Humanitarian OSM Team/Working groups/Community/Terms of Reference

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Humanitarian Open Mapping Community Working Group

Scope of the working group

This group is dedicated to the support and engagement of community groups and contributors aiming to leverage OpenStreetMap data and tools for positive social / humanitarian / development impact. An improved community is one which works together better to achieve its goals, and which fosters and supports the growth of other local groups around the world. The community working group is supported by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).

How we define our community focus

The Community Working Group exists to engage and support communities and contributors in the following three overlapping areas:

OSM community groups in places vulnerable to humanitarian crisis or experiencing multidimensional poverty. Community groups or organisations that are trying to achieve a social impact and use, or could use, open geo data to do it. A person or group  that wants to show solidarity with these communities through collaboration and support.
Community focus definition - a venn diagram
Community focus definition - a venn diagram

What are our guiding principles?

The following guiding principles define the culture of the community working group:

  • Respectful of diversity
  • Welcoming and inclusive
  • Accessible and open
  • Clear in how community members can contribute
  • Transparent in process and decision-making
  • Championing open knowledge and peer collaboration and learning
  • Self-reflective - responsive and adaptable to feedback

What are our objectives?

  • To support effective community engagement and community building
  • To acknowledge and celebrate groups and individual contributions
  • To support the building of strong networks and collaboration between communities and contributors
  • To connect communities with the resources and support they need
  • To provide a space for discussion and debate on topics prioritised by communities and contributors
  • To amplify community voices and support local and international campaigns and advocacy
  • To support communities to deliver high quality and accessible (time, language, etc) events
  • To support a healthy, positive and peaceful collaborative environment; guided by the HOT code of conduct


Some examples of Community Working Group activities include (this is not a comprehensive list and will change based on the decisions of the working group members):

  • Organize community engagement events online
  • Amplify community projects, initiatives and achievements
  • Periodically assess the state of the community e.g. state of the community report
  • Develop strategies and projects for supporting community evolution
  • Host Working Group Webinars that share knowledge, promote discussion and build networks between community members and contributors
  • Code of Conduct committee input / representation
  • Giving public thanks / devise reward schemes for volunteers
  • Advocate for increased diversity and inclusion in OpenStreetMap

Who are the participants?

A list of current participants can be found here, on the HOTOSM Slack channel (#community_wg), the Telegram Group or the Element/matrix room.

What role do participants play?

  • Working group participants: Define agenda and activities, lead meetings and engagements, develop and contribute to priorities and projects, promote working group initiatives and events, participate in discussions, invite and introduce new members.
  • HOT community team: Provide support (administrative, technical) and resources (human, financial) to support the working group to achieve its objectives.

How do people join?

There is a full and up-to-date list of communication channels (synchronous and asynchronous) in the Get Involved Section of the Community Working Group page on the OSM wiki.


For meeting format, frequency and timings, please check the Meetings Section of the Community Working Group page on the OSM wiki for the most up-to-date information.


The following are important established materials / documents that are used by the Community Working Group: