WikiProject Haiti/Press info

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Press Release

Press release from the OpenStreetMap Foundation • 24th January 2010

Information for the media

This is just a first draft for a page that informs members of the press as well as other media about the ongoing efforts in mapping haiti. Feel free to amend.

About the project

OpenStreetMap is a project aimed squarely at creating and providing free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them.

The project was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive or unexpected ways.

Further information can be found at and the pages linked there.

About crisis mapping

Within the OpenStreetMap project a Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, called HOT, has formed. The aim of this team is to support humanitarian work which often takes place in areas where base map data is scarce and out of date. A bit more about HOT can be found at

About the effort in Haiti

After the earthquake near Port-au-Prince January 12th the OSM community started very soon to improve the maps for Haiti. First working of pre-earthquake aerial imagery provided by Yahoo. As post-earthquake imagery by GeoEye and soon after DigitalGlobe became available volunteers rushed to make this data available in a form suitable for map production.

The resulting map data is provided in OpenStreetMap's own format, as well as shapefiles for conventional GIS programs and files for Garmin GPS units. These files are updated several times per hour to keep up with the rapidly improving maps.

The maps include destroyed bridges, collapsed buildings as well as refugee camps and obstacles in roads. These features are missing from other maps and data sets, which were compiled pre-earthquake.

A Columbian Search And Rescue worker thanked the OSM team for the files suitable for GPS units and mentioned that they are used by their search and rescue teams.

ITHACA (Information technology for humanitarian assistance, cooperation and action) and WFP (World Food Programme) used OpenStreetMap's street data for Port-au-Prince in their first damage assessment. An image of that is available.

Further information, including the technicalities of mapping Haiti, can be found at


NIED (Japanese national institute for disaster) has given permission to use satellite images of Haiti after the earthquake from JAXA(Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) for tracing. This dataset has lower resolution but better coverage and is use in regions for which no other recent imagery is available.

GeoEye has given permission to use a second dataset with better coverage. Several volunteers are working on the task of making these images available to mappers.

Unitar (United Nations Institute For Training and Research) / Unosat (UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme) use OpenStreetMap street data in their damage report

The second batch of GeoEye images is now available to mappers and is used to improve the map outside the area covered so far.

Futher data sources including more imagery by GeoEye has become available. The focus of the mapping has shifted to the areas outside of Port-au-Prince as well as cross country roads.

Spot Image has given permission to use satellite images of Haiti after the earthquake from CNES (French Space Agency) for tracing. This dataset has lower resolution but good coverage and geometrical quality.

Atlas released by the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University on January 18th used street data from

We keep getting daily updated imagery from GeoEye and DigitalGlobe. The turn-around time between satellite overpass and the start of tracing has been reduced to less then 24 hours.

Talk "Crisis-Cartography"

At "boot" in Düsseldorf there are several talks about "Crisis-Cartograpy". Questions will also be answered at the booth of OpenSeaMap in hall 14/G39.

23.-31.1. timetable
Chart of Haiti with harbours