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The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) is a youth awards programme founded in the United Kingdom, that has since expanded to 144 nations. It is a volunteer programme that helps young people gain essential skills, experience, confidence and resilience to successfully navigate adult life.

Missing Maps was listed as volunteer opportunity for the British Red Cross (BRC), with support of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) till 2021. Due to lack of capacity it was sadly decided to not list it anymore. The below approach can however still be an inspiration for schools and teachers who want to start mapping with their class.


The supporting organisations developed following approach to assure real engagement and high quality mapping from DofE volunteers:

  1. We work with schools who are setting up a mapping group to help them get started. (It is not a volunteer opportunity for individuals.)
  2. We ensure the teacher is able to map properly and visit (where possible) to discuss with the teacher.
  3. We communicate regularly with the teacher when the mapping group starts to check if there are any problems.
  4. We verify the mapping of the group for quality control with the support of experienced Missing Maps volunteers once in the first two months and then every three months.
  5. We give feedback about the quality of the mapping to the teacher who can pass this on to the students.
  6. We continue to encourage and support the mapping group.
  7. We identify specific projects for schools.

We don't have the manpower or capacity to validate every feature mapped by DofE volunteers, but through this model we encourage engagement and we hope to build a new generation of (humanitarian) mappers.

Running a DofE Missing Maps group in school

This guidance is for teachers who want to start a Missing Maps group in their school. Teachers will have to assess the work of their students and need to be prepared thoroughly. Interested individual students are asked to speak to their teacher before starting to map.

Starting a group

  • Learn as teacher how to map yourself.
  • Have a central point - a notice board or a page on your school / college intranet/ VLE for sharing information; when and where you meet to map, current areas of the world being mapped etc.
  • Hold an assembly so that wider members of the school community know about Missing Maps.
  • Choose the area you are going to map and check it out before your pupils arrive. It can be very frustrating for pupils, if the first time someone maps, the resolution is poor or there is lots of cloud cover and they can’t find any buildings. Start with beginner level maps. Buildings and roads are easiest to map. If you want to keep mapping an area over several weeks don’t choose a map on the frontpage of the HOT Tasking Manager, but choose one further down the list which is not high priority.
  • On some of the map tasks there is additional information about the area and photos of the types of buildings to be mapped which provides context.
  • Create a hashtag # for your group so that you will be able to track your mappers. In addition please use the hashtag #DofEaward when saving work.  
  • Keep a register of students who attend.

Tracking progress - badges

  • In the Hot Tasking Manager, click on your name.
  • Click on your profile.
  • Click Missing Maps badges. Here you will see the badges which you have earnt and those you are working towards

Tracking progress - leaderboard

  • Go to
  • Scroll down the page to Find a Leaderboard.
  • Click on Add Competitor and type in the name
  • Remove the Current Leader to see just your group  
  • Click on any of the names in your group and you can see their profile – how many edits they have made, when they made them and the badges which they have achieved and are working towards.  
  • In the Map View of the leader board you can also see where your group has mapped.

How do I know how many hours the pupils have mapped for?

  • The easiest way is to keep a register of those who attend the club.
  • Alternatively, you can see how many edits they have made and the dates on which they made them on their profile, which you can find on the leader board.

Can I validate the work of my students for Missing Maps?

Yes, if you become a validator. You will need to be an experienced mapper for this. Attending mapathons or online training webinars are a good way to learn how to use JOSM needed to be a validator. All mapathons and webinars are advertised on the Missing Maps website.

Ideas for maintaining interest in mapping

  • Show a video or invite in a speaker from a humanitarian organisation to talk about the role of mapping in humanitarian work or about the country which you have been mapping. Contact [[1]]
  • Use the leader board badges to reward pupils.
  • Host a country-themed mapping session or fundraising event with music and food from the country.
  • Try out MapSwipe, Field Papers, Maps.ME, etc. Let them discover the whole mapping ecosystem!

Mapping safely online

You must be 13 years or older to use the Services.

If you are at least 13 but under 16 years of age, a parent or other adult authorized by your parent may create an account for you to use. The account must not contain any personal data about you, and you must not add any personal data about yourself. For example, your parent may create an account using your parent’s email address and a username that is not associated with you, which your parent may permit you to use to contribute map edits. For your protection, you are not allowed to use the social aspects of the Services (diary posts, ‘home’ location, mailing lists and forums), but you may contribute edits to the map. You should not reveal any personal data in any communications you have regarding your map edits.

By registering as a user or providing personal information on the Services, you represent that you are at least 16 years old.

OpenStreetMap Foundation Services Terms of Use for reference.