Humanitarian Mapping


Reviewed 2015-09-18

Thank you for volunteering to help the local communities and the Aid Organisations responding to this crisis by providing updated map data for them.

Like you, we want to help as quickly as possible, and there is a real sense of urgency in what we do. But, the reason the Aid Organisations depend on us for map data is because we take time to make sure that what we produce is useful and meets their needs. We need you to take care too. Although it will delay you starting to update the map we need you to understand how and what to map fully before you start. Please do not rush in and start mapping without watching or reading some of the tutorials available first. It takes us much longer to clean up mistakes in mapping than it does to create them, and they may cause a care worker to have doubts about the dependability of the maps we produce.

We are constantly updating our software & training guides, but it does take time. The software in the Tasking Manager will be updated soon so that only experienced people can review mapping work and mark it as “validated”, but at the moment we ask that the “validation” process be left for the most experienced mappers - please keep mapping and you will become one of our mapping validators in the future. If you select a task square and the green button says ‘Review the work’ then please just click on another task square, because that review is something that needs an experienced mapper to complete.

We don’t need you to read all of this site before you start, but we do need you to understand the basics:

  1. You need to carefully read the Task Manager Instructions for any project you would like to help map. They can be different, so make sure you read & understand them. There is a full description of how to use the Tasking Manager here within LearnOSM, and it includes how to get live help from an experienced mapper.

  2. Make sure you have zoomed in enough so that you can actually see what you should be tracing - it and many other things are explained here.

  3. Buildings have to be traced, and the shape of the tracing should match the shape of the building. This section of LearnOSM explains this, and how to create roads and a road network.

Thank you for reading this, and we hope you’ll take the short time needed to make sure you do the important things right. We need all the help we can get, and hope that you can help us with this.

Please remember, that although this event is very recent, the problems will continue for a very long time. People no longer have housing, and are living in shelters at the mercy of more bad weather. Hygiene will become difficult and there is the possibility of disease and other problems related to food and water. Although you may not see the problems mentioned in the news, they will still exist, and the aid workers will need maps that reflect the current situation. Please help us now, but please remember to come back and help us again in the future.