Missing Maps Project

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A Missing Maps event in October 2015 in London

The Missing Maps Project is a humanitarian mapping project. A collaboration between HOT and various partner agencies.


Website: missingmap.org

Twitter bird.svg @themissingmaps
F icon.svg MissingMapsProject


To map the most vulnerable places in the developing world, in order that international and local NGOs, and individuals can use the maps and data to better respond to crises affecting the areas.

To support OpenStreetMap, and specifically the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), in developing technologies, skills, workflows and communities in order to achieve this.


By using OpenStreetMap, ensuring that all data gathered under the project banner will be free, open and available for use under OpenStreetMap’s open license.

All activities run ‘in country’, i.e. local mapping and data collection, to be done in collaboration with local people and in a respectful manner at all times.

When working locally, people come before the data. Meaning if the goal is to map a city there needs to be a plan in place to ensure access to technology and training for those living in that community to continue mapping afterwards.

Members of the Missing Maps project actively contribute to the Missing Maps project objectives, the OpenStreetMap repository and benefitting communities, both local and international.

Missing Maps projects emphasize building, and leaving behind, local capacity and access. We are cautious about rapid data collection without significant local participation, and always make efforts to ensure local access.

Missing Maps activities are designed to be accessible and open for participation for individuals who want to contribute towards the project objectives.

How does this differ from HOT's disaster response work?

Whereas HOT and others do great work mapping in response to crises occuring all around the world, the Missing Maps project maps the places in the world where the most vulnerable people live preemptively. Instead of responding to a natural disaster, conflict or disease 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, therefore, lives.

Getting in touch

The Missing Maps Project on twitter

The Missing Maps Project facebook page

Missing Maps Project 'keep me up-to-date!' form

How to get involved as an individual

Entry level

The Missing Maps Project needs you!

The areas we need to map often have no base maps. This means we need to trace aerial photographs to build a picture of what is there. This could be streets, buildings, lakes, rivers, etc etc. Tracing these elements is very simple to do and can be done from your laptop.

Once we have the trace, people who live in the area being mapped go out, often with paper copies of the trace, and label all the features in their own language, meaning that the data on the map will be relevant and local (very important for their own use, but also for organisations working in the area).

Then, all those bits of important data, which make the map usable and useful, are added to Open Street Map. Again, this is something you can do! With no specialist skills or knowledge, you can help the Missing Maps project add all this information.

You can, of course, do all this at home, but there are also regularly organised Missing Maps parties that you can come along to and get involved. These parties are an effort to complete big sections of a map in a very short space of time. They are a lot of fun and really help the project move forward...

How do you get involved

You can sign up to be a part of the Missing Maps Project here. We will let you know by email when there are tasks that need doing or mapping parties being organised.

You can also follow the Missing Maps Project on twitter and on facebook. Feel free to tweet or message us your interest and any questions you may have.

Mapping experts (geeks)

The Missing Maps Project needs you too!

One of the many elements of the Missing Maps project is to encourage NGOs and local organisations to share their already existing data on OpenStreetMap or to gather data in the areas in which they are working. We need people who are willing and able to receive their kml, gpx, shapefiles or field papers, clean them up, translate them and upload them. Loads of the data for the missing maps already exists. We just need to get our hands on it!

We are also looking for people who can support new mappers at the mapping parties. You needn't be an expert to do this, just know enough to get someone started and to troubleshoot simple problems they come up against.

Current field data projects that need work

Missing Maps Lubumbashi Congo admin division mapping Aug15

Missing Maps / Y Care Bangladesh Field Mapping Jul15

BBC video Concerning Ebola, Red Cross, Openstreetmap

BBC World News with Harry Wood (OSM) and Andrew Braye (Red Cross)

Mapping parties and events

Throw your own Missing Mapathon

You can throw your own Missing Maps party and there are pages to help you: Missing Maps mapathons or Missing Maps mapathons: for students and universities

The mapping events you can still come to

This list may be up to date (feel free to edit it to help update!) There is also a list of events on http://www.missingmaps.org

If you are coming to a mapping party for the first time, check out Missing Maps Mapathons - before the event

The ones you've missed

For details of mapathons that have already happened, see Previous Missing Maps parties

Missing Maps members

The Missing Maps project is an open collaboration founded by Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT), Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), American Red Cross and the British Red Cross.

The project is an open collaboration and is seeking other NGOs, educational establishments and civil society groups to become members and contribute to the project objectives.


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