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End of an Era or at Least Internship

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - sam 3 déc 2011 - 16:29
Friday marked the end of Va and Emir‘s internship with HOT this summer.  We were fortunate to have rockstar interns for this project.  You can see it in the public information put out regarding our work here.  Everything from training materials to blog posts, to the Facebook page, Twitter, as well as translation of JOSM. [...]
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Schuyler Erle’s presentation at State Of The Map EU

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - sam 3 déc 2011 - 16:29
The organisers of State Of The Map Europe have done a great job of rapidly publishing videos of the conference presentations (little camera icons on the schedule page), and so you can already watch this presentation by Schuyler Erle Deploying Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team In it he outlines the role of HOT, improving human welfare by [...]
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Keren OSM (Bantaeng and Kupang, Indonesia)

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - sam 3 déc 2011 - 16:29
Over the past several weeks a pair of HOT teams has been bouncing around Indonesia, teaching community facilitators from ACCESS about OpenStreetMap and discussing the possibilities for aggregating household indicators and disaster exposure data.  I’ve been traveling with University of Indonesia student Emir Hartato, who has already recounted our OSM adventures in Sumbawa, Lombok, and [...]
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Poverty Mapping with an OpenStreetMap Base in Sumbawa

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - ven 2 déc 2011 - 5:18

During HOT’s time working in Indonesia we’ve met with many different groups doing different types of mapping. One of the more common types is poverty mapping. This week we returned to Sumbawa for the third time to work with groups from Dompu and Bima.

The first time we were on Sumbawa in June was to teach the basics of OpenStreetMap as part of our pilot program with the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR). Here we were working with Australian Community Development and Civil Society Strengthening Scheme (ACCESS) and their partners. Everyone was excited after this first two day workshop, but the need for more hands-on and practical knowledge was needed. Jeff Haack and myself returned in August each to work separately with a group on the goal of mapping an entire village. The four days of hands-on work got everyone very comfortable with mapping and near the end we discussed further possibilities. It was interesting to return again this week and see where the groups had taken them. Each group had taken their mapping even further but in different ways.

SOLUD is an ACCESS partner and a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Bima, they were primarily concerned about health data. Much of the data however could not be uploaded into OpenStreetMap. Since we had left the last time they had begun making their own presets in JOSM (xml files that configure forms for editing). In these presets were health indicator data for households. Once the data was added it was saved as an OSM file and then imported into QGIS,files were shared between individuals on USB sticks. Our goal in this training was to help create a more robust data collection strategy. One of the major points that came out of our previous training was the need for a way to link private data to public OpenStreetMap data, so we were prepared for that.

Training in Bima (Picture Thanks to Ramecindiha Dedy)

During our two day training we focused on two things. The first was using Quantum GIS to create maps and perform analysis of the data that was already collected. One component of this was taking a spreadsheet with OpenStreetMap ID’s and linking it to a shapefile downloaded from GeoFabrik’s download site.This allowed thematic mapping of individual buildings by indicators. For example in the spreadsheet was listed those families receiving “rice for the poor.” This cumbersome workflow allowed us to end up with the specific type of map we wanted at the end, but was labor intensive.

After going through the process and showing what was possible with the data we introduced the private datastore. This was to show how workflows could be improved if the linking process was made more easily. We created a form with the indicators they were interested in using. Next it will be key to create useful downloads of data of the private data they are collecting. Additionally after going through both of these lessons we also showed how to link pictures to information.

Our second stop in Dompu had much of the same questions and issues. They had come up with a completely different way to get around the problems though. First they mapped all the buildings and roads in OpenStreetMap, next they manually took screenshots of the data and imported it into Corel Draw. Once the map was in Corel Draw they traced over all the buildings and colored them based on their poverty level. With this method they were redo’ing a lot of work. This group had begun using QGIS some by manually typing all the IDs from OpenStreetMap into their Excel files. They had already done this for the entire village of Lanci Jaya (the one that Jeff worked with them to map in August). The main goal of this workshop was to use QGIS instead of Corel Draw to create a poverty indicator map. This way as the data is updated it could automatically update the map.

Now with a better workflow more analysis and decisions can be made. I can’t wait to see the results as we progress.

Training in Dompu (Picture Thanks to Emir Hartato)

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Meetings, Conferences and Coordination in Geneva

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - dim 27 nov 2011 - 15:43

2 weeks ago Nicolas Chavent and I spent the week in Geneva. The initial impetus for the trip was the 3rd annual International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM). Since there were many descending on Geneva for the event additional meetings were held. The two that we attended were the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “Community of Interest” meeting and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) “UN-Spider Experts Meeting: Crowdsource Mapping for Preparedness and Emergency Response.” Though meeting in the fine city of Geneva, Nicolas did simulate “fieldish” conditions by sleeping on a camping mat in a kitchen. I myself shared a room with some of the others attending the event.

ICCM has continued to grow and bring in more organizations since its start three years ago. About 400 people participated this year from organizations ranging from the UN to small individual hackers. Topics included everything from information security, to policy around satellite information, and early conflict detection and prevention.

I gave an Ignite presentation about HOT’s work in Indonesia. I will link to the video when it is available. For now my slides are on Slideshare.

The OCHA COI meeting occured the day before ICCM, this was the second of these such meetings. Back in June working groups were formed after a meeting held in New York City to discuss the volunteer response to the earthquake in Japan and the Libya CrisisMap. The goal is to figure out what is missing in coordination and to solve other problems. The current working groups are listed below, additional a separate group on Missing Persons has been formed and participated in the meeting.

  1. Cross Training
  2. Data Licensing
  3. Data Scramble
  4. Decision Makers Needs
  5. Humanitarian SBTF
  6. Impact Evaluation
  7. Preparedness & Prioritization
  8. Transition
  9. Volunteer Management

So far HOT has participated in the Data Licensing, Data Scramble and Preparedness & Prioritization groups. We can participate in more as people are interested in getting involved.

The second meeting hosted by UN-SPIDER was also the second gathering of people on this topic. The main initiative is to make access to satellite imagery easier for those who can help in a humanitarian response. This is particularly around crowd-sourcing. The initial meeting was mostly about discussing and presentations, the goal of this one was to work out details for a simulation. There is going to be a simulation on December 3rd surrounding a cyclone hitting Samoa. This was initiated by Dave Leng of HEAL Samoa who was present at both meetings. Dave should get the award for traveling the furthest and longest to make this meeting. Anyone interested in participated for HOT discussion so far is occurring on HOT’s mailing list.

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The Amazing OSM Community, and the Tasking Server, Maps Swaziland

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - jeu 10 nov 2011 - 22:10

One month ago, I asked what to do with 10 million GPS points, and it turns out one awesome answer is map an entire country.

I wanted to experiment with the new HOT Tasking Server, so I set up a task using the Swaziland GPS tiles, but I didn’t bother to promote the effort at all. One month later, and the task is 100% complete, and about 25% verified. Amazing work by the community, and a quickly proven, easy to use, compelling tool.

Here’s Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland, before the editing.

And here are the GPS traces of Mbabane, today.

And finally, the map today.

New roads have been filled in throughout the country. It would be interesting to calculate the growth in road features over this month.

There are still lots to do. There are gaps in the GPS coverage, and Bing might help. This was only roads, and unnamed, unclassified roads at that. It’s really now up to the small and growing community of mappers in Swaziland to bring the map alive.

I asked some of the incredible top contributors about why they took part in the mapping, and how the tasking server helped out.

David & Christine Schmitt:

The tasking tool is really nice to keep the motivation up and to keep track of what’s already done. You see the progress and the small chunks are mostly manageable.

It is good for my inner self. It is rewarding on both a greater scale (creating a needed map) as well as a smaller scale. Also, I find tracing a very relaxing activity that leaves my analytical programmer’s mind open for podcasting, talking or just recuperating from the day.


It was a chance to contribute to a very underdeveloped part of the map and make a real difference to what was available in that country. This is also a country that would take a long time to reach a critical mass of roads without outside work. Hopefully this will give a base for people when they look at a rendered map, which in turn might encourage other people in/near Swaziland to fill in the gaps.

I like mapping because you get to look at somewhere in more detail than you normally would. I now have a real feeling for the geography of Swaziland.


I’ve been interested in HOT for a while and participate when I can, but it’s not always clear how to contribute. The task manager made that easy. To the larger question of why do this at all: it’s like knitting a sweater for millions of people at once.

I think it’s important to get the tile size right. For the Swaziland tracing, it was perfect. I peeked at another task (tracing buildings in Indonesia) and a single tile was too overwhelming.

stethoscope’s insight on the right tile size was among many great points of feedback. We’re learning lots about how to improve the experience of the tasking server even more, that’s getting captured in issue requests, and Pierre continues to push development.

It was after Haiti that this idea began brewing, with identified need for “Mechanical turk style process for working through and importing individual features from large imports” and “Tools for ongoing coordination and identifying needs, addressing the problem of what to map now?”. And really, it goes back to the search for Jim Gray. At my talk at Microsoft last weekend, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the team who worked on the first mechanical turk process for collaborative imagery interpretation … the inspiration has results!

cross-posted from GroundTruth Initiative

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7 Indonesian Students goes to Denver for SotM and FOSS4G!

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - mer 28 sep 2011 - 10:00

We hope you guys still remember about our project in Indonesia. There was a mapping competition happen during the project and the winner was announced on the second week of August. There are five winners, they are:

1) Irwan Maryon (University of Andalas, Padang)

2) Dimas Raharjo (University of Indonesia, Jakarta)

3) Irwan Abdul Rohman (Institute of Technology, Bandung)

4) Bakhtiar Arif Mujianto (Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta)

5) Andriya Gunartono (Institute of Technology Sepuluh November, Surabaya)

And these people deserved to go to State of the Map (SotM) and Free Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) in Denver on September. But, unfortunately four of them didn’t manage to attend SotM because there was a visa issue. Somehow the consular officer refused their visa application, but we are very glad because they made it for FOSS4G!

It’s been a while since SotM and FOSS4G happened. But we still have a lot of story to share. Anyway, we think that SotM this year was beyond success!  Based on Steve Coast keynote, there were 250 attendees, 159 are from the United States, and the rest were coming from 34 different countries, and more than 50 talks. And most people in the conference are very friendly. We also met with other scholars such as Guensmork Alcin from Haiti, Parveen Arora from India, Maning Sambale from Philippines, and Humberto Yances from Colombia. We also met with many people from around the world; each of them has different interest about using OpenStreetMap. There are mappers, some of them are developer; they are using OpenStreetMap for their products, and we were surprised that some of them also came because they just want to have fun. Anyway, it seems that all of us had fun especially on the last day where Gregory Marler with Iván Sánchez singing on the stage. The auction session was fun too, thanks for Steve Coast who bought $20 mystery box contain OpenStreetMap’s clappers and gave all the clappers to attendees.

OpenStreetMap Clappers!

When we were in FOSS4G, the atmosphere of the conference was slightly different from SotM. First, there was not too much twitter fan in FOSS4G. Second, every end of session, there was a lot of people moving to other room and it was funny because there was confusion between people who walk either on the left or right side. And the last one is, there was a musical performance brought by GeoGlobalDomination (Kate Chapman as herself, Iván Sánchez as Dr. Northingham, and Schuyler Erle as our hero: Captain Geo!). We didn’t think that there will be a musical in a conference, who knows! They should perform in general session! Anyway, same with SotM, there was a lot of people coming to FOSS4G with different interest. Just like quote from the musical “everyone is a mapper in their own way”

People who involve with Community Mapping Pilot in Indonesia at FOSS4G. L-R (top): Vasanthi Hargyono, Dimas Rahardjo, Kristy Van Putten (Australian Government), Bakhtiar Arif Mujianto, and Irwan Abdul Rohman. L-R (bottom): Kate Chapman, Irwan Maryon, and Andriya Gunartono.

Catégories: Revue des autres blogs