I am a French member of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. I have university degrees in Geography, History, GIS and Prehistory/Archaeology. I worked eight years as a GIS and Cartography expert for French local authorities before becoming a freelancer, and then from early 2010 a humanitarian, working on the same fields.
From my first professional experience, I had the opportunity to work as a lead on census operations and census data, ordering orthophotos, running call for bids for electing webmapping application, sub-building a cadastre scale urban landuse, geocoding at buidling scal, chasing and georeferencing old aerial pictures, etc. I also learnt how the geographic information is processed and handle by governmental and authorities, and I could measure the constraints and limits of non open data, limiting the possibilities of analysis and data cross-cuts.
I always studied at the same time: made researches about geography of car construction, learnt remote sensing during a year and also started a complete course of prehistory, thus participated to excavations or field analysis in Syria, France and Greece. Even there, my focus is not only based on the technical analysis of archaeological remains (stone tools, pottery sherds...), but also on spatial and statistical analysis. I have still an ongoing PhD in this field.
My first experiences as a humanitarian
I decided to live in Brazil since 2008 and I then became a GIS freelancer. I entered the humanitarian world when the Earthquake hit Haiti in January 12, 2010 where some people I knew were involved. I joined the OSM contributors who created the base map of the affected areas that would be used then by all the responders. At the same time, I applied to the GIS positions that were needed on the field, and I have been chosen to work in the OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Information Management Unit between February and April. I had the opportunity to be there when the people of what would become HOT arrived in the country and tried to facilitate their advocacy the best I could. I worked after for PAHO (Pan-American Health Organization) in Haiti, WHO (World Health Organization) in Pakistan during the massive floods that occurred from mid-2010.
My involvement in HOT
If I did my best during these field experiences that have expanded my capacities, I also felt frustrated somehow, regarding the limits the mapping objectives of these agencies may have, as well as few local capacity building. This is why I have been glad to have the opportunity to be contacted by HOT in order to ensure a field missions for the Haitian mappers working for IOM (International Organization of Migrations), both to supervise their collection of useful open, humanitarian data and raise their skills, that really stand for me two major lines to massively support. I continued this support to the Haitian OSM Community (COSMHA) over 2011 for HOT or IOM through three other missions and remote activity and participated in the design of various HOT projects in Haiti. If some did not finally start, the large mapping project in Saint-Marc has been funded by USAID/OTI (Office of Transition Initiatives) and allows again to both create useful baseline data and grow local capacity building among youth that I continue to support remotely through their official organization. I also support HOT pre-activations or activations when crises arise, presented OSM à Rio+20 at the U.S. Center or HOT at ICCM (International Conference of Crisis Mappers) and the DHN (Digital Humanitarian Network) Simulation.
Since October 2012, I have been supervising the Eurosha project, which is still another kind of project, as the volunteers are really well-educated and the outline is not limited to a specific thematic or field, but gives the opportunity to raise any good opportunity to create useful data and to train and partner many kinds or local and international organizations.
From my experience, I feel now as critical the need to make IT coders, GIS and social media specialists involved in OSM and HOT focusing on some tools useful for in the field responses, the international humanitarian organizations as well as local authorities and communities. This encompasses specific humanitarian renderings, adaptation/improvements of some tools (Walking Papers, MapOSMatic, POI renderings ala POI map or thematic maps ala ITO...) to both the humanitarian context, but also, I would say above all, to the needs of the local stakeholders, in order to provide what would be especially useful for them and foster their daily use.