University of Wyoming Humanitarian Mapathon

This is a past event

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The University of Wyoming's Department of Geography and GTU/Geography Club are sponsoring a Humanitarian Mapathon!

Join us for an evening of learning about, and doing, humanitarian mapping. Mapping in OpenStreetMap for humanitarian causes is easy, fun, and a great way to help some of the most vulnerable populations on Earth. No experience is necessary.

Volunteers from the University of Wyoming student body, faculty and the public will map buildings and roads in Fiji …from the comfort of the the University Campus. Cyclone Winston made landfall at 06:30 UTC (18:30 local time) February 20th on the north of Viti Levu, the main island in the archipelago of Fiji. From there it moved west, and the large storm narrowly avoided the capital city of Suva.

The storm has reportedly destroyed entire villages and many homes were damaged or destroyed. Thousands of people are currently in hundreds of evacuation centres until they can return to their homes, if possible.

Winston also damaged power lines, leaving 80% of the population without power and impacting communications across the more than 300 islands in the archipelago. This limited or lack of communication is making it difficult to assess the full scale of the damage in the more remote islands. It is believed that some of the islands may have suffered far more damage than the main island. There are reports that Koro Island, one of the larger islands, may have suffered "catastrophic" damage

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.


Q: Where can I park for the event?


There is also free parking east of the stadium:

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 (, and there will probably be several mappers in attendance who will be using the the more advanced JOSM Editor (

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 ( Learning resources are available at ( and MapGive ( . However, none of this is required ahead of time.

Q: Do I have to bring anything?

A: You don't have to bring anything, but if you have a laptop, please bring it as there may be more participants than lab computers.

Q: What can I expect?

A: An experienced OpenStreetMap contributor will give a short "how to" presentation and then we will start mapping. A "quick start" guide will be provided as well, and experienced folks will be on hand to answer questions. Then it is just folks sitting around mapping from imagery and socializing. 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: We are working on a press release, in the meantime, you can contact the organizers through this forum.

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 8:00 pm). These are very laid back informal events.

We will be doing an introduction to OpenStreetMap and humanitarian mapping starting at 5:00pm.

Q: I am a long ways from Laramie (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. The quick start guide is here:

Q: Is food and drink allowed in the computer lab?


Q: Can I bring my own laptop and connect to wifi to do the mapping?

A: Yes! Please bring your laptop. There are limited computer stations.