UNC Humanitarian Mapathon

Hosted by OSM Colorado

Public group

This is a past event

24 people went

Location image of event venue


Volunteers from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) student body, faculty and the public will map buildings and roads in around Dar es Salaam, Tanzania …from the comfort of the WeldWerks. Dar es Salaam has experienced a rash of deadly flash floods in recent months, and the map data generated by this event will be used to develop an early warning system to alert residents of future flooding. This is part of a long term consortium Disaster Risk Reduction program with the World Badnk, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), Ardhi University, Tanzania Red Cross Society, Danish Red Cross, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, University of Dar es Salaam, and Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH).

The process of mapping in OpenStreetMap is easy, interesting, a good way to connect with other humanitarians, and a great way to help the most vulnerable populations on Earth. Participants will add roads and buildings into OpenStreetMap using satellite imagery procured by the US State Department from Westminster-based DigitalGlobe. No experience is necessary to participate in the mapathon.

Bring: Laptop computer (Windows, Mac or Linux)


Q: What software/platform will we be using?

A: You can make edits using any OpenStreetMap editor. We will provide instructions for the iD Editor (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/ID), and there will probably be several mappers in attendance who will be using the the more advanced JOSM Editor (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/JOSM).

Q: What should I do to prepare?

A: No preparation is necessary, however, if you don't have an OpenStreetMap account you can create one ahead of time here (https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/new). Learning resources are available at learnosm.org (http://learnosm.org/en/beginner/introduction/). However, none of this is required ahead of time.

Q: Do I have to bring anything other than a laptop computer?

A: Nothing else is required. Some people do find that an external mouse is helpful when mapping, but that is a personal preference.

Q: What can I expect?

A: Mapathons are very laid back affairs. A "quick start" guide will be provided and experienced folks will be on hand to answer questions. Then it is just folks sitting around mapping from imagery and socializing and perhaps enjoying a beverage. Some of that socializing will probably be about the mapping ("how do I...?" or "how would you map this?"), but most will probably not be. I will tabulate the results after and send out to the participants.

Q: Does participation in a humanitarian mapathon count toward my GISP?

A: I corresponded with the GISCI and they indicated it does. I don't have other details as to what category it may be listed under. Be sure I have your contact info and make me aware that you need documentation for the GISP.

Q: I am with the media and would like to do a story on this event, do you have more information?

A: Our press release for the event is here (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz9IlxRaf4TJTjRYQWpoMURSS0E/view?usp=sharing) and contains additional contact information.

Q: I can't make it exactly at 5:00 pm, can I come late?

A: Absolutely! Arrive at any time and leave at any time (between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm). These are very laid back informal events.

Q: I am a long ways from Greeley (or otherwise cannot attend in person), can I participate remotely?

A: Yes, it won't be nearly as much fun as hanging out in person with 30+ other map geeks, but you can participate remotely. We will be working on project 1544 in the HOT Tasking Manager. Add "#UNC_Colorado" to the comment when you save your work. The full instruction sheet is here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wuDf4IgpgkUB6wPgVz7OXkaOJ3NrGiMUPF-6LDsL5Xg/edit?usp=sharing)