[HOT] MSF data shred to OSM

Roxana NAZARIE Roxana.NAZARIE at geneva.msf.org
Fri Aug 6 11:49:02 UTC 2021

Dear all,

I'm writing to you concerning the best way for MSF and for OSM community to share MSF data to OSM.

As MSF is a high consumer of volunteered geographic information as well as GIS data shared on different humanitarian platforms, we've been working lately on defining an internal Data Sharing Policy for what we call "non-sensitive geospatial data", so that at our turn we share the data we collect/produce with the geospatial community. The "non-sensitive geospatial data" refers to Populated places, Roads, Buildings with no classification, Bridges, Water surfaces and Water points. Eventhough a dataset coming from a field mission might be considered at a first sight a "non-sensitive geospatial data", before sharing it to OSM we need to have the local mission approval - which is  an .xls file that we keep internally.

Last year we had a rush request from the field to upload to OSM a dataset with buildings extracted from imagery (by one of our units), so that the GIS Officer in the field could see them as background in OsmAnd, and thus ease the data collection in the field in the context of a Mosquito indoor spraying campaign - instead of having to manually upload the dataset on each mobile device. In the end the project was cancelled in the field, but we wanted to pursue with the data sharing, and we launched an import process. We realized soon that passing through all the steps of an import (especially the Community buy-in, Wiki page and the Import review) is a time consuming process, and it doesn't prove at all to be as operational as we would need in a rush context.

Our conclusion was that for us it would be more straightforward to share data as an edit process, with the help of advanced editors.

The approach we would like to have is:

-          Have the mission approval for the datasets we want to share

-          Check the data we want to share against the existing OSM data

-          Do the necessary geometry corrections

-          Convert the GIS attributes to osm tags

-          Generate the .osm files

-          Add them in JOSM > edit accordingly > Push the data to OSM (using individual accounts, and source data as "MSF", or using an MSF account)

This process can take 2-3 days max, instead of an import process which might take at least 1-2 weeks.

We have now on-pending to share data for Nigeria, Madagascar and Sudan. It would be very helpful to define the best way to do it so that the process is clear and straightforward for everyone involved.

Many thanks for your advice,


Roxana Nazarie
GIS Data Manager | GIS Centre
Médecins Sans Frontières
Email: roxana.nazarie at geneva.msf.org<mailto:roxana.nazarie at geneva.msf.org> | Web: https://geo.msf.org/home

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