[Osmf-talk] Humanitarian work (was: 2018 a third episode...)

nicolas chavent nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 21:30:39 UTC 2018

Hi Pete and all,

(Apologies for the initial post sent out by error)

Thanks for your email, none is unaware of the status of OSM as a key
component for basemap data in any geospatial opendata management
solution in the humanitarian and development sectors where freshly
updated OSM data are accessible as Core Operational Datasets (COD) [1]
on the HDX humdata platform maintained by the UN Office of
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) [2]. That's the result
of years of collective work pre HOT project, through HOT project,
through HOT US Inc, as well as of course outside HOT US Inc and it's
surely a matter of happiness for all those involved in making that
revolution in paradigm (switch2OSM) happening in that Hum/Dev sectors.

The reasons why a couple of emails in this conversation focused on the
beginnings of the HOT Project and HOT US Inc lies in Simon's question
about the status of this possible new humanitarian working group
within the Foundation : does it already exist (HOT project/HOT US Inc)
or is it yet to bre created? Hence why some of us chimed in.

It seems that there's some need to assemble materials documenting the
emerging of OSM across the humanitarian and development sectors from
the early ages to nowadays. Without any doubt describing how the many
actors of that field are using and contributing to OSM would be highly
beneficial for all the WG participants, but as well as OSMF and OSM
members, as well as all actors interested in geospatial opendata. This
can be listed as a work item for this working group.

I think that the other points of your email have been somehow
addressed: none is refusing a place and a role for HOT US Inc, the
organization, its voting_members and the OSM mappers happy to act
within HOT US Inc mindset/operational style.
What has been criticized is the unbalanced presence of that
organization at the OSMF Board.
What has also been criticizedare the blurred lines marking the extent
of HOT US Inc community within all those of the OSM community active
across humanitarian and development sectors or simply active mapping
for OSM and only for OSM on-the-ground and from afar territories where
humanitarians or development actors are present.
In this, there's no hate, no disrespect for HOT US Inc, the OSM
mappers who hare happy mapping within a HOT US Inc ethos and

One of the purposes of this WG, through "Who's Who" and "Who does what
where" exercises, is to clarify those lines, and help definie
entitites, work out ways for cooperating/mutualizing resources across
those entities and escape a situation where someone mapping remotely
on the HOT US Inc instance of the Tasking manager is most likely to be
identified as an OSM member also member of the HOT US Inc community,
when this person is just mapping this territory without any
willingness to be affiliated to HOT US Inc or its community.


[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Operational_Datasets
[2]: https://data.humdata.org/

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 4:54 PM Pete Masters <pedrito1414 at googlemail.com> wrote:
> Hi all, I'd like to add a perspective here. As well as the longer history of OSM and humanitarian work, there is also a more recent history. Things have changed significantly since the days when volunteer geographical information was new and disruptive in the humanitarian world and, from the perspective of a humanitarian organisation, that change has been overwhelmingly positive.
> The amount of support volunteers have provided in humanitarian crises (as well as to development and resilience projects) over the last few years has been remarkable. I work for MSF and on a daily basis I am reminded of how much of an impact OSM has had, whether it is through HOT (the community and the NGO), the Missing Maps project, related open source software projects or local OSM communities, the evidence of positive impact on life-saving humanitarian work is all around me. And, please don't get me wrong... I am not suggesting that maps are directly saving patients' lives in MSF projects (we have nurses and doctors that do that). However, every time we can use better maps to inform our epidemiological analysis, to improve our resource allocation and decision making, to identify accessible community vaccination points, to do thorough assessment of access to water, to plan supply and logistics, it is improving our service to patients and communities.
> OSM is no longer perceived by humanitarian actors as an outlier or a disrupter- it's a part of the way we work with data - and that change has happened in the past 4(ish) years.
> The formative years of HOT (of which I was not a part) paved the way to this change and I take my hat off to all of those involved. And I love being a part of a community that has such radical and visionary roots. However, the systematic way in which OSM data is now used to improve the way humanitarian response is done has required change (as referenced by Mikel and Nico). HOT, as an NGO, has had to change. And, yes, it has come to resemble more and more an NGO with a hierarchy, funding needs, a workforce and projects (and, yes, a legal name).
> What I think has been missed out of the conversations of the last two to three weeks is two things...
> Firstly, the good work that HOT does and has done, both as an NGO and as a community and as a partner organisation. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please go and have a look... Is it perfect? No. Is there friction and are there problems? Yes. But then, welcome to the world of humanitarian work.
> Secondly, HOT is still committed to OpenStreetMap, to open data in general and to developing open source tools. That has not changed.
> As a HOT volunteer and someone who has championed OSM within MSF, the conversations on these lists have left me feeling shocked, unappreciated and disappointed. And I know other volunteers who feel the same. I wish I could share with all the naysayers on this list how it feels when a logistician in DR Congo sends an SMS thanking volunteers because they made his 20-hour days 10% easier or when an epidemiologist remarks that she is now able to do proper spatial analysis of a cholera outbreak, or when a project coordinator tells you how pleased she was that all the health centres she needed to supply during an outbreak were already in her OSMAnd data....
> I'll tell you one thing... It makes you proud of being a part of HOT and proud of being a part of OSM.
> Apologies for the long email. Just want to make sure that, while we respect the importance of the history of HOT and OSM in these discussions, the present and more recent past is represented.
> Cheers,
> Pete
> On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 8:18 AM nicolas chavent <nicolas.chavent at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> Thanks Mikel for contributing those elements in response to questions
>> raised in this email thread by Simon and others about how things
>> happened on the OSMF side at the event of the beginnings of the HOT
>> Project as an informal OSM collective and its incorporation as a US
>> Ngo in August 2010 after collective discussions amongst mappers in
>> Girona at the SoTM 2010 Girona to continue the OSM field work started
>> in Haiti March 2010 after the January 2010 Earthquake.
>> I have nothing to add on the OSMF side since as a Board member of the
>> foundation you were managing that relation while I was focusing on
>> supporting the OSM on the ground work in Haiti by all actors
>> (community and formal actors of the whole humanitarian system by then)
>> from afar or through field missions carried with other persons of the
>> HOT Project collective, Robert Soden, Dane Springmeyer and Kate
>> Chapman.
>> It's important in this collective read and look at the past, to fully
>> grasp the historical context within which this use of OSM across the
>> humanitarian/development sectors unfold which is fundamentally three
>> fold:
>> - the irruption of OSM as a base layer in GIS information management
>> for crisis response and recovery in the major emergency that was the
>> 2010 Haiti quake first from afar (remote response) and then on the
>> ground (mission, OSM mappers embedded into IOM GIS Units... ) was a
>> revolution for the humanitarian system. The overall context for
>> GIS/Cartography crisis work is a radical change of paradigm for that
>> industry. And nothing was easy for anyone active in that system in
>> terms of understanding this revolution, planing and operating under
>> that new paradigm that was Volunteer Geographical Information (VGI)
>> actors at large and OSM in particular. This was true also for the
>> early believers of that paradigm in the humanitarian system, myself
>> included (World Food Program, UN Joint Logistics Cluster/Logistics
>> Cluster).
>> - one shall recall the strengths of OSMF at that time and the workload
>> for its Board of volunteers directors, the transparency and archiving
>> capacities at that time and the fact that none of them was cognizant
>> of the humanitarian/development work.
>> - In that context 1,2 years was an eternity and what Mikel laid out ",
>> never think I saw ahead more than a year or two." was the mindset of
>> all individuals within that HOT Project collective, the newly
>> incorporated US NGO HOT US Inc and all actors of the humanitarian
>> system at that time.
>> Hopefully, we will manage to bring forth even more pieces of archive,
>> and we will better understand the story of these relations between
>> OSMF and HOT project/HOT US Inc, this is surely a collective work item
>> for this future humanitarian/development working group.
>> For the sake of clarity and of archiving, we may consider also another
>> area, vehicle to organize the contents that arose from that email
>> discussion than solely this mailing list, since we contributed
>> interesting materials so far to lay the ground for an informal/formal
>> WG to start an interesting collective work.
>> Excellent day,
>> Nicolas
>> On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 3:08 AM Mikel Maron <mikel.maron at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > > Just for fun: there was an action item on the 2010-2011 board minutes
>> > > dependent on "HOT integration" for many months. But as already said, the
>> > > minutes from the time are very sketchy and it is for the major part very
>> > > unclear who decided what and what the intended relationship with HOT was.
>> >
>> > Sometime soon, I want to spend some time looking back on the organizational development of HOT. From when I started with the concept in 2005, until today, never think I saw ahead more than a year or two. I never set out to start an organization -- I am happy where things ended up but also have many thoughts on what else could have been and can be.
>> >
>> > But quickly, I was curious to refresh my memory. In 2010, I was on the OSMF Board. We had just had the Haiti earthquake and HOT was finally real. And I was living in Kenya getting Map Kibera started.
>> >
>> > There are three distinct items in the Board minutes. From what I can recall at the time, I wanted to know if OSMF could be the organizational backbone for HOT activities, and even Map Kibera. I was regularly reporting to the Board on what was happening with these efforts. I thought providing support for this kinds of projects could be a great way for OSMF to grow. To work in Haiti or Kenya, and do these intensive projects, took funding, procurement, insurance, pay. To be honest, I had little direct experience myself at that point to know what it took to operationalize this kind of idea.
>> >
>> > From what I recall, the reception from the Board was interested and very supportive of all the exciting things happening in OSM at that moment ... but pretty cautious. Actually doing mapping would be an expansion of OSMF mandate. Also remember, we were pretty consumed with the license change during this period. We had no administrative staff. More critically, the question of whether this would create an employment situation, and the question of liability, were top of mind -- as they should have been.
>> >
>> > Looks like the topic to investigate was originally with Andy, then moved to me at some point. I found few concrete answers that would give us direction. I think the idea fizzled out, as there wasn't little enthusiasm for OSMF to take this on.
>> >
>> > https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/w/images/8/8c/Osmf_board_minutes_20100422.pdf
>> > https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/w/images/4/48/Osmf_board_minutes_20100527.pdf
>> > https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/w/images/5/5d/Osmf_board_minutes_20101002.pdf
>> >
>> > -Mikel
>> >
>> > * Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> > osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>> > https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
>> --
>> Nicolas Chavent
>> Les Libres GĂ©ographes
>> Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
>> Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
>> Projet GeOrchestra
>> Mobile (FR): +33 (0)6 52 40 78 20
>> Mobile (Haiti): +509 40 19 46 02
>> Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
>> Email: nicolas.chavent at leslibresgeographes.org
>> Skype: c_nicolas
>> Twitter: nicolas_chavent
>> _______________________________________________
>> osmf-talk mailing list
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> --
> Pete Masters
> @pedrito1414

Nicolas Chavent
Les Libres GĂ©ographes
Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
Projet GeOrchestra
Mobile (FR): +33 (0)6 52 40 78 20
Mobile (Haiti): +509 40 19 46 02
Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Email: nicolas.chavent at leslibresgeographes.org
Skype: c_nicolas
Twitter: nicolas_chavent

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