Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is the global leader in community mapping, supporting humanitarian responses to nearly 100 disasters and crises. Over the next five years, HOT will engage one million volunteers to map the places that are home to one billion people — people who are living in poverty or at high-risk of disaster in 94 countries. This intervention will help to ensure those communities don’t get left out of life-saving assistance and life-improving services.
Main photo caption: Mappers from Ramani Huria, (which means “Open Map” in Swahili) a HOT Tanzania project focused on mapping Dar es Salaam to inform flood prevention plans. / HOT
HOT has supported 26 government and humanitarian organizations across 35 countries engaged in COVID-19 relief efforts. HOT’s maps and data tools are helping leaders understand virus hotspots, see gaps in health infrastructure and create future plans for effective vaccine distribution.
Audacious funding and corporate partnerships have also enabled HOT to make a number of rapid response grants to local partners, supporting frontline response efforts by mapping communities in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.
As of October 2020, 17,000+ mappers had contributed nearly 3.6 million map features, adding 3.2 million buildings and more than 50,000 miles of missing roads to OpenStreetMap, the world’s free and open map. This effort brought HOT’s total community to 280,000 members, far exceeding its 2020 goal.
Mapping for Health: HOT’s COVID-19 Response in Peru
Incomplete and inaccurate maps can leave whole communities out of the picture when governments are planning how to supply essential services. This reality is stark when governments and NGOs respond to crises like COVID-19.
As of November 2020, Peru had nearly one million confirmed cases of coronavirus. The Cusco region posed a particular challenge to public health workers, with a population of more than 1.3 million people living in rural areas that range from inaccessible jungle to highlands more than two miles above sea level. Especially in those mountain villages, communities can be dispersed over miles of terrain, making finding and reaching individual households — let alone tracing their health indicators — extremely challenging.
HOT partnered with the local organization Global Active Learning (GAL) Group to offer support to the regional government. There was an increased demand for oxygen in Cusco due to a continued rise in COVID-19 cases, and the regional government had signed an agreement with the company Industrias Cachimayo to refill oxygen bottles, providing extra capacity to the three main hospitals. But that left many at home without access to oxygen, even as
they were prescribed it free of charge. A local construction firm, Consorcio JERGO, stepped in to provide logistical support and transport oxygen deliveries to at-home patients. HOT and GAL provided mapping and monitoring support.
It’s just one example of how HOT global volunteers and local partners are helping to address COVID-19 by mapping communities and supporting government agencies. Since March, more than 10,000 volunteer mappers have made 850,000+ edits to the map of Peru in support of the COVID-19 response.
“Our Audacious donors gave us the creative space to adapt, launching our first-ever rapid response microgrant program for community mappers in seven countries. The best innovations and adaptation, however, came from the HOT community itself, using OpenStreetMap in new ways, from mapping handwashing stations across Indonesia to delivering oxygen to patients in Peru.”
Mapping data collected by GAL Group is used for supplying oxygen to COVID-19 patients across Cusco, Peru. /GAL Group.