[HOT] OSM humanitarian mapping and its learning curve

Phil (The Geek) Wyatt phil at wyatt-family.com
Thu Oct 13 12:02:25 UTC 2016

"Having said that, I'd like to punt this back to Phil and Sev as I speak to people in the field, who use the data, on a regular basis. Data quality, so far, has almost never come up as an issue. Do you guys have different experience or feedback from field teams? It would be useful to know specifics if you have.

Cheers, Pete

Hi Pete,

Despite being a mapper for Red Cross, all my work is in Australia where I generally have access to relatively high quality Government spatial data. My interest in OSM/HOT is in support of international projects and where possible I would love to see the best quality digitising regardless of who is doing the work.

I know I made mistakes as a newbie as I just dived in and had a go (typical Aussie approach!) and I suspect many first time mappers do just that, despite there now being good tutorials around on many aspects of ID/JOSM Editor. Slowly I found more details and have since gone back to some areas I mapped originally to square up buildings and do other tidying. I also started mapping in my local area until I found the HOT site so I had some experience when diving into the humanitarian work.

I suspect you are right that any mapping is better than none for many humanitarian projects and initial quality issues are probably overlooked but we should endeavour to always improve. Leaving the least number of 'errors' for the locals to clean up is a worthy goal.

A more refined web interface where actual projects are further down the page with the initial splash screen asking folks to complete some minimal training does not seem that onerous to me. Even a tabbed interface, to split off harder tasks with specific notes in the header regarding the type of work that will be involved, would make it easier to explain levels of tasks and preferred competencies.

/ New mappers \ / Harder Tasks \ /Complex Tasks \ / Validation \

New mappers.

Tasks in this group are ideal for new mappers using the ID interface.  Check out the videos below to understand how best to undertake the mapping and how the data is used by requesting organisations. After the videos, select a task from the projects below. There will be more specific instructions under each task.

Adding Roads Video


Mapping Residential Boundaries Video


Task 1


Task 3


I hope these thoughts are useful and I am happy to help out testing any new interface. I am not a coder but work with lots of volunteers so have a fair idea how they think and work.


Cheers - Phil


Volunteer Mapper (GISMO) -  <http://www.redcross.org.au/volunteering.aspx> Red Cross,  <http://wildcaretas.org.au/branches/friends-of-gis/> Wildcare Volunteer



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