User:Humanitarian Mapping Society GWU

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Who We Are

The Humanitarian Mapping Society at The George Washington University (HMS GW) is a student-run, co-founding chapter of Youth Mappers located on the GWU campus. We focus on intersecting geographic information systems, global humanitarian operations, and map literacy across many study areas to to expand student-led efforts and serve the global community. Frequent partners include the Red Cross - Missing Maps Project, USAID, the US Department of State - Humanitarian Information Unit and MapGive.

To stay updated on our upcoming events and activities, visit our Facebook page - @GWHMS or follow us on Twitter @HMS_GW

What We Do


We host map-a-thons approximately every month, on the GW campus. Our map-a-thons usually consisting of a 20-minute OSM training and at least 1.5 hours of mapping a specific task assigned to us by a partner or high-priority task from the HOT Tasking Manager. We choose 2-3 tasks for every event with appropriate difficulty level and feature type.

Trainings and Workshops

We host a training or workshop approximately every month, usually focusing on a specific GIS tool or application. These include:

  • JavaOpenStreetMap (JOSM) Offline Editor Training
  • Validation Map-a-thon
  • Field mapping
  • Mobile app data collection

Speakers and Partnerships

How to Contribute to OpenStreetMap

Creating an Account

*Use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. MS Internet Explorer is not well supported.  1. Go to:

2. In the upper right-hand corner, click ‘Sign Up’

3. Enter your email address (or choose to sign up through an alternate third party)

4. Choose and enter your Display Name (i.e. your username. Choose wisely! Your display name will be public.)

5. Choose and enter a password

6. Click the blue, ‘Sign Up’ button

7. Check your email for confirmation and click the link in the body of the email.

Getting comfortable with OSM

1. Log into OSM

2. Use the search utility to search for a place near you, or familar to you.

3. Locate the zoom controls and use them to change the map focus

4. Change from the default background to Cycle Map, Transport, Humanitarian, Satellite, etc. and observe the changes in the map display.

5. Click 'Edit' to invoke the iD editor

6. You will be presented with a banner, 'Welcome to the iD OpenStreetMap Editor'

7. Click 'Start Walkthrough' and complete the steps in the tutorial to get comfortable with adding, editing, and tagging features. See below for more tips.

Mapping Buildings

Mapping and Tagging Roads

Using JavaOpenStreetMap (JOSM)

Past Events


Helpful Links

  • The Missing Maps Project (Red Cross)
    • Two-Minute Tutorials Youtube Series:
      • What is a Mapathon?
      • Hosting a Mapathon
      • What is OSM?
      • What is Missing Maps?
  • For Educators: TeachOSM