[Talk-ht] [Fwd: [HOT] Report on the first week of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team work Haiti (warning: long)]

Jean-Guilhem Cailton jgc at arkemie.com
Mon Mar 29 07:20:38 BST 2010

-------- Message original --------
Sujet : 	[HOT] Report on the first week of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap 
Team work Haiti (warning: long)
Date : 	Sun, 28 Mar 2010 21:08:11 -0700
De : 	Robert Soden <robert.soden at gmail.com>
Pour : 	hot at openstreetmap.org

I apologize in advance for the length of this, but it's important to us 
that we keep everyone informed about the work we are doing here to 
represent the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and I've yet to process 
all that's we've been doing into something more digestible.

In short, things are going very well, primarily because of the effort of 
the community over the past two months in support of the response.

It's hard to believe we've been here for only a week. We arrived last 
Sunday night and were pulled into planning meetings with IOM and KPK 
(Ushahidi-Haiti) within a few hours of landing in Port au Prince. The 
rest of the week has followed a similar course. We're camping on logbase 
– where there's essentially nothing to do but work – so we've been doing 
14-16 hours on most days since arriving - busy with the presentations, 
meetings, phone calls, emails, and training preparations.

In many ways, our outreach efforts been far easier than we anticipated. 
The GIS teams here have all heard of OSM, and most of them are using the 
data already in some fashion. Many of the people we've talked to over 
the last week have expressed sincere gratitude to the community for all 
of its hard work and been more than willing to take time out of their 
days to talk to us, connect us to the right people, and participate in 
our training sessions. It's not because they're kind people (though they 
are). The GIS and Information Officers on logbase have a real incentive 
to work with us because OSM has become such a key dataset here. So they 
want to learn how to use the data more effectively, give us feedback on 
how we can improve the tools available to them, and strategize with us 
about to best fit OSM into their workflows.

Backing up a bit, it's worth restating the goals of the mission so I can 
talk about how we're doing on each front. We're here, funded my ECHO and 
facilitated by MapAction, to help make sure OSM continues to stay a 
relevant datasource and tool in the ongoing response to the Haiti quake 
and as the process moves into the recovery and development phases. We're 
attempting to do this in three ways:

* Establishing connections with and training representatives from the UN 
Cluster system (which includes international NGOs), the Haitian 
government, and Haitian civil society on the use of OSM data and 
strategies for data collection using the OSM toolset.
* Making sure the OSM data for Haiti continues to be the best available 
of its kind. This includes identifying key datasets for import and 
establishing mechanisms whereby relevant data collected by organizations 
working here can flow into the OSM database.
* Better identifying needs of this community and assessing ways in which 
OSM tools can be improved to meet the particular demands of this context.

So far, most of our efforts have concentrated on the first point. We've 
spent a lot of time this first week just getting to know the GIS teams 
from OCHA, IOM, WFP, MINUSTAH, WHO, and UNICEF. We're also working 
closely with CNIGS (the Haitian government's geo-spatial agency). After 
all of these meetings and presentations, I feel we have a workable 
understanding of a complicated and rapidly-changing landscape.

We conducted our first training yesterday afternoon staff from OCHA, 
WASH cluster, UNICEF, MapAction, and USAID. The training lasted a few 
hours and we worked on basic use of GPS, Walking Papers, and JOSM for 
field-surveying. There were a few hiccups caused by a faulty USB cable, 
unpredictable internet, and about twice as many participants as we 
anticipated. But in general, it was great to give these folks, some of 
whom are active consumers of OSM data, a better understanding of how to 
contribute to the dataset and more insight into how it all works.
We'll follow up this training with several more like it on Tuesday and 
Wednesday mornings for staff of CNIGS, WFP, IOM, UNICEF, and MINUSTAH. 
Wednesday afternoon we'll be working primarily with CNIGS and IOM on 
preparing a surveying trip to Jacmel, an earthquake hit and flood-prone 
city outside of Port au Prince. The trip will last two days – Thursday 
and Friday - and will aim to gather updated information on IDP camps, 
road names and conditions, and locations of schools and medical clinics. 
We'll be using OSM as a repo for the data collected and our hope is that 
after a few training sessions this week, CNIGS will be able to lead the 
surveying efforts, with Nicolas and I there primarily to observe and 
support as necessary, and we'll likely have support from WFP and OCHA.

Camping on logbase, though not exactly cushy, has given us solid access 
to the various UN groups and we've had success so far collaborating with 
CNIGS. But we've been somewhat restricted in our movements outside the 
camp and haven't had great success interfacing with local NGOs. We have 
been lucky to connect with Sabina and Jaro of KPK. With their assistance 
and the support of their colleagues at INURED (http://inured.org/), 
we'll get a chance to meet up with community leaders and young people in 
Cite Soleil and do some OSM mapping work with them tomorrow. We've also 
been in touch with the local staff of Trees for the Future (who helped 
us do a test-run of our training last Friday), and a few other groups. 
Broadening our network of friends and allies within civil society here 
will be a critical part of the remaining time we have here.

On the data side, we're looking at an predictably complex situation. 
There's two general things we're aiming to accomplish. The first is to 
come up with a list of the most accurate set of baseline datasets we 
can, in order to import these as necessary to ensure OSM has the best 
data available. At the moment, no actor here has such a list. We're 
working with OCHA and CNIGS to facilitate its creation and hope to have 
input from in the next few days. Talbot Brooks and some partners from 
Delta State University have begun the work of building a 1:25k atlas of 
Haiti using these data sources once we can provide a complete list.

We also want to find ways in which data that is being collected by the 
various clusters can be imported or updated in OSM over time. UNICEF 
sent out ~100 surveyors on motorcycles last week to collect school 
locations, information on medical facilities is constantly being 
updated, and there are at least 3 different groups collecting data on 
IDP camps. Kate Chapman, Karl Guggisberg, and others have been working 
to keep medical facility points current through periodic imports so 
we're hoping to be able to establish similar mechanisms for schools and 
camps. Part of the issue is divergent data models between surveys and 
surveying groups so we've needed to facilitate meetings between 
organizations here on how to come up with some basic standards. We did 
this with OCHA and IOM last week on camps and were able to quickly 
decide upon some baseline attributes that both held in common and are 
now in good position to move forward with imports of these, using 
Nicolas's efforts around the Humanitarian Data Model as a guide. I'm 
hoping we can have similar success with schools, water kiosks, and 
health facilities soon.

As far as better targeting OSM tools to these audiences, we have a ways 
to go before we're ready to provide many concrete ideas. I think the 
trainings we'll conduct this week and the surveying mission to Jacmel 
will provide a lot of insight. But I can highlight one initiative that's 
already underway in order to provide an example of the kinds of things 
we're thinking about. WFP Logistics is interested in using OSM road 
network data and contributing to it as possible. They use a particular 
data model, the UNSDIT (authored primarily by Nicolas), which describes 
key information that they need to know about streets and other transport 
features in order to do their work. What we need then is a bridge 
between the OSM data and the UNSDIT data model. We've already gotten 
help from Michael Weismen, Andrew Turner, and Jason Pickering setting up 
an instance of FME server and Karen Payne and Kate Chapman have started 
building an ETL service that will convert OSM data into something 
consumable by UNSDIT. There's also some interest in a similar service 
for CNIGS. There's a lot more we need to learn here, but this is one 
example of the ways in which we can better target OSM to provide service 
in this context.

This coming week we'll be doing either training or data collection 
exercises every day. If all goes as planned, we'll be in Cite Soleil on 
Monday, doing trainings for cluster and CNIGS staff on logbase Tuesday 
and Wednesday, and then to Jacmel for Friday and Saturday for surveying. 
In addition to exposing a lot of people to the OSM tools, we'll also 
learn a lot about how we as a community can better target the needs here.

Apologies again for the length of this, we'll send another update as we can.

Robert and Nicolas

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