also phone apps and such so that you can have your phone alert you when a task has been pushed to you, for rapid response times, etc.
<sev_hotosm> pierzen need to be discussed/tested but maybe the wiki would be more to list things done
<Tallguy> can you have a local instance of trello in case of internet problems?
<sev_hotosm> from my personal experience, people do not pick tasks in the wiki
<AndrewBuck> People may not see the wiki for some time. I only check it once a day at most, even during activations, as there are too many things to track, having tasks pushed to people works much better.
<AndrewBuck> Tallguy: I think it is a hosted service, so no.
<mkl> just to be clear, by "tasks" we're not refering to the tasking manager, but to things the coordination group needs done
<sev_hotosm> Tallguy I do not know, maybe rbanick would as he used it in the Philippines
<AndrewBuck> He said it works well in low bandwidth situations, but you do need some connectivity.
<sev_hotosm> mkl exactly TM tasks are part of the tasks that need to be done during an Activation
<sev_hotosm> eg in the Trello for CAR Activation
<sev_hotosm> Find and make add the arrondissements in Bangui
<AndrewBuck> sev_hotosm: yeah, this is things like "check this imagery provider", go see ifthere are old maps available, etc. Not for repeatable stuff over an area like TM.
<sev_hotosm> Find new contributors to finish the import of UNICEF wash objects (TM job #253)
<sev_hotosm> Define tags for a damage assessment with HIU imagery in Bossangoa
<AndrewBuck> yeah, exactly.
<sev_hotosm> Check the sources in Health data from COD/FOD to see if some could be contacted regarding a potential import
<sev_hotosm> etc
<sev_hotosm> and some of them can be to specific people
<sev_hotosm> so there are tasks for Activation leads and others that are to everyone
<AndrewBuck> I did just check it looks like there are both android and ios apps for trello.
<AndrewBuck> It would also be nice to have an ongoing one for new activations and have all the main coordinators get the trello apps so if something new springs up we can send out the "bat signal" and decide immediately how we want to respond.
<AndrewBuck> In the past it always takes 6 to 12 hours before everyone makes the rounds and sees that there is something new going on, that slows down the activations quite a bit.
<sev_hotosm> yes we cold test that too
<sev_hotosm> *could
<pierzen> it's the rain :)
<sev_hotosm> sunny now!
<pierzen> eh! the same here
<sev_hotosm> and you can ask members for each tasks and due date
<sev_hotosm> so it is kind of easy to coordinate
<sev_hotosm> what the wiki does not
<AndrewBuck> So are we agreed that this looks like a good thing to use then?
<AndrewBuck> I haven't tested it but I trust robert's opinion on it so I am in.
<AndrewBuck> Sounds like sev_hotosm and mkl are too. Pierre?
<sev_hotosm> I will create one public but the main thing will be: how people will get acess to it?
<pierzen> At the same time, let's be careful to use this as tools and not as bureaucratic ways of doing things. We have to keep capacity to work fluidly if I can say.
<mkl> from my view of it, its an extremely fluid system
<AndrewBuck> sev_hotosm: you mean how will peole in the field access it, or the general opublic?
<sev_hotosm> yalla how do you access to information regarding Activations?
<sev_hotosm> hot website, wikipage or Tasking Manager?
<mkl> would be good to give it a try for ebola
<AndrewBuck> well for the general public the same way they always have, this is more for us internally on the "core team" that actually run most of the activations, as well as those who help on a specific activation.
<AndrewBuck> mkl: we could, I think RC is already using it with their field teams.
<yalla> sev_hotosm: i don't access them at all at the moment; i just found out about it on monday and started plotting along :-)
<sev_hotosm> pierzen I agree. Basically I find it more easy than putting this on a paper and useful to coordinate with Amadou for CAR activation
<Tallguy> Public access to some of the info seems limited to Business class at $5 per user per month
<yalla> so well, i went to the wiki and was guided to the OSM Tasking Manager
<mkl> sev_hotosm: i think how activation details are accessed might be a different / bigger question. there are many places where activation information is maintained.
<AndrewBuck> Can someone set up an "instance" or whatever trello calls it for the ebola thing? I know nothing about the admin, so better if someone experienced sets one up who knows not just the process but the conventions, etc.
<sev_hotosm> we also have a PAD on a Gdoc to track our actions per day, but what I basically like with Trello is the possibility to have reminders
<AndrewBuck> yalla: and that is probably how it will continue to work for the general public and most volunteers.
<mkl> i think this could mean either a set structure for the wiki. or a new content type for the site, which just provides an overview of the resources and status of each activation
<sev_hotosm> mkl IMHO the main elements adn things done need to be put on the wikipage
<AndrewBuck> yalla: on a typical activation we do dozens of pages of discussion behind the scenes to assess priorities, get imagery, set up TM jobs, etc, this is to manage all that stuff that most people don't see.
<sev_hotosm> mkl I think the public Trello should yes be accessible from, wiki and also the TM v2
<mkl> sure. the main thing is that whatever summary listing we have out there, should be maintained.
<sev_hotosm> TM v2 will have page per Activation or project right?
<mkl> yes, it will have groupings of jobs
<sev_hotosm> and with Trello we can also add a reminder to state if yes or no the Activation should be continued
<AndrewBuck> sev_hotosm: I am not even sure we need public access on the trello instance though. It is only meant to be used by a small group anyway.
<mkl> for instance, Haiyan is still listed as active here
<sev_hotosm> grouping of jobs + possibility to add an external link?
<sev_hotosm> to the wikipage or Trello ?
<yalla> AndrewBuck: I see; in my other projects we use a simple redmine trouble ticket tool for pretty much everythings. works via webinterface and email, tracks status, assigns people, alerts when deadlines aren't met and the such. also does reporting. but this trello thing doesn't sound too bad
<sev_hotosm> would be good wikipage, website and TMv2 easily connect together
<Tallguy> It's not all free if you want public access - see
<AndrewBuck> yalla: that is basically what it is, just with a bit more around the edges like the apps to do push remiinders and such.
<yalla> AndrewBuck: sounds good.
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<AndrewBuck> Tallguy: yeah, that was why I was saying we might not need public access, if we just use it for the kind of coordination we do on skype now (which is also not public) we could get by with the free one.
<mkl> not sure about links from the grouping page initially on the TM. that sounds possible to do, will ping pgiraud about it
<sev_hotosm> Tallguy Ah. Otherwise does someone knowif such platform has a opensource equivalent?
<AndrewBuck> If it works well and we can see a compelling reason to use it publicly then that makes sense, but to start with I think the core team could use it without.
<Tallguy> AndrewBuck - sounds good for that. as soon as you want someone to do a task, they will be in the complete access group though - is that a problem?
<AndrewBuck> probably not, the people we bring in to work on stuff at that level are usually trusted anyway. If not, we can assign someone in the group to go out and get that person to do the work without sharing the confidential bits.
<AndrewBuck> i.e. the trello task would be "alfred, go have bob do xyz..."
<AndrewBuck> where alfred is on trello and bob is not.
<AndrewBuck> but that will be rare I think, more often it is just the activation leads who will need to do these tasks anyway.
<Tallguy> The free version looks good for that, but it could be good to have our own copy of the data afterwards in case the system alters for Trello - new owners or whatever...
<sev_hotosm> Tallguy our own copy of the data?
<Tallguy> sev_hotosm are there ever questions afterwards? Do you need to refer back to things?
<sev_hotosm> once done I would put the tasks in the wiki, if public
<mkl> though it is helpful to have a log of what happened, for evaluation and review purposes
<AndrewBuck> Yes, the logs are helpful but not so critical that if we lost really old ones we would be out by that much.
<AndrewBuck> Any review likely to take place is likely to be in the month or so after the event ends or it will never happen.
<sev_hotosm> for those who already experienced it, would OpenAtrium be able to do what Trello does?
<AndrewBuck> Haven't used either myself.
<mkl> it does have fine grained permissions
<mkl> i'd have to take a look at trello first to compare (can i get access to CAR version)
<mkl> i expect the usability of trello to be better
<sev_hotosm> IMHO the interface is not very easy
<mkl> the interface of trello? or of atrium?
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<sev_hotosm> atrium
<mkl> oh yes, it's a bit of a headache, but does the job. OA1 was better UX wise
<nico_osm> atrium could hold all features we are interested into one place, but it's right that it has been not easy to use efficiently both in Board (speaking for myself) or in operations
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<pierzen> about TMv2 I see that integration of HTML instructions has been removed. This has give us a lot of flexibility so far. As I said before, I do not agree with the removal of this functionality.
<nico_osm> it looks like testing trello in compliment to wiki (we will always have one), gdoc and skype is worth
<sev_hotosm> we can continue to test Trello for CAR and if you want you can do it with Ebola
<nico_osm> this makes sense
<mkl> pierzen: markdown will do what HTML did before
<sev_hotosm> you have more people involved so the test will be different
<nico_osm> I am not sure if we shall also try to get atrium a go in coordinating one crisis response
<mkl> i think it would be useful to try
<AndrewBuck> pierzen: yeah, we discussed this yesterday in tech wg. pgiraud is going to work on a conversion script to try to transition as much html as possible to markdown autmatically (all the simple tags basically) and then we can manually clean up the stuff the script doesn't get.
<nico_osm> may be we can have ebola on atrium/ and keep up CAR on trello
<sev_hotosm> who would like to test Atrium?
<pgiraud> AndrewBuck, actually, I tried and unfortunately the HTML code is too messy
<pgiraud> I cannot convert it correctly
<pgiraud> I will help will manual conversion of course
<sev_hotosm> pgiraud is this from the jobs I created?
<AndrewBuck> pgiraud: can you at least get the bold and italics tags?
<AndrewBuck> I understand not being able to do div tags and the like.
<mkl> we might be off topic here, going into TM tech work?
<pgiraud> sev_hotosm, for some of them yes
<pgiraud> unclosed tags, or syntax errors
<sev_hotosm> pgiraud OK we connect later for me to clean them
<pgiraud> AndrewBuck, doing part of the job will result in something still messy
<AndrewBuck> mkl: yeah sorry.
<AndrewBuck> we will talk later then
<AndrewBuck> regarding open atrium, can it do push notificatioons to phones, etc? If not then I would be against it, the whole problem we have now is that we can't rely on people to check for tasks assigned to them. Adding another thing to check makes this worse, not better.
<mkl> AndrewBuck: it has email notification
<AndrewBuck> That could work I guess, the problem though is we all get piles of email so we can't really alert on "email recieved". Somthing coming from trello though should be much more limited and directed at you, so you can have a more pronounced alerting system.
<AndrewBuck> that is why I like the app idea so much, although admittedly I have not tried them out yet but I think it was stated they do do this kind of thing.
<sev_hotosm> what would be the pros for Atrium?
<russdeffner> As far as I know OA doesn't have 'tasking', you can subscribe to a thread but not much else
<mkl> finer grained permissions. has both task assignment, blog posting, file attachments. we're already using it for board, and will plan to use it for other membership activities
<mkl> russdeffner: actually it does have tasks
<mkl> we just don't use it very much, yet
<russdeffner> ok, hadn't come across that yet
<mkl> hey y'all, i gotta run to the airport shortly. so just to put it out there, we didn't make any progress on documentation of activation procedures. this is something we should do soon, meet to co-work on the docs, in the next couple weeks.
<Tallguy> I also have to go now
<AndrewBuck> Ok, should we just end the meeting then, or continue?
<yalla> may i ask a question?
<sev_hotosm> so yes we just talked about Trello, good thing but I would say we maybe should have now sub meetings for this
<sev_hotosm> yalla sure!
<yalla> if someone validates an area previously being mapped by someone in the Tasking Manager, will there be feedback about what was wrong?
<yalla> Don't want to make the same mistakes over and over again (I mentioned that in one email earlier)
<sev_hotosm> Regarding TORs, I started a draft, would be good to continue together
<Tallguy> yalla, yes click on any of the squares you have completed & has been validated to see validators comments
<sev_hotosm> yalla I think the TMv2 will do this
<yalla> ah, ok - seems like none of my tiles has been validated yet
<yalla> thanks
<sev_hotosm> yall you mean receiving an alert in your OSM mailbox?
<sev_hotosm> pgiraud is there somth for this?
<michael63> I spent the last weekend basically validating task #578 and whenever I found some systematic errors by some user I contacted that one directly so that he knows what to pay attention to in the future
<sev_hotosm> is the draft for the TORs
<yalla> sev_hotosm: no, just a comment if validation of one tile wasn't approved
<AndrewBuck> yalla: validation doesn't get done that often.
<michael63> sorry, meant #572 instead of #578
<Tallguy> yalla, I will try to check some of yours later this evening
<yalla> AndrewBuck: allright... well, since I'm pretty new I figured that the objetives here a different from regular mapping (eg different focus)
<yalla> Tallguy: that'd be great, thanks
<AndrewBuck> yalla: not to different really, just roads and buildings for the most part, same as anywhere.
<yalla> cool
<pgiraud> sev_hotosm, yes, something in the same manner
<sev_hotosm> TOR Draft: I put the notion of sub WB (maybe need to be rephrased) cause we cannot fulfill everything in one hour a month
<sev_hotosm> as this meeting proved :)
<sev_hotosm> pgiraud Great!
<pierzen> Something before finishing. It is essential when you receive communications from outside about Activations to inform the Coordinators of the Activation.
<sev_hotosm> it is the first Hackpad I create actually, do I need to do smth to make it public?
<pierzen> If they request services of any kind.
<sev_hotosm> pierzen yes, defintely
<sev_hotosm> russdeffner I see you in the HackPad :)
<sev_hotosm> so it seems it is public
<russdeffner> sev_hotosm: yes, and able to view as guest
<sev_hotosm> but not edit?
<Tallguy> Sorry, going now. Will try to be present for the next one!
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<sev_hotosm> We will talk about how often we should have this meeting
<sev_hotosm> maybe a big monthly one and other weekly ones
<sev_hotosm> basically we cannot monitor Activations with only one hour a month
<AndrewBuck> I think we need to do some informal discussions on mumble, this would have taken 15 minutes on voice chat. I __hate__ irc discussion.
<pierzen> Andrew, this is difficult for non english natives if too many people at the same time. Easier to follow by writing. For informal discussions a few people, yes this can work for some of us.
<sev_hotosm> I agree with informal as well but also meetings everyone can join. IRC is cumbersome but speaking English can be a blocker
<russdeffner> sev_hotosm - it doesn't appear that guest edits are 'live'/saved until you log-in
<pierzen> I am leaving for some hours of vacation. will follow from the log. Next time then.
<AndrewBuck> pierzen: that always gets brought up, and the next thing people will complain about is lack of logging, so we go with IRC and end up with pages and pages of logs that no one ever reads because they are so long. Much better to have a 20 minute audio chat which is recordedand then have someone type out the key points after the fact./
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<sev_hotosm> russdeffner can you edit once logged in?
<russdeffner> will try...
<nico_osm> AndrewBuck, i think that daily or 2/3 days digests are really some coordination documents we need
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<AndrewBuck> yes, something like that would be nice.
<AndrewBuck> Needs people to do it though.
<nico_osm> but from experience, it's really hard to get this done regularly systematically on the likely many fluid soft agile voic meetings on mumble
<sev_hotosm> AndrewBuck I agree with informal discussion + larger metings. Regarding informal discussions, we talked last time about sharing experiences/methods about Activations
<nico_osm> yes it needs people to do this
<sev_hotosm> would be glad to initiate live discussions about this :)
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<pierzen> and time, rapidly, I have to go back to my vacation before catching up tonight with the activation :)
<AndrewBuck> the other option which I have always pointed out, is that there is no reason we couldn't all have been in mumble in addition to IRC. use IRC for the main f\points and clarify/discuss fine details on voice.
<AndrewBuck> Yes, talk to you later pierzen
<AndrewBuck> Enjoy your time off.  :)
<russdeffner> sev_hotosm - you should get a request for my edits, of course delete them as they are just test
<sev_hotosm> russdeffner do you know how to make it publicly editable as the Activation workpad?
<sev_hotosm> I just received an email indeed, to approve your change
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<russdeffner> if you don't want to moderate, which may not be a bad idea in this case, I think you can change that under Pad Settings
<sev_hotosm> I tried Unmoderate
<russdeffner> yep, that is basically 'public'
<sev_hotosm> not very clear :)
<sev_hotosm> OK so I think everyone is leaving
<sev_hotosm> Everyone can access to the first draft of OTRs to be discussed and modified together
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<sev_hotosm> regarding other action points it basically requires people meeting in kind of sub working groups
<nico_osm> let's list our action points for the next meeting
<sev_hotosm> I will send emails about each one : Activation steps documents, review, TOR
<nico_osm> and also look at the frequency of meetings, since 1hour / month is not enough-
<sev_hotosm> I also think we need to have frequent discussions about ongoing Activations
<sev_hotosm> informal and formal
<sev_hotosm> Will send another email prosing this too
<sev_hotosm> *proposing
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<michael63> anything else to be discussed or is this the end of the meeting?
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<sev_hotosm> I would say the meeting is over but this IRC is done to discuss about any topic anytime
<sev_hotosm> do you want to say something related to Activation?
<michael63> As I said this weekend was my first experience in this direction.
<michael63> It was quite interesting to get a broader overview over how people contribute and what errors they typically make
<sev_hotosm> what direction?
<michael63> Sorry, I forgot to mention "validation"
<sev_hotosm> Ah OK
<michael63> And it was desperately needed for that task, many tiles marked as done but not really done
<michael63> the problem seen most often: overlooked remote buildings on clearings in the forest
<michael63> next in rank would be inconsistent tagging of highways
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<sev_hotosm> a few people making non squared buildings?
<michael63> yes, and one obviously using JOSM was contacted by me and informed about the building_tools plugin
<michael63> I am not quite sure how to make things even clearer, the instructions of task 572 say "map all buildings" and "use the highway tag africa wiki page"
<sev_hotosm> yes best thing to do is to inform them to use appropriate tools to make better data
<michael63> One thing I am not sure how to deal with: a user drawing a landuse=residential even around isolated buildings. Is that what we really want?
<sev_hotosm> I am not fond of that at all
<yalla> is has one advantage
<russdeffner> that is tricky
<sev_hotosm> residential areas include the highways linking the housing
<yalla> in handheld gps systems you will see the building even if not zoomed down to the highest level
<yalla> my garmin is a little picky what to show and whats not
<sev_hotosm> oh, this is not tagging for the rendering but mapping for the rendering! :)
<yalla> ha! ;-)
<yalla> hm. time for coffee.
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<yalla> ...what I don't understand about the Highway Tag Africa guide is what's considered a "village" and a "smaller" village. that's what makes the difference between highway=unclassfied and tertiary..
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<michael63> IMHO smaller village is any hamlet, 5 to 20 houses. If a track is leading to such an area then this is an unclassified highway. Tertiary highways are typically connecting villages above that size and are not dead-end but part of a network leading to secondaries or real towns. That is how I interpret it
<sev_hotosm> would be good to add a mumber of houses to help to make the difference