[HOT] OSM/HOT Haiti Field Mission - report week 3

nicolas chavent nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Fri Apr 16 00:37:19 BST 2010


 Back to base (Brittany, France) at the end of the third week of this
OSM/HOT mission in Haiti of which you'll find the main facts further below.

 In addition to the wealth of resources created by the OSM Wiki Project
Haiti, the efforts Robert and I spent in our first two weeks of mission
meeting and outreaching to all actors (UN and NGOs, Haitian National/Local
Authorities, Development projects and Haitian Civil Society), designing a
field OSM surveying and editing kit, delivering training and running field
surveys continue to pay in this last week.

 First layer of activities was training and surveying. More than 30 persons
were trained from UNICEF, UNOCHA, MINUSTAH, FAO, WFP, IOM, Shelter Box,
iMMAP, MapAction, INTERSOS, DAI project, WINNER project and their partners
in Port Au Prince Municipalities, SASH, CNIGS, CNSA, INURED and
Representative from the Forum of Communities of Cite Soleil.

 This was made possible by the growing and full engagement of freshly
trained mappers from both CNIGS (Centre National de l'Information
Geo-Spatiale/ Haitian National Mapping Agency) and WFP-VAM (UN World Food
Programme – Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping unit) in facilitating
training and carrying out surveying work combined with the logistics support
furnished by IOM, the human support of CNIGS making its sound personals
available and the positive receptiveness of all actors of the Haitian
geomatic scene. A training training and surveying force has been constituted
at the course of those past weeks and has now the means to keep at its own

 Those 3 weeks allowed us to find the right *modus operandi* in running
those capacity building exercises both in Port Au Prince and in country
(Jacmel & Leogane). We all proved to be able to accommodate for
comprehensive formal half a day sessions (LogBase, WINNER Project, Cite
Soleil) as well as multiple and diverse *ad hoc* sessions delivered to all
(drivers, secretaries, social, project workers to hard core GIS
practitioners) at all times (day time, lunch breaks, Eastern holidays, or
night sessions...).

Last Tuesday 6-April featured the scenario to run future in-country
trainings and surveys. We were 8 (5 CNIGS, 1 WFP-VAM, a driver and myself)
to take the road to Leogane where a humanitarian base had been set up.
Upstream Frederic Moine coordinated and raise awareness about this trip. Up
to 15 persons from different organizations were trained and some took part
in parallel surveying works carried out in the city. We grew our base of
trainees by running *agit prop* techniques throughout the camp, definitively
a very enabling environment: receptive persons joining in and propagating
the call for training and surveying within the network of partners from DPC
(Haitian Disaster Management Agency). It would have been easy, staying in
longer to reach out to many and to plug our growing surveying forces into
on-going activities.

 Small agile autonomous teams of 4, furnished with an OSM surveying kit (a
pelican case storing laptop, GPS units/Data Loggers and printer), equiped
with tent and basic camping gears, moving to those Haitian secondary hubs
taking advantage of convoys, vehicle movements and helicopter rotations to
carry out training and surveying work with all willing actors would for a
limited budget certainly pay a large tribute to the current phase of the
relief work and efficiently support the starting preparedness activities to
mitigate the forthcoming cyclonic season. This should be combined in Port Au
Prince with some formal/ ad-hoc training in LogBase (and any additional
workable place) to help maintaining the capacities grown there.

 Much more than techniques were transmitted at the event of these many
sessions which worked as network incubators. Catalysts of professional
networks growth with the OSM *modus operandi* opening up for GIS
practitioners from CNIGS, VAM, CNSA., UN and Development projects wide
spectra of cooperation areas. Incubator of social networks *tout court* with
the strengthening of comradeship ties, relations organizational,
trans-organizational, relations: in one word, something of an OSM community
at work in Haiti.

 Second layer of activities was outreach and meeting to articulate OSM to
present and future geo data management activities in Haiti. This resulted
into a shift where by OSM got considered not only as a data feeder consumed
in many handy formats but also as a functional and powerful data editing
collaborative platform to support geodata management efforts from Haitian
humanitarian and national actors.

 Imports and maintenance schemes involving OSM tied to the Humanitarian Data
Model to ensure semantic interoperability were discussed with humanitarian
data custodians and CNIGS. The work carried out by the community over the
Health Facility objects (PAHO data imports) served as both an illustration
and a model for these talks. This would be mutually beneficial. OSM would
gain a streamlined access to the humanitarian data shareable and compatible
with the scope of the project produced at the event of this crisis. OSM
would become a *de facto* receptacle of this humanitarian geodata effort and
play a role in data accessibility, sharing and visualization in support of
exiting mechanims. To the eye of the custodian, OSM is seen as complimentary
working as a data feeder branched to “wild” data collection efforts
happening outside of its reach in community mapping scheme (Precarious urban
areas - Cite Soleil/ Rural Areas). .

 Those talks were engaged with UNICEF (schools, qualitative indicators on
camp), Education Cluster (schools), CCCM Cluster (camps), WFP/UN LogCluster
(Logistics), OCHA (standardization, capacity building and disaster
preparedness) and will need a follow-up..

The CNIGS got the full value of OSM as a common and open receptacle of
humanitarian data, as a data feeder able to leverage the power of the crowd
in both perspective and as a skilled and committed community willing and
able to help articulating and activating global and local capacities. CNIGS
engaged in OSM, getting 10 of their staffs cognizant and is planning use the
platform in articulation with its own data management solution for their
base map layers. CNIGS will advocate for OSM among their partners. CNIGS has
been furnished with an OSM surveying kit (2 laptpops, one printer, 5 GPS
units) in support of this scheme.

 Direct illustration of this is the DPC (Direction de la Protection Civile/
the Haitian National Disaster Management Agency) considering to make of OSM
the technical solution of their geodata data management pipeline in both
disaster preparedness and direct disaster response. This could start for the
next Cyclonic season. In this pattern, the CNIGS would work as a geographic
information service provider for DPC. If this would happen ideally in
coordination with similar efforts run on the humanitarian front by OCHA ,
the benefits for the project and for the constitution of an OSM community in
Haiti would simply be great since the DPC has a massive presence over the

 Outreach to the groups of the civil society was the third pillar of this
mission targeted at growing autonomously the Project in Haiti. The interest
for community mapping schemes based on OSM techniques in precarious
neighborhoods of Port Au Prince is vivid and geographical information is
perceived in both its technical and political aspects. Politically, mapping
the un-mapped camps, population needs, mapping the gaps of both humanitarian
and national current and planned responses is simply a question of life and
death and for a community mapping its own environment (expressing in a
cartographic language its knowledge of its environment is seen as an evident
step and ground on which building to give more strength to the on-going
processes by which the civil society seeks an active role in the current

3 representatives from the Forum of Communities of Cite Soleil and from
INURED (a potential partner for those type of project) trained last Saturday
3-April in Cite Soleil attended a second training facilitated by CNIGS in
LogBase in the IOM carre (IOM being the lead Agency of the Camp Coordination
and Management Cluster). Already fluent with GPS and questionnaires surveys,
they made it to the end of the editing process and now need regular

 A surveying kit dedicated to community mapping has been left under the
custodianship of CNIGS. Furnished with GPS units, access to a dedicated
workstation and benefiting from the technical support of CNIGS, both people
from Cite Soleil Forum and INURED should be able to pursue in their
acquiring of OSM techniques and contribute their pieces of data over Cite
Soleil to the project in articulation of the efforts of the camp custodian
(IOM). In the rural area, SASH a grass root NGO from UK engaged in mapping
the un-mapped camps will furnish a support similar as CNIGS in community
mapping schemes..

 It's hard to predict in such a fast changing and complex environment the
course at which the above described dynamics will proceed. One thing Robert
and myself are sure of is that OSM made it to nice people which tied to
remote community support and on-the-ground missions with some on-site
institutional support (even limited) should ensure a minimal growth of the
project in Haiti.

 Remote support spanning over data imports, remote survey editing,
translation, developments, capacity building materials in OSM and OSGeo
stacks, project proposal writing works and other work items will be needed
as well an as continuous as possible OSM presence on the ground. This will
work both as as catalysts of the alchemy on the making in Haiti and as an
internal strengthening of OSM/HOT capacities whereby new mappers will be
exposed to the specifics of field humanitarian work and more be able to step
in in the future (Haiti or elsewhere).

 The above short paragraph is meant to keep digesting the lessons we are
learning from Haiti since 12-Jan in the light of those past 3 weeks and
ensure that the OSM project will remain useful, relevant and efficiently
articulated to the current relief and reconstruction work in Haiti.

 Those 3 weeks meant clearly a lot for us on all plans and we can only be
grateful to have had the chance to deploy in this land and thank again the
whole community for the work invested on OSM at large and on Haiti in
particular, the support furnished by MapAction to make this mission on ECHO
funding possible, the support provided in Haiti by IOM (logisitcs,
worksplace), by CNIGS (human resources), ushaidi (networking and outreach to
INURED & Cite Soleil) and the many we interacted with.


Nicolas Chavent
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
Mobile (Haiti): +509 348 50 336
Mobile (FRA): +33 6 75 14 29 70
Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Skype: c_nicolas
Twitter: nicolas_chavent
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