Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT):  applying the principles of open source and open data for economic development and emergency relief

Blog Post created by pjstewart1984 on Feb 21, 2016



Non-profit humanitarian organization HOT is a global online community of volunteer digital humanitarians which applies the principles of open source and open data to create and provide free, detailed and up-to-date maps for organizations fostering economic development or engaged in emergency relief. Its core objectives are to connect open mapping communities with humanitarian actors, to provide remote data creation during humanitarian crises, to collect and organize existing data sources, to support deployments to the field and to develop open knowledge and tools.


Since its emergence in 2009, HOT has spearheaded hundreds of influential mapping projects. In response to last year’s Nepal earthquake, HOT enhanced OpenStreetMap coverage of Kathmandu and its surrounds and, as a consequence, supported aid delivery and reconstruction efforts. In collaboration with the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community, HOT has just provided Managua its first ever transport map. And right now, HOT is busy mapping areas of Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Philippines, advancing economic development and disaster preparedness.


HOT’s work relies almost exclusively upon its skilled and dedicated volunteers. Volunteer mappers, volunteer validators, volunteer fundraisers. The list goes on. And it is always seeking new volunteers, volunteers just like you!




There are many ways in which you can get involved. Firstly, you can join the HOT mailing list. On joining the HOT mailing list, you are instantaneously connected to the entire, helpful and approachable HOT community and instantaneously party to countless vibrant discussions on all things HOT. Secondly and perhaps most excitingly, you can map (either remotely or at a mapping party). Create an OpenStreetMap account, LearnOSM and make haste to HOT’s OSM Tasking Manager which introduces each of HOT’s ongoing mapping projects, divides each mapping project into small mappable squares and explains precisely what needs to be mapped. Even if you have no cartographic experience, in no time at all, you could be supporting Peace Corps’ Botswana public health program, Missing Maps’ West Swaziland malaria elimination program or MSF’s provision of aid in Tete Province, Mozambique. Thirdly, you can join a HOT working group. There are eight HOT working groups:  activation, communications, community, fundraising, governance, security, technical and training. Each call for skills other than those associated with mapping. All of them together are driving HOT into the future. And fourthly, you can apply for specific project- and operational-related paid work.


Connect with HOT through Facebook and Twitter for HOT updates.