Stream Cleaning - Harita Kerala Mission

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Harita Kerala Mission is an initiative of the Govt of Kerala that aims to promote ecologically sustainable development in the state. One area of their work is water resource management. They felt a need for microlevel water resources maps. It was felt that building such a map on OpenStreetMap will address the needs of the Mission and will enrich the commons. Mission, offers a 6 months internship program to graduates. They work on various developmental programs of the Mission such as cleaning of streams, waste management activities, and social forestry. Their work is primarily in the field. They tried to identify and map water resources in the OpenStreetMap during the lockdown caused by COVID 19 pandemic. Nearly 23,000 km of stream network was mapped during this lockdown period (Total stream length in OSM is 28,000 km). Around 400+ participants contributed as per osm analytics.

Several issues were identified in this mapping process. The effort is to address the mistakes that came up in the process. Community reported some of the common mistakes.

In this process Local resource persons and interns at Harita Mission who are familiar with locality shall do the review of streams mapped.


The proposed process is as below.

  • Tasking manager based project will be created for each district.
  • Local resource persons who are familiar with the area shall take up task from these projects
  • They will check for following mistakes are correct them
    • Remove non-existent streams drawn. Validation will be done based on Satellite image and local knowledge. Support of local resource persons of Harita Mission with field knowledge shall be sought for correction.
    • Naming of stream based on local knowledge and local map available from Panchayath or other related government agencies
    • Add ponds identified on imagery and give names if information is available with the mapper
  • A trial run for 2-3 days will be conducted and review will be conducted. Community feedback will be sought and instruction shall be given back to mapping volunteers.
  • The activities shall have the hashtag #mapathonkeralam #haritamission #streams

While the mappers mostly new to OSM, some of them have substantial local knowledge. They also hold traditional printed maps with information on stream names etc, which they shall use to enrich the map.

Field level validation was envisaged but not able to achieve in the current circumstances.