[HOT] HOT's Mission

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 29 17:13:01 BST 2011

I'm going to present a different point of view on this question.

First, I'm totally philosophically aligned with what I've heard so far. The lines between "disaster" and "development" are somewhat arbitrary, and the international organizational structures do reflect this, to the detriment of response. Following a sudden onset disaster, when is a disaster officially "over", and how have the problems changed? Pre-disaster, how can communities be made more resilient to future crisis? A more developed country would usually have a better response to disaster (though I'm not sure, ex. Hurricane Katrina and the panic over a little quake in DC). Knowing when a disaster starts is also a decision in many cases, such as famines [http://hot.openstreetmap.org/weblog/2011/08/activation-in-somalia/]. 

OSM has a unique ability to bridge these divisions ... open data persists throughout all stages of a crisis, and to a great extent, the activity in similar. 

That said, disaster response does have unique characteristics. The urgency of the situation, the particular kinds of things that need mapping, the activities that need maps ... this is the raison d'etre of HOT, and it's very complicated. The discussions on what counts as an "activation" address these issues.

I promised a different point of view, and haven't really given that so far. 

My concern is very practical, for HOT as an organization taking on projects. OSM and HOT as a community, I see as most definitely taking part in "development" efforts. The question in my mind is how HOT as an organization would take on funded development projects. What criteria do we apply to judge a project as being useful to HOT's mission? The projects HOT has been involved in so far are more clearly in post-disaster recovery (in Haiti, in organizational support to COSMHA) and in disaster risk reduction (Indonesia). 

"Development" as a field encompasses so many different kinds of things. Infrastructure development, health, governance ... every sector you can think of. As Lisa Sweeney mentioned "education can be considered part of development". The types of projects this opens up is so intensely varied, and while this is an opportunity, it is also a concern.

HOT needs to be able to respond. How that balances with ongoing projects is already a question. How do we judge what kinds of things are appropriate, and how do we ensure that HOT as an organization and community is not overwhelmed by new activities. I don't have any answers, but only think we need to carefully think about the practical impacts that a clearly expanded mission creates.


== Mikel Maron ==
+14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron

>From: Kate Chapman <kate at maploser.com>
>To: hot <hot at openstreetmap.org>
>Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 12:37 AM
>Subject: [HOT] HOT's Mission
>Hey All,
>So when we incorporated HOT as an official entity the mission
>statement was "Using OpenStreetMap for Disaster Response and Economic
>We've also recently talked about the difference between activations
>and projects as well.  Meaning that activations are in response to an
>event and projects are longer term work in preparedness or rebuilding
>for examples.  (Indonesia and Haiti being examples of this)
>Sometimes other projects are suggested more in the realm of
>development projects.  I don't think there is an argument that having
>better maps in developing areas can help people, but is this within
>the scope of HOT?  Is it within the realm of what HOT wants to do or
>is that "mission creep"?
>Some of us on the board have discussed this, but really it is
>something that should come from the HOT membership
 and community.
>Anyway, we are interested in obtaining some feedback and having a
>discussion through the mailing list.  I will also put it on the agenda
>for the next HOT chat.
>HOT mailing list
>HOT at openstreetmap.org
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