[HOT] Humanitarian OSM Team Mission to Haiti - Week 2: Trainings and Field Assessment

Robert Soden robert.soden at gmail.com
Mon Apr 5 21:05:13 BST 2010

The project continues to go well.  The focal points of this week were a
two-day surveying trip to Jacmel with IOM and CNIGS and an OSM mapping party
on Saturday with the Cite Soleil community forum and an NGO called INURED.

To prep for the Jacmel trip we first needed to sort out the data models used
by the various agencies collecting info on schools, hospitals, roads, water
points, IDP camps, and the electricity grid.  After a slough of meetings and
emails with GIS and Information officers we were able to come up with some
basic structures that we turned into paper forms and JOSM presets based on
the OSM Humanitarian Data Model. With this done, we were able to look over
existing data with IOM to target priority areas, print out some Walking
Papers, load the OSM pelican cases into the back of a pickup truck, and make
the 3 hour drive to Jacmel.  Nicolas and I were accompanied by staff of IOM,
MapAction, and CNIGS whom we had trained previously and met by staff of the
IOM office in Jacmel who also participated in the exercises.  We spent the
majority of our time there doing training and the field collecting
information, data checking and entry will happen this week.

Nicolas will be doing similar work in Leogane this coming week and will have
more insights but so far we can say that using Walking Papers to help orient
the surveyor, define areas of responsibility, and allow for ad-hoc note
taking along with GPS and paper assessment forms worked great.  We worked in
groups of three but two seems sufficient.  The JOSM presets we built made it
pretty simple to transfer the information collected on paper right into
OSM.  The short trainings we provided on use of GPS, Walking Papers, and
JOSM seemed sufficient to allow new mappers to quickly get up to speed on
the process.  There's some strategic questions to think about regarding
indicator data that changes frequently or is very operation specific and
smart ways for managing the unique IDs agencies assign to objects like camps
and schools but this is pretty simple stuff.  Expected challenges that we
did not run into here include lack of internet access, issues concerning
sensitive data, and finding effective strategies for using Walking Papers in
the rain :)

We spent Saturday in Cite Soleil, meeting with 8 representatives from the
community forum and joined by a GIS officer from CNIGS, and staff from
INURED (http://inured.org).  We were introduced to the Cite Soleil Community
Forum and INURED by Sabina from the Ushahidi team. The Forum is very
interested in ways in which they could collect and share information about
Cite Soleil, which has not received much attention during the response -
issues of access and information about the community being the primary
reasons given by actors we spoke with.  We spent a few hours talking with
them about their work, explaining OSM and the various tools, and then split
up into groups and walked around - collecting data using the same process we
had worked on in Jacmel.  One of the many small victories of this week was
that Abed from CNIGS, who we trained earlier in the week and came with us on
the Jacmel survey, took the lead in the mapping work and demonstrate for the
group how data entry in JOSM works once we returned.

In between these trips and the required preparation, we did a lot more OSM
training.  By my count, we trained around 30 new OSM mappers over the past 9
days.  This includes folks from most of the agencies working on LogBase,
several local and international NGOS, and the Haitian government.  Many of
them, like Abed, are now comfortable enough to train others.  Some will
likely need some more assistance before they are ready to go out on their

I arrived home to Washington DC last night.  Nicolas will remain in Haiti
for one more week, doing an assessment trip in Leogane (again with IOM and
CNIGS taking the lead), conducting more trainings (WFP-VAM, reps from Cite
Soleil, an NGO called the WINNER project, and DAI are planned), and working
on defining plans for some longer term OSM projects in Haiti and within the
cluster system.  The first two weeks of the mission feel successful to us,
but some of the gains we've made are still a bit fragile.  CNIGS has
expressed strong interest in making OSM an important part of their work, but
this relationship will need continued support.  Many of the GIS officers
using OSM on logbase, now trained on how to contribute, will reach the end
of their contracts in the next month and new staff will replace them.
Finding ways to establish continuity for OSM will be an important part of
Nicolas's last week.  The Cite Soleil Community Forum will need a lot of
support if they decide to continue to explore the possibilities that OSM
provides.  A possible short-term solution is to facilitate stronger
connections between CNIGS, who has expressed interest in slum mapping, and
the forum.  Longer term it makes sense to have this assistance coming from a
local NGO that is working in Cite Soleil, like INURED.

Nicolas will send a final update next week and there is a lot more we need
to clean up to share with the community - adjustments to the HDM, associated
JOSM presets, the training materials we developed, and ideas for future
activities for H.O.T in Haiti and elsewhere.

Best of luck to Nicolas on the rest of the mission!
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