Humanitarian Open Streetmap

(Redirected from HOT-OSM)

Humanitarian OpenStreetmap Team (HOT-OSM) is a Non-Government Organisation, that uses the concept of Collaborative Mapping to create free, up-to-date maps. These maps are a critical resource when relief organizations (e.g. like Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, ...) are responding to disasters, epdimiological problems or political crises. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) creates and provides those maps.

With the e.g. Malaria Eradication the NGO HOT-OSM contributes to SDG3: Good Health and Well-being
With Managua Tramsportation Map HOT-OSM supports SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure - UN-Guidelines[1]



Now we consider humanitarian support and the role of mapping activities. Please keep in mind, that mapping activities are just one resource in huge collection of resources that are needed to implement humanitarian support according to the needs of communities and organisations that address the humanitarian needs. The approach performed by HOT is based on open geodata and not limited to the open source software infrastructure provide by Open Street Map. For the humanitarian support in general different source of data must be integrated for implementation. E.g. some required data might be collected with the Open Data Kit to address the e.g. cross-sectional household surveys with ODK supported by WHO in Nigeria[2]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[3] can address immunization delivery and spatial coverage in villages and rural communities or urban settings. The Red Cross[4] and Red Crescent[5] used mobile information technology during planning, implementation and evaluation of a polio campaign in South Sudan. Remoteness is a spatial property, which characterized distance and availability of spatially distributed resources. Therefore mapping service are one component to assess social vulnerability of communities.

The key of learning resource is, that we will approach the mapping activities from the humanitarian needs. Not all humanitarian support needs maps. The learning objective is to give a basic outline, how to derive the mapping activities from the community needs. Regard technological options as a toolbox and the learning objective is, to be able to select the available resources for the humanitarian support in an optimized way.

  • Analysis humanitarian activities and interventions:
    • what are the actors in humanitarian support and what are the needs to perform the humanitarian support?
    • what are the requirements, constraints, risks and resources to provide humanitarian support for communities? What is the benefit of mapping the available resources and risks? Can the resources be integrated smoothly in the humanitarian support infrastructure? Are the people trained to use these tools to the benefit of the risk exposed communities or demands and communities needs?
    • is there demand for spatial mapping services (e.g. transportation map, mapping rural infrastructure for humanitarian support)?
  • Mapping activity must have the objective to support and improve a humanitarian service (e.g. that limited resources can be allocated in an optimized way to support a risk exposed community)
  • Adress missing objects and/or missing classification of objects in the Open Street Map - e.g. health care facilities are crucial for humanitarian support in the context of health care services. If health care facilities (e.g. rural health posts) are not mapped in a geospatial databases, that these resources might not be integrated in risk mitigation activities or in general considered in Supply Chain Management.
  • Mapping is needed to visualize, where are my resource (including mobile resource - tracking of objects and visualization on the map) and an optimized coordination of response activities according to the needs of the communities.

Application of Satellite Technology


Impacts of disasters like earthquakes and flooding can be detected with Earth Observation (EO) techniques including Satellite Technology. The earthquakes altered the digitial elevation of the earth surface and the digital elevation model can be generated with satellite technology. Furthermore ground truth data can be collected by citizens or community members that assess buildings and the structure of the building (e.g. cracks in the building - need for evacuation of a hospital and without significant impact on the digital elevation model). Human analytic skills and collection of ground truth data can be combine with satellite technology and the detection of destroyed building by alteration of the digital elevation model. Generation of rapid maps after a disaster can support humanitarian aid (land slide destroyed roads and transport infrastructure) or be helpful for spatial risk assessment.

Learning Tasks

Waypoints, Route und Track - Route was planed - Track captured the actual waypoints e.g. of a specific vehicle - e.g. the track shows a required deviation due to a landslide encountered on the planed route
3D tsunami animation - Search for maps that show the alteration of coastline caused by a Tsunami

The learning task exposes you to collaborative mapping approaches in conjunction with earth observation. Try to identify shortcomings and benefit of these approaches separately and try to analyse the challenges combining these data resources.

  • (Learn how to Map Collaboratively) Learn how to individuals can support a collaborative mapping activity with
  • (Workflow) Explain the workflow for the remote analysis of satellite images und describe how citizens could contribute to collaborative mapping in the context of satellite images. Explain the need for ground truth data collected by community members.
  • (Validation) Assume that some adds database records for a destroyed building or critical infrastructure that is not true. What are options of the community members validate such a false report? Assume a destroyed infrastructure (health care facilities) was heavily destroyed and now it provides a basic service again. Describe a workflow for updating database records due to alteration of the
  • (Disaster Mapping) Explain why capacity building and learning of these collaborative mapping approach in conjunction with satellite imagess is necessary to create maps rapidly an emergency case (see HOT-OSM Disaster Mapping)? What are challenges, requirements and constraints of ground truth data and earth observation? Why is it helpful to trained in the workflow of collaborative mapping prior the events and explain what stops people from contributions map missing areas on the globe for humanitarian aid (e.g. see
  • (Public Transport Map) If a tranaportation network grows by offering transportation services by individual or small companies, then it might happen, that a regional transportation maps is missing for traveling and organizing longer trips or trips with public transport in areas in which only the local population knows the available line. Having a regional transportation map that aggregates all the a available lines and transportation services is a helpful map to organize the trips especially when citizens are dependent on these transportation services. Explain the humanitarian benefits exspecially for people that do own a vehicle (e.g. reach a medical service, come to school, transport goods to a market, ...). Look a HOT activity to create the Managua Transport Maps explain how the workflow of Collaborative Mapping was applied on the transportation map.
  • (IT Expert Learning Task) Explore the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service and analyse how a Spatial Decision Support Layer can be used together with the Overpass API of OpenStreetMap to create spatial decision support product.
  • (Dynamic Mapping) Explain the general difference between a mapped moving vehicle and mapped road on which the vehicle is moving! A Tsunami can change the coastline and destroy roads. Humanitarian support especially in natural disasters have to incorporated these alterations in their response strategies and their supply chain management. What are technological options to represent these alteration in a map and explain the challenges and difference between an altered coastline and a moving vehicle for a spatial mapping of objects. Simulations could show the impact of an event in the future. Why are maps with the all infrastructure and digital elevation model very important to improve the preparedness of communities to risks.

Community Activities of Volunteers

  • HOT-OSM applies the Open Community Approach for mapping products. Explore the workflow for volunteers and identify a role for your contribution in an upcoming disaster. If you want, learn to support humantarian activities and improve you skills to contribute as a volunteer in collaborative mapping.
  • Translate this page in your native language in Wikiversity environment (e.g. Spanish or Mandarin) if you know both languages. Explain the priority of language in which certain topics (e.g. about earth quakes and humanitarian aid) should be translated. Define a priority of languages for yourself in which a topic for capacity building should be translated.
    • analyse individual priorities for yourself at first (e.g. I would translate the english source at first in my mother tongue, because I want to support my region and the language capabilities are the best in my mother tongue) and
    • global priorities independent of you own language skills (e.g. X is a high risk area and a lot of people speak language Y).

See also



  1. UN-Guidelines for Use of SDG logo and the 17 SDG icons (2016/10) -
  2. Maduka, O., Akpan, G., & Maleghemi, S. (2017). Using Android and Open Data Kit Technology in Data Management for Research in Resource-Limited Settings in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: Cross-Sectional Household Survey. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 5(11).
  3. Nyaku, M., Wardle, M., Eng, J. V., Ametewee, L., Bonsu, G., Opare, J. K. L., & Conklin, L. (2017). Immunization delivery in the second year of life in Ghana: the need for a multi-faceted approach. The Pan African medical journal, 27(Suppl 3).
  4. Haskew, J., Kenyi, V., William, J., Alum, R., Puri, A., Mostafa, Y., & Davis, R. (2015). Use of mobile information technology during planning, implementation and evaluation of a polio campaign in South Sudan. PloS one, 10(8), e0135362.
  5. Wilbrink, J. G. (2017). Remoteness as a proxy for social vulnerability in Malawian Traditional Authorities An open data and open-source approach (MS thesis).
  6. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT-OSM) - Web-Portal (accessed 2017/09/12) - of
  7. Missing Maps - Web Portal for uncover areas on globe - Initiate collaborative mapping activities (accessed 2017/09/14) -