Humanitarian OSM Team/HOT Microgrants/Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit Grant 2020/Proposal/Dashboard to Monitor Spatial Data Quality Compliance of OpenStreetMap for Humanitarian Action

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Dashboard to Monitor Spatial Data Quality Compliance of OpenStreetMap for Humanitarian Action
Visualising the quality of OSM globally and encouraging the mappers to add spatial and non-spatial information in OpenStreetMap for better and timely humanitarian response.
budget (USD)4900
location(s)The Netherlands, Focus: Globally and special focus in data-scarce countries
granteeMuhammad Saleem
organization (if applicable)• Secondary contact: Dr Ir Rob Lemmens (

Your project

This is an opportunity for you to tell us about your project. In this section we'd like to hear about your community, which local challenge your project addresses, what you plan to do and how, your sustainability plan, and how you plan to share your stories.

Describe the local challenge your project is addressing

I am addressing the global challenge of spatial quality and specifically for OpenStreetMap. I am focusing on the challenge in relation to the concept of Spatial invariance and explainability for different parts around the globe, especially developing countries. During a humanitarian emergency, there is an urgent need for vital information that has spatial and non-spatial components. OpenStreetMap is widely being used for the purpose of getting vital information to help the rescue teams to get to the affected population and allocate humanitarian aid. Unavailability of vital information causes delays and negligence, as a result, lives are lost. As the quality assessment is highly context-based, and my main focus is to help humanitarian mappers around the globe to focus on areas that are missing by using the applied local perception of humanitarian risk(s) with respect to different regions around the globe. So, I am addressing the global challenge of data availability and accessibility. Due to many aspects of quality mainly incompleteness. Ever read a paper about OSM completeness or quality of OSM ?. Ever wonder why there are still studies going on in this aspect ?. The main reason is that most of the studies are not transferable and sometimes unscalable. This causes numerous problems in the field of humanitarian action because it can lead to semantic errors and eventually results in over or underestimation of the situation. Regional uncertainty can be determined by defining various contextual factors that are related to a certain geographical region. There exists research about different quality assessment which uses comparison with high quality external sources such national mapping services. These external sources are often not of high quality in developing countries. For this reason there should be an approach to assess the data quality in OSM that ensures equity for regional and international geographical contexts. this approach will help in timely addition of high quality data, help in humanitarian response by better situational awareness, and eventually saves lives globally. This challenge has been addressed and agreed upon with Dr Ir Rob Lemmens from the Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC). Lastly, there exists the most important challenge which is if the dashboard based on spatial quality, will it be used by the wider mapper community including marginalized group?. There are a lot of platforms and dashboards that are in place, but these platforms are not used globally by the wider mapping community. I will address and include these challenges by interviewing and surveying about their motivation and needs for spatial data and semantics in OSM.

Describe your project

In this section, please provide specific details about your mapping objectives. This should include: how you will contribute to help solve the local challenge you are addressing, what you aim to achieve with funding, what volume of mapping you plan to complete and how, and the number individuals are you aiming to include in mapping activities. We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

I want to start my PhD which focuses on the development of a dashboard that would display the different aspects of quality of OpenStreetMap (other than geometric). The dashboard can give insights about how the data and what data is needed (depending on regions) for certain humanitarian crises globally. The main purpose is to make sure that the data (in OSM) is available for data-scarce and vulnerable regions as equally as it is available for the global west. This can be done if the mapper communities are motivated enough to contribute. This introduces the concept of “usability”. This means that the Dashboard is usable for diverse mapping community. That’s one the building blocks of this research. Quality aspects I am focusing on are mainly completeness and temporal staleness of the data. This is after doing my MSc thesis I concluded that the biggest challenge during any disaster is incompleteness of the spatial and non-spatial information in OSM. The humanitarian organization that is involved in any humanitarian response concerns with the numbers such as how many houses are there in an area with certain stressors for instance. Please note that I am not looking into the geometric quality of the spatial features. There are already several quality assessment dashboards by which mappers and managers can validate the mapped objects. But the challenge about usability and global effectiveness remains. With this research I am not looking at using different ways to visualise quality, but I am looking at defining (a) what is spatial data quality with respect to humanitarian and OpenStreetMap perspective, (b) what are the methods that can be area specific and where we can apply the concept of spatial invariance, (c) making sense of the results and (d) conceptualize the action-based visualisation or action based semantics for humanitarian action.

Inputs and outputs of the Dashboard

I have 4 building blocks for this project. These building blocks include usability of the dashboard, sense-making of quality, temporal changes and bridging current dashboards. Usability includes how can the dashboard be made in order to make the OSM community pay attention and motivate the OSM and wider community to contribute to OSM. this is possible by making visualization of OSM quality according to localized risk perceptions. By taking this into account will not only encourages the current OSM users but also encourages new OSM community. To evaluate this, several Mapathons will be organized in ITC faculty consists of mappers from different nationalities, background and how the dashboard can be developed so that it is also useable for marginalized groups like women. Secondly, remote Mapathons abroad in Dar es Salaam will also be organised with same aim. This will led to several scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. Second block includes the Sense-making/purposeful of quality assessment and methodologies that will be used to actually have the SAY whether the quality of OSM is good or not. This is again globally and context and data driven. This will be complimented by the first building block (usability). I am only seeking grant to complete up to the first building block of the project while working on second block would be parallel but other sources would be used such as part-time work followed by the third and the fourth one. The third building block includes the temporal aspects of quality and the spatial data in OSM. The fourth building block is to bridge the existing OSM quality dashboards with this one. These building blocks are not phases of the project rather the blocks that this research is be based upon and these building blocks will run parallel to each other to reach the goal of the development of a dashboard by which you can visualise the quality of OSM globally. The plan is to input and compare various external and internal data sources with OSM data. Then to develop meaningful thresholds to visualise with meaningful semantics. This will output in different information that will be used by diverse mapping community and encourage them to map. In this way we would have better and bigger mapping community that would increase the mapped quality of OSM.

Describe your sustainability plan

In this section please describe how your activities will continue post-funding. If you are applying for funding to purchase equipment, explain who will store/use the equipment you purchase, and if you have long term sustainability plans for your community's development. We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

This project is long-lasting and helpful in many ways in the future. The Ph.D. is for four years so once I started my research officially I will continue with it for at least 4 years. Basically, the goal is to use the dashboard to give indication according to the local perception of how the quality of OSM is in their area. this will encourage and motivate local communities who using this dashboard. I want to maintain the dashboard for future use and ITC faculty here also have Youth Mappers chapter which is currently temporarily inactive and I would try to active it purposefully for this project and to continue the mapping using the indication by the Dashboard developed from this research. This will not only be sustainable for the faculty here but also globally. As one of the building blocks of this research is to enhance the usability which in other words to make the dashboard design user-centered and tailored with regards to the region. Furthermore, there is a chance to continue the research further into the aspect of the sustainability of the platform after my PhD. This includes continuing my research to post-doc level but this possibility can also lead to the supervision of Masters students every year at least four with research on keeping the platform innovative and adoptive to the future challenges.

The conceptual framework of the Dashboard

Nevertheless, the dashboard will be available and meant to be used by a wide range of diverse mapping communities. Once the building blocks of the research are successful it can lead to better usability and sustainability of the dashboard could be retained easily.

What are your community defined project goals, and how do you define project success?

Please explain you project goals. This can include: setting goals such as "we will train X number of new mappers", "we will register as a legal entity", or "the data will be used by X", and why these goals are important to your community such as "we intent to be legally registered so that we can receive more grant funding in the future", "we intend to engage X number of women in mapping activities so that we can empower local women" or "we want to build a partnership with X so that our data will be used and trusted". We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

The main goal for my project is to have high-quality spatial and non-spatial information for the whole world on OpenStreetMap for the increased resilience of our vulnerable communities. This has to be done by taking into account the question "What triggers the mappers and non-mappers to contribute to the mapping in OpenStreetMap. Then there is a question on how can we display that triggering information to motivate the mapping communities. Then finally, how sure are we that this triggering information is technically correct. These questions will lead to a better and efficient way to add information to the OpenStreetMap. The information can lead to better calculations of the products that the risk is calculated.

What are your community's long term goals?

Please give describe your community's vision. This can include: where you see your community in five years time, how you want your data to be used, future partnerships you'd like to establish, or how you would like your community to grow (or not!). We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

I will be working with and team at ITC. Their long-term goals are to make a sustainable, equal and liveable society for everyone. Therefore, my PhD project will fit well into the long and everlasting goal of the faculty of Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation (ITC).

List the tools you intend to use during your project and why

Please describe which tools you plan to use to collect, update, clean, or store you data and why. For example: "we plan to use HOT's Tasking Manager to coordinate volunteers" or "we will upload our data to X platform because..." We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

I will be needing posters for arranging the Mapathons. Main tools I will be using would be soft tools such as setting up server for the dashboard and maintaining it. Interviews recording and transcribing it using scribie. Lastly, I will use open source codes and GIS tools & services to perform my analysis.

Explain how you plan to share your stories

Please give examples of how you will use share your stories with others. This can include: how you will publicise your news, where you will collect media content, how you will use social media channels, and if you will reach out beyond your immediate network to share your stories. We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

First of all, the dashboard will go live within one year even with limited features and shared with the entire world. Secondly, I would attend conferences including HOT summit 2021, and present my findings & progress. Thirdly, all the work will be shared with the scientific community through publications in peer-reviewed journals. Lastly, my GitHub page will be updated regularly as soon as there are some changes in the designed dashboard. I will make a OSM wiki page to share and make a timeline. This timeline would not be restricted to this phase but all of my Ph.D.


Successful applications will demonstrate one or more partnerships with a local data user. Priority will be given to applications for which the data has been requested by a partnering organisation, or where the partner organisation has expressed interest in collecting the data for a specific use or intervention. Example partners include local non-government organisations (NGOs), community based organisations (CBOs), local governments, companies, universities, schools, and other academic institutions.

Describe who will use your data

It is important that the data you generate during the project is useful, and that it will be used to advance humanitarian and/or development challenges locally. In this section, please include: if the data you will be collecting has been requested by a partnering organisation, if there is an established formal relationship with the partnering organisation, if there is an existing MoU between you and the partnering organisation, and how long have you been working with the partnering organisation. If your organisation or community is going to be the data user, please describe how you will use the data, and how it ties in with your organisation's work. We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

According to the project plan, the users will be humanitarian rescue operators both in the field and data analysts off-site. I already have developed relationship between the officials of 510 Global in the Netherlands, HOT officials in Dar es Salaam and youth mappers in Tanzania. Basically, the plan is to explore what actually the data required by the humanitarian organisations and use that knowledge to visualise where there is lacking and where there is data that needs to be changed. Data here is mostly spatial and non-spatial data of different objects on the map. This information (not data) will be used by the rescue operators and humanitarian researchers in general to gain more situational awareness related to different stressors (natural and man-made).

Describe any other partnerships you plan to mobilise or establish for the purpose of the project

In this section, please describe any additional partners you might be working with. If there are no additional partners (beyond the data user) this must be stated here. We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

the planned partnership would be according to the risk perception zoning criteria. Risk perception zoning criteria is part of first building block of this research project. It will develop cohorts that have the same or similar data requirements, risk perceptions, and visualization perceptions. This of course depends on several subjective factors and criteria. These criteria would be formed by using not only interviews and survey instrument but also an extensive literature review. After the formation of these cohorts, each cohort member shall be interviewed, and/or a questionnaire will be sent. This will make new partnerships in the project and mobilize the project to a greater community across the globe. As the community in the global south is much diverse so there will be more people that would be involved in the project. Also, these communities are the ones that are most affected in terms of stressors.


Successful applications will include a developed strategy for the inclusion of women, girls, and marginalised groups in mapping activities. This includes the number of women, girls or marginalised groups you plan to engage, and the way in which you plan to interact with them.

How will you ensure that your project activities are inclusive?

Please describe how you will engage women and girls, or other marginalised communities in your mapping activities. Please include the number of women, girls or marginalised groups you plan to work with and how, and at which point in your activities you plan to engage them. We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

The current line of activity and goals of this project is meant to help all, through all. The concept and idea of using risk perceptions are to make sure the dashboard is useable for the local population while they are using the perception lens of their own area to view other areas in the OSM to visualize the quality. The definition of the quality and other terminologies would be defined using not only literature reviews and interview instruments from humanitarian officials but also marginalized groups such as women. This is because according to the first building block I want to make this usable for all globally. One of the main purposes of this research is to ensure that it is usable for everyone (including marginalized groups) and encourage every mapper to contribute to it. In order to do that research about useability for all groups, user studies will be conducted with collaboration with partners like Polimappers and Crow2map in Tanzania and other possible partners will be explored. Nevertheless, ITC faculty is a very diverse and inclusive society. Mapathons arranged in collaboration with the Youth mappers chapter at ITC will also be planned to arrange in such a way to make sure that at least 50% of the mappers are female. Due to GDPR regulations, we cannot segregate anyone with respect to their nationality, religion, and ethnicity, so, this will be a challenge while arranging mapathon in the Netherlands. The inclusivity is not only in this building block of the project but also with respect to how I define the quality of the spatial data in OSM. Once the quality is defined, and perception is taken care of these will be used to conceptualize the whole Ph.D. research till the Dashboard is formed that is inclusively usable for most of the globe.


Successful applications will show how communities intend to grow community engagement. This includes a practical approach on how many new mappers you aim to recruit and how they will be involved in community activities. Priority will be given to communities that also include a plan for ongoing engagement beyond the grant period. If this is not relevant to your project, please explain why.

Explain how you plan to expand your mapping community

In this section, please include: your approach to recruiting new mappers, how will you engage new mappers, how many new members you plan to recruit, and how will you retain community members throughout the duration of project and beyond. We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words.

The purpose of extracting knowledge about the risk perception or perceptions, in general, is not only to make it usable for the mappers for humanitarian action(s) but also to motivate the new mappers to contribute in a certain way and at certain locations. Despite this optimistic goal that the mappers will be engaged in every phase of the project. With every perception-based cohort is formed, the mapathon will be arranged to see how the approach is perceived by the mappers. there are two options currently to organize the mapathon. One is to organize in the Netherlands at the faculty of ITC and the second is to use partners like Polimappers, youth mappers, and development fund in Tanzania. I expect to have more partners and contacts in the midst of my Ph.D. and probably to reach the bigger community.

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit

How did you participate in the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit?

Please describe how participated in the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap summit, either as an attendee, speaker or volunteer

I presented my lightening titled as "Dashboard to monitor spatial data quality compliance of OpenStreetMap for humanitarian action". This is actually the main project that I am seeking grant for. Link:(

Key takeaways

Please describe any highlights, takeaways, inspiration, or things that you learned at the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit 2020.

I was very inspired by how the community has grown in the past 10 years and contributed to society both in hardware and software approaches.


Priority will be given to applications that collaborate with other OSM communities in the region. This can be country specific or regional and can include collaboration with Youth Mappers Chapters, or members of the HOT community to help with training, validation (as examples). For support in sourcing collaborators, email

Describe other OSM communities you are already working with

This may include Youth Mappers chapters, or members of OSMF (as examples). If you are not already collaborating with an OSM community, please state this and explain how you plan to work with other communities in your project in the following question.

Currently, I am collaborating with 510 Global (part of the Red Cross the Netherlands) and youth mappers chapter at ITC faculty

Describe other OSM communities you plan to approach, or establish relationships with, for the purpose of the project

We recommend your response be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words..

I would like to approach first the mapping community in Tanzania because I already have some contacts there with the HOT team and Crowd2map. Secondly, I would like to involve the Polimappers team in Milano. Polimappers will also help in the research prospect of this project as well. Missing maps initiative would be axiomatically partnered with because of the scope is highly relevant and through missing maps initiatives

Project plan and budget

Priority will be given to applications that collaborate with other OSM communities in the region. This can be country specific or regional and can include collaboration with Youth Mappers Chapters, or members of the HOT community to help with training, validation (as examples). For support in sourcing collaborators, email

Budget breakdown

Give your budget breakdown here. If you would like to present your budget in a tabular format, you can use this tool to convert your spreadsheet into a wikitable and paste the code below here

What do you plan to spend the money on?

Unit being purchased

Expected cost

(in US Dollars)

Total cost for budget item

Why is it needed? (please give as much detail as possible)


Learning activities


$100 per course


I need to learn different geoprocessing and advanced concepts related to web-programming in order to be successful in achieving the end goal.


Travelling locally


$50 per journey


I need to conduct interviews with Red cross The Netherlands and 510Global in The Hague, the Netherlands. This will be to get through the first phase of the research.


Mapping logistics


$50 per mapathon


After conducting the interviews and literature study, I will arrange various mapping activities to actually observe the perceptions of the mappers. Like where they prefer to map according to the quality of the OSM visualized using the knowledge generated from interview instruments and applying it to practical use.


Travelling for conference presentation


$1400 per conference + traveling


The conference presentations are essential as it will offer me to get interaction and exposure from the researchers in the field of OSM quality assessment.


Publication costs


$500 per publication


To formalized the findings and the results from the Interviews and mapathons I will publish my research findings in peer reviewed journals. This will help in contribution to scientific work that will help other researchers and field managers to improve their understanding of the quality of OSM.

Project plan

Give your project plan here. If you would like to present your project plan in a tabular format, you can use this tool to convert your spreadsheet into a wikitable and paste the code below here

Activity Month Month
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
(the activities listed below are examples only, please update the activities to align with your project description) w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4 w1 w2 w3 w4
Phase 1 Setting the scene
Activity 1 Literature review for defining terminology such as Quality and different aspects of it
Activity 2 Interviewing local and international humanitarian mapping community and organisations
Activity 3 Development of basic server for Dashboard
Phase 2 Mapathon
Activity 1 Mapping event with Youth mappers at ITC
Activity 2 Organising Mapathon and displaying the effect of the quality to the participants
Activity 3 Remote mapathon in Tanzania or other research partners
Phase 3 Sharing and caring
Activity 1 Publication of articles in peer-reviewed journals
Activity 2 Conference presentation
Activity 3 HOT Summit
Phase 4 Continuation
Activity 1 Analysing different aspects of quality with respect to different regions
Activity 2 Integrating the user requirements from the interviews into the Dashboard

Apart from changing the title, I didn't make any other changes in the form information, it looks the same as the Community Impact Microgrants application. Let me know if there is any difference I might have missed


By submitting this form to Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, you certify the information contained in this application is correct, and that if you are awarded a grant, you will use it only for the purposes described above. You will provide written documentation and receipts for all of your expenses to Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to demonstrate this. You understand that the decisions made by the HOT Microgrants committee are final. Muhammad Saleem Muhammad056


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  • I fully endorse this project - strong idea and detailed project plan --Semower (talk) 15:14, 5 January 2021 (UTC)
  • I definitely endorse this project: I like how it is well detailed and structured and I'm really interested in the research topic that place a strong emphasis on the OSM human and dynamic community. --Tars4815 (talk) 14:32, 15 January 2021 (UTC)

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