Humanitarian OSM Team
From the early days of OpenStreetMap it was anticipated that open, free map data would be a tremendous benefit for humanitarian aid and economic development. The idea was proven during the Haiti earthquake in 2010. HOT was incorporated in the immediate aftermath, August 2010, as a U.S. nonprofit, and then became a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization in 2013. Anyone is welcome to contribute to the HOT mission via our Tasking Manager. All you need is an OpenStreetMap Username.
HOT Mission and Objectives
- The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) applies the principles of open source and open data sharing to humanitarian response and economic development.
- To be the connecting point between humanitarian actors and open mapping communities
- To provide remote data creation during crises
- To collect and organize existing data sources
- To support deployments to the field
- To be a distribution point for free data
- To develop open knowledge and tools
Advocacy, Training and Outreach
- mapping parties
- Communicating and meeting with humanitarian actors and United Nations technical communities
Thinking and Design
- To promote crowd-sourcing and simple web standards for data sharing
- To develop technical improvements to OSM and OSGeo in response to field requirements (off-line support, verification, format adaptors, multimaster sync..)
How to Get Involved
Most of our volunteer needs are for remote mapping and project work. To find out more about what HOT does and how to get involved see the HOT Guide
Learning to Map
The largest volunteer need of HOT is for OpenStreetMap contributors. To get started contributing to OpenStreetMap, the community has developed a simple-to-use beginners guide called LearnOSM (learnosm.org). A series of quick lessons will guide any new user through setting up an account and beginning to map. New material is always being developed and added.
What to Work On?
Notice: A formal definition of various HOT Programs (humanitarian projects and activations) is being developed, see HOT activation for information regarding urgent response.
Humanitarian projects can be the immediate responses to natural disasters, political crises and other destructive events or projects designed to mitigate or plan for disaster risk or economic development. They are launched where up-to-date geographic data is needed and where OSM data currently is being used or will be used by local communities and/or responders. Generally, these projects are launched by active participants in the HOT community who will coordinate the remote mapping with the needs of humanitarian actors and other first responders, and with any local OSM community as guidance. If a situation becomes complex, individual(s), humanitarian actors or local communities are encouraged to reach out to the HOT Activation Working Group. If the working group decides that HOT currently has the resource and capacity to facilitate the request, it will announce an official "activation," which indicates that this crisis is a high priority for the organization. The team also may invite other NGOs to collaborate, make requests for needed resources and will document the progress and conclusion of the activation. These decisions take into account which humanitarian mapping projects and/or activations HOT currently is supporting or monitoring, as well as the potential impact on the project beneficiaries and our current capability to provide assistance.
The Tasking Manager is a tool that divides large mapping tasks into small sections to make them easier for volunteers to manage. The Tasking Manager also includes background information on the locale to be mapped, as well as information about what kind of data is needed (road, schools, etc., and how to recognize them). Volunteers can contribute directly to current activities through the OSM Tasking Manager.
Current Remote Mapping Actions
|2018||Typhoon Ompong - Philippines||Support Local Lead|
|...||Guinea Floods||Support Local Lead|
|...||2018 India Floods and Cyclone Gaja||Support Local Lead|
|...||Ebola DRC & Uganda||Support Local Lead|
Past remote mapping actions
Jobs, Internships and Contracts
- Visit our website for current opportunities on how to get involved
- For internship program see HOT Internship Programs
- For tutorships see Tutorships SubPage
Academic Research & HOT
Global Volunteer Community
There are many ways to contribute to the mission of HOT. See the HOT Guide for the basics. All we ask is that contributors govern themselves using our Code of Conduct, which is found on our website: HOT Code of Conduct
Dedicated volunteers who have been elected and make up the voting community are listed here:
- Main article: Humanitarian OSM Team/Members
Board of Directors and Officers
Our current board of directors, elected from the membership, as well as our leadership team and its history can be found at
- Main article: Humanitarian OSM Team/Board Elections
- Humanitarian_OSM_Team/U.S. Bylaws
- Humanitarian_OSM_Team/U.S. Articles of Incorporation
- In March 2013, HOT was officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
- Many issues and plans emerged from the Haiti response, leading to a medium-term plan for HOT. Access the Humanitarian OSM Team/Haiti Strategy And Proposal for more information.
Community Types and Roles
HOT has many diverse community roles and ways to contribute to our mission. In a Community Sprint, we designed the following types:
- Training and mentorship program to cross-train new leaders with the goal to have more leaders and less burnout.This role includes storytellers and communicators.
- Outreach to share the OSM educational web site LearnOSM (www.learnosm.org) and to show the community how to get involved in HOT
- Clean up general communication on the wiki and web sites to provide a clear path for those who want to get involved
- Develop target communities for outreach
- Participate in, and help coordinate mapping activities.
- Reach out to friends of OSM who might help with surge support in various areas (e.g. Mozilla, hubs, etc., as well as links with connectors/teachers regarding leaders).
- Maintain a wider OSM outreach plan (coordinated with respect) to get active mappers more involved with HOT.
- Identify new communities for outreach.
- Partners/Mission Supporters
- Develop a policy and guidance on how to establish mutual communication with partners, a W3 ( who does what when), there are some items in membership code of conduct.
- This group includes researchers and liaisons.
- Identify a process to get developers involved in the Tech Working Group (more outreach, clear tasks).
- Develop and Promote technical tools.
- Maintain and support existing tools.
- Business of Mapping
- Talking points for the membership to use with partners and potential funders.
- Expand outreach strategy to get partners and potential supporters involved with HOT.
Participate in or Lead Working Groups
Our working groups perform the "business like" work of HOT. Currently there are working groups for:
See Working Groups SubPage for a list and descriptions of the working groups and their contact information.
Meetings of the HOT Board and Membership
- Visit Meetings for details. (includes announcements and previous meeting minutes)
Other (non-official) Meetings
- 2015 HOT Summit
- HOT Saturday Sprints on Mumble
- HOT Chats
- SOTM 2011 Meetup
- February 2011 Conf Call
- SOTM 2010 Meetup
Help Plant Grass-Roots OSM Communities
HOT is involved locally, working in areas vulnerable to natural disaster, recovering after a disaster, or in economic transition. HOT tries to develop a local OSM community and to create partnerships with local governments, academics and geographers who can use and contribute to OSM. These Initiatives on the ground include:
- Malawi July 2014 - Present
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia October 2013 - November 2015
- Western Africa (Togo, Senegal) June - July 2013
- Haiti, Northern Haiti - March-June 2013, a USAID project titled: "Engaging Youth to Map the Northern Corridor"
- Eurosha in Central and Eastern Africa, Oct 2012 - Feb 2013
- Senegal May-June 2012
- Haiti, St. Marc Spring 2012
The Missing Maps Project
The Missing Maps Project is an open collaboration founded by HOT, Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), American and British Red Cross. It aims to map, within two years, the parts of the world where the most vulnerable people live. Building on the excellent work done by OpenStreetMap and others in emergency-response mapping, the Missing Maps Project aims to map in a proactive way. Instead of responding to a natural disaster, conflict or epidemic, it will identify regions vulnerable to crises will map them in anticipation of crises. This means that, when a crisis does occur, local people, NGOs and other responders can start using the maps and the data immediately, saving valuable time and, potentially, lives.
Visit the Missing Maps website for more details.
Other HOT Activities to Date
- MapKibera Project
- Map Kibera Import .. help bring Map Kibera into OpenStreetMap
- Routing, Import of data and GPS mapping in Haiti following Hurricane Gustav
- Coordinating travel scholarships for developing world mappers to attend State of the Map 2009 & 2011
- Technical advising in Palestinian West Bank mapping
- UN and OSM
- Advocacy and Mapping Parties in Egypt, Kenya, South Africa
- FreeMapIndia 2008 Workshop Tour
- OSM training following Cyclone Nargis
- Opening and Import of UN map data for Sudan
- Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Knight News Challenge Proposal
Contact and Media Resources
- To email HOT staff directly: info @ hotosm.org
- Email the Communications working group: communications @ hotosm.org
- Email the Activation working group: activation @ hotosm.org
- Visit the HOT Website, sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the page
- HOT mailing list - Moderate traffic announcements and discussion; ~1900 subscribers as of March 2017
- HOT Updates - Details of HOT activities (RSS), feel free to contact us with a suggested text for blog posts
- OSM Tasking Manager - HOT mapping coordination tool
- Social Media:
- Live Chat:
Presentations on HOT activities. Open-licensed slides are available for use in presentations.
- June 2014, Pierre Béland, Haiyan and Ebola Activations Cases Presentation at the IEEE conference in Montreal
- Jan 2014, Pierre Béland Presentation at the Open Data for Development Challenge, Montreal.
- May 2012 Harry's 20-minute overview to a geotech audience + similar slides used at PICNIC (video)
- August 2011 Update about HOT's work in Indonesia
- OSM work in the Haiti Earthquake response at UNOSAT - World Bank and The European Union Joint Research Centre workshop on Damage Assessment (Geneva 26/27 April 2010)
- FOSSGIS 2010, lightning talk about crisis mapping in Haiti by John07 Slides (German): 
- Harry - Aid Information Challenge slides + similar slides presented in Shanghai (video]
- Haiti Mapping BarCamp Canberra 2010 (Shoaib)
- CartONG at UNGIWG to represent OSM H.O.T.
- See also, a selection of relevant HOT slide decks at: http://www.slideshare.net/wonderchook, http://www.slideshare.net/nicolas_chavent or http://www.slideshare.net/Sev_hotosm/
HOT in the Media
- Nepal Earthquake Response
- Mapping a Way to a Better Future - AusAID
- OSM Marks The Spot - Medium (by: Tate Watkins)
- Citizen Cartographers Fill the Gaps In Maps - New Scientist, 2013-07-03
-  - NPR, HOT segment begins at 5:50, 2013-11-17
- Aljazeera - Digital drive aids Philippines relief - 18th Nov
- The Guardian : Online volunteers map Philippines after typhoon Haiyan - 15th Nov
- Nature - Crowdsourcing goes mainstream in typhoon response - 20th Nov
- Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda
- West Africa Ebola Response
- Missing Maps on BBC World Service "Click" Radio - Pete Masters and Dan Stowell talking about HOT and Missing Maps, on the BBC World Service (about 7 minutes) - Wed 12 Nov 2014.
Related Initiatives and Partnerships
- HOT Package
- DevelopmentSeed has imported FAO Africover to OSM
- Data sharing through UNSDI-t
- Ushahidi and Sahana integrate OpenStreetMap
- JumpStart International in Palestine
- Mapping & Planning Support (MAPS) - Canberra, Australia
- Map Give
- Missing Maps Project
- Open Cities mapping guide
- Humanitarian OSM Team/Interested OSM Users
- Humanitarian OSM Team/Members
- "Humanitarian" map style (also available on osm.org)
- HOT Mapping Tips
-  Humanitarian Response Portal, Administrative Boundaries, Populated places
-  FAO, International and Administrative boundaries
-  UN Second level Administrative boundaries (1:1'000'000)
-  MapLibrary.org, Administrative boundaries in development countries (License?)
-  Administrative boundaries (Redistribution, or commercial use, is not allowed without prior permission)
-  NGIS Populated places Geographic name files by countries
-  FreeGisData List of GIS Ressources
- Oxfam recent emergencies - google map. boo!
- Wikinews.org categories: politics & conflicts disasters & accidents- open licensed news