[HOT] contacting local mappers through their OSM accounts during HOT campaigns

Hugh Barnes list.osm at hughbris.com
Sun Mar 20 10:16:00 GMT 2011

On Sun, 13 Mar 2011 12:21:13 -0500, Kate Chapman <kate at maploser.com>
> Hi Hugh,

Hi, I'm sorry for replying late, I'm very stretched right now. I see there
is another message in this thread from Robin which I haven't yet read. I
want to approach this at least sequentially if I can't do it quickly.

> I think contacting local mappers of course is important.  I also think
> is a little more nebulous than many of the volunteer crisis response
> groups.  Meaning we aim to serve as a coordination, but people are going
> map if they think it is useful an appropriate.  Since OSM is a location
> information community/data source first and a humanitarian response tool
> second it makes things a bit weird at time.

I know about OSM's aversion to centralised planning. Emergency mapping is
quite different to casual mapping, in that we often assume that any map is
better in the situation than no map. So we don't take the usual care
because having more features that are 90% right is beneficial to the
crisis. If that isn't used or is unnecessary, and we can only do our best
to see that's not the case, we could actually be leaving a mess, the kind
of mess you wouldn't want in your own neighbourhood.

So it's a good point and I don't know the answer, just maybe to appeal for
common sense.

> Is the (wtf) about the Google Docs or just that one is accidentally
> locked?  If you link to it I can look to unlocking it.  The reason we
> some of the training materials there is:
> 1. We print those and take them to places with little/no internet
> connectivity.  Google docs has worked better for us for that sort of
> 2. We collaborate on them in real-time sometimes, which also works
> than the wiki.

The (wtf) is about being on a wiki, a collaborative tool, and linking off
to another collaborative tool. I can't tell you how to collaborate, but for
user experience it's better to stay on the one site when consuming
information from the one source. So perhaps see Google docs as a real-time
drafting platform and copy the results across. For staggered collaboration,
Mediawiki is great. I am pretty sure Wikipedia has a good print stylesheet,
so perhaps it's just something OSM wiki could tweak in theirs? (haven't
looked into this at all)

The locked document is:

(Communicating with Other OpenStreetMap Contributors Guide)

I haven't checked all of them.

Thanks for explaining the reasons. My concerns with using Google docs are:

a) accessibility - if all you want is nice printouts this may not be a
b) the awful URLs that I don't trust
c) the requirement to be a member, accept all those T&Cs etc that not
everyone is comfortable with, to participate in collaborating on that
d) it's not part of the wiki, so doesn't integrate with it in all the nice
ways you can.

> Yes getting in touch with mappers if you are going to do a bunch of
> editing in their area is the polite thing to do.  Though you'll find
> regionally there are different contact mechanisms depending on what
> for the local group.
> Do you have an interest in helping develop activation protocols?   What
> key I think is making them clear enough to help with organization, but
> really strict where people would just ignore them.

Yes, but I don't have the bandwidth. I don't argue for strict protocols at
all, just a ready list of what we've learned worked well in the past, which
we would adapt into a new approach each time.

I did this mostly yesterday, but I think it's way too rigid and
prescriptive (as you have rightly warned against):


In hindsight, it should be more like an unstructured checklist. I won't be
precious about it if someone makes that easy change or does whatever. I
have to leave it for now.


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