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Author: Missing Maps Project
License: Data (CC BY 3.0) and App (BSD) (free of charge)
Platforms: Android and iOS
Version: 2.1.2 (2021-07-17)
Source code:

Super-simple contribution to humanitarian mapping (indirectly) by helping find features in imagery

MapSwipe is an app developed by a team in collaboration with the Missing Maps Project as an easy way for people to contribute to humanitarian mapping efforts. The contribution is indirect. A form of "second level crowdsourcing".

The app was launched July 2016. Listen to a radio interview about it and see the HOT mailing list posting for release information.

Users swipe through satellite images of a region, tapping the screen when they see features they’re looking for including settlements, roads and rivers. This information is fed back to mappers who need this information to build detailed and useful maps. At present, they have to spend days scrolling through thousands of images of uninhabited forest or scrubland looking for communities that need mapping. Now, members of the public can directly contribute to MSF’s medical activities by locating people in need more quickly so mappers, and ultimately medical professionals on the ground, can get straight to work.

Using MapSwipe

Download the (free) app

How to use MapSwipe

MapSwipe is very intuitive. Follow next steps:

  • Choose your 'mission'. Each mission will indicate what you are looking for (for example, buildings and roads).
  • Swipe left to see the next tile.
  • Tap once on a square to identify a feature. The square will turn green.
  • Tap twice if you are not sure, but you think there is a feature. The square will turn orange.
  • Tap three times to identify bad / no imagery or cloud cover. The square will turn red.

Host a MapSwipe event

Organizing a MapSwipe-a-thon is a simple, yet powerful way to make an impact. All you need is a room, your mobile phone, and an internet connection. Grab your friends, organize your colleagues, and get swiping. Find more information on the MapSwipe event FAQ.

Need some help?

Check out next resources:

Giving feedback

We welcome feedback. Please leave your questions, comments, or concerns on this form. MapSwipe is an open source project created and maintained by volunteers like you, so the best way to see new features implemented is to get involved and make it happen. More technical feedback can be added to

Requesting a MapSwipe mission

Create your project

MapSwipe is an app developed within the Missing Maps Project, but any organisation or local OSM community can request a MapSwipe mission.

The different project types you can request are:

  • Build area : A 6 squares layout is used for this project type. By tapping MapSwipe users can classify a tile of satellite imagery as yes, maybe or bad_imagery. Project managers can define which objects to look for, e.g. "buildings". Furthermore, they can specify the tile server of the background satellite imagery, e.g. "bing" or a custom tileserver. By scanning imagery on buildings, the result data set will give an overview of the population distribution.
  • Footprint (upcoming)
  • Change detection (upcoming)

Find all information to request a MapSwipe mission in this document.

Follow progress and engage

You can follow the progress of your task in the app itself, or on the MapSwipe data page created by the team at HeiGIT and the MapSwipe volunteers.

Download and work with the data

Once your task is at 100%, the data is available to download on MapSwipe data page, and is being used either directly or to guide further mapping priorities. This for example feeding into the design of OSM Tasking Manager projects, in an manual observational way, or via automated project designing mechanisms which are still somewhat under development.

DisasterMappers Heildeberg recently blogged about Integrating MapSwipe and HOT Tasking Manager They developed a process for taking MapSwipe results (left) and setting up a Task Manager project to map the settlements (right)


You can join the MapSwipe conversations on Slack. Please do sign up here:

Open Source code on github

The app is hosted on and it is managed and developed by the MapSwipe volunteer working group that meets every two weeks. If you would like to be part of these discussions.

MapSwipe Analytics

Provides statistics, visualisation and data for MapSwipe (most of these are deprecated, but we keep them here for future reference):

MapSwipe and Machine Learning

A suite of tools for doing machine learning with the data from Mapswipe:

Blogs and News

May 2019

April 2019

June 2018

November 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

August 2016

July 2016