El Rincón del Tío Nuke

Open web, software libre, privacidad y más

Understanding the Humanitarian Open Mapping Movement

(Versión en español)

As a follow-up of my past month’s post about Joining the Open Mapping Movement, I want to share with everyone my initial plan on how I’m going to bring value to this space.


The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) has a clear desire of building and supporting the Open Mapping communities, by increasing their skill capacity and self-sufficiency while ensuring everyone has an opportunity to participate.

From the Community Team we will do this by “Establishing community health framework and delivering improvements”

In order to start talking about health, strategy and improvements we need to define what we mean by community health and that needs to be informed by clear data analysis.

In the past HOT hasn’t run deep analysis on its communities and networks, and now we face the challenge to understand the contributors, groups and communities operating within the humanitarian open mapping space.

Without this data, baselines and initial learnings, we can’t effectively design a strategy to grow our presence in the focus regions, define and increase our community health and run successful community activations that we can measure and iterate.

Scope and timeline

Our most immediate focus and priority in the first quarter of 2021 is supporting the recently created regional Hubs in East Africa and Asia, since we consider their success in the coming months is key to the organization goals and a fundamental part of HOT’s vision and strategy.

We will widen the scope of this project later on to bring the same support to other areas, always aligning with the organization goals at the time.

We will focus on the humanitarian portion of the open mapping movement, but we might include other actors that are doing or interested in open mapping if we consider whether they or their work can leverage or help the humanitarian use of the data.


We plan to achieve this though:

  1. Deep conversations with Hubs (staff and HOT voting members) on their goals, direction, focus and needs. Agreeing on what are the unknowns or questions that they need to understand to be successful.
  2. Understand where is the data to answer the questions: Explore past data and research and gather any missing data, both quantitative and qualitative.
  3. Combine the data and analyze, bring learnings and potential assumptions, delivering a report.
  4. Leverage the report to craft a community strategy and propose initial experiments to test our learnings and assumptions.


The following group of people will be directly or indirectly involved with this research.

  • Responsible: Rubén Martín
  • Accountable: Pete Masters
  • Supporter: Asia Hub, East Africa Hub, Community Team
  • Consulted: Voting Members, MERL, Tech, Comms, Disaster Services teams.
  • Informed: HOT’s Board, Managers, staff, contributors and wider open mapping community.

How can you help?

I would like to get some initial feedback on this plan, right now we are still in super early phases, defining and aligning on the problem space, understanding what we need to understand.

My plan is to keep posting about this work monthly and open more feedback opportunities for the wider humanitarian open mapping community.

  • What do you think about this work?
  • What resonates the most with you, your contributions or local community?
  • Are we missing something?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments on the version of this post at my OpenStreetMap diary.