Blog

Mapping Your Own Backyard: Stories from Local Community Mappers

Mapping Your Own Backyard: Stories from Local Community Mappers

26 May 2021  |  by Melanie Chabot, Rachel Levine & Jorieke Vyncke

We have collected the stories of several enthusiastic OSM-ers who have mastered the art of mapping their own backyards. They have offered their advice for those who are first starting out and shared the reasons why they have become so passionate about local mapping.

Missing Maps Website Upgrade!

Missing Maps Website Upgrade!

29 April 2021  |  by Melanie Chabot & Rachel Levine

We are so excited to announce the launch of our refreshed website! Over the last year, the Missing Maps team has focused on this project to ensure that you, our wonderful mappers, have everything you need to best participate in the OSM Community.

Mobile Methods Minimizing Malaria Cases in Eastern Burundi

Mobile Methods Minimizing Malaria Cases in Eastern Burundi

29 January 2021  |  by Jana Bauerova

Building on the first year of pilot Indoor Residual Spraying campaign, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recently conducted a second round. Lessons learned could be incorporated during the repeated exercise and results are encouraging.

The Maps may be Missing, but We are Still Here – A Year of Blogs – Dec 2020

The Maps may be Missing, but We are Still Here – A Year of Blogs – Dec 2020

28 December 2020  |  by David Garcia

International cooperation in mapping is important, but who is really leading?

Help to Grow MapSwipe by Joining the Collective – A Year of Blogs – Nov 2020

Help to Grow MapSwipe by Joining the Collective – A Year of Blogs – Nov 2020

24 November 2020  |  by Laurent Savaëte

Why we're setting up a collective to support MapSwipe

Missing Maps Project awarded at the Red Cross Humanitarian Technology Awards – A Year of Blogs – Oct 2020

Missing Maps Project awarded at the Red Cross Humanitarian Technology Awards – A Year of Blogs – Oct 2020

26 October 2020  |  by Paul Knight

Back in February, the Missing Maps Project was awarded the Cruz Roja Award at the Red Cross Humanitarian Technology Awards (IV Edition)

'Anticipating and addressing epidemics' – A Year of Blogs – Sept 2020

'Anticipating and addressing epidemics' – A Year of Blogs – Sept 2020

24 September 2020  |  by Katharina Lorenz

In order for FbF to work, we need to decide quickly, when and where to act.

'The State of OpenStreetMap in Africa' – A Year of Blogs – Aug 2020

'The State of OpenStreetMap in Africa' – A Year of Blogs – Aug 2020

28 August 2020  |  by Geoffrey Kateregga

In this article we concentrate on Human Centered Design and how you can help us to build a platform that meets the needs of the people using it.

'How to Host a Virtual Mapathon' – A Year of Blogs – July 2020

'How to Host a Virtual Mapathon' – A Year of Blogs – July 2020

29 July 2020  |  by Sam Colchester, Melanie Chabot, Rachel Levine, Léonie Miège

I realized right after the French lockdown that online mapathons were very important to me during this isolation period.

Congrats HOTOSM

Congrats HOTOSM

29 June 2020  |  by Missing Maps Group

HOTOSM receives TED Audacious Grant

'Developing baseline health facility data with Healthsites' – A Year of Blogs – May 2020

'Developing baseline health facility data with Healthsites' – A Year of Blogs – May 2020

29 May 2020  |  by Mark Herringer

In this article we concentrate on Human Centered Design and how you can help us to build a platform that meets the needs of the people using it.

'Leveraging Missing Maps for The Community Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Program (CP3) in Guinea' – A Year of Blogs – April 2020

'Leveraging Missing Maps for The Community Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Program (CP3) in Guinea' – A Year of Blogs – April 2020

30 April 2020  |  by Jennifer Duong, David Luswata, and Tino Toupane

In recent months, the Guinean Red Cross Society and the Community Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Program (CP3) teams created their own map data, tracing remotely in OSM and via field data collection. The staff and volunteers involved gained valuable insight in how information is compiled and shared from OSM and other open source platforms.

'Missing Maps in Canada? Canadian Red Cross Community Mapping' – A Year of Blogs – March 2020

'Missing Maps in Canada? Canadian Red Cross Community Mapping' – A Year of Blogs – March 2020

31 March 2020  |  by Melanie Chabot

The Canadian Red Cross Society’s Missing Maps activities in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

'MapSwipe: An Award Winner' - A Year of Blogs - February 2020

'MapSwipe: An Award Winner' - A Year of Blogs - February 2020

28 February 2020  |  by Johnny Henshall

This week MapSwipe was awarded Best Mobile Innovation Supporting Emergency or Humanitarian Situations in the Tech4Good category at GSMA’s Global Mobile (GLOMO) awards. As a volunteer-led and open-source project, built and maintained by a small but passionate team, we are extremely proud of this recognition amongst other esteemed projects in this category and the rest of the awards.

‘Burundi anti-malaria campaign: Covering the gap’ - A Year of Blogs - January 2020

‘Burundi anti-malaria campaign: Covering the gap’ - A Year of Blogs - January 2020

29 January 2020  |  by Jana Bauerová

More than two thirds of Burundi’s 11-million population reportedly suffered from malaria since January 2019. Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has contained the disease from spreading in eastern Burundi with an indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaign to protect some 300,000 inhabitants for months to come from the malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

‘OpenStreetMap and MapAction post Hurricane Dorian’ - A Year of Blogs - December 2019

‘OpenStreetMap and MapAction post Hurricane Dorian’ - A Year of Blogs - December 2019

09 December 2019  |  by Alice Goudie

Open Street Map and MapAction post Hurricane Dorian

‘Happy 5th Birthday!’ - Missing Maps Turns 5 & the Launch of A Year of Blogs!

‘Happy 5th Birthday!’ - Missing Maps Turns 5 & the Launch of A Year of Blogs!

27 November 2019  |  by Rachel Levine for the Missing Maps Group

Reflections on 5 Years of Mapping

‘Czech Tech Saving Lives’ - Inaugural Missing Maps hackathon for Czech Republic. A national first.

‘Czech Tech Saving Lives’ - Inaugural Missing Maps hackathon for Czech Republic. A national first.

25 October 2019  |  by Rupert Allen

How many more lives could be safeguarded if a missing mapper only had to click once on a building, rather than once in each corner? What if last month’s release of the Mapswipe 2.0 app could also directly send identified buildings straight to OSM? These were some of the challenges posed to hackers this weekend by organisers of the first ever czech Missing Maps Hackathon in Plszen, Czech Republic.

MapSwipe 2.0

MapSwipe 2.0

01 October 2019  |  by Jessica Bergmann

In 2015, MapSwipe began as a solution to a complex question: how do we better identify where communities and populations are, allowing mapping to be more efficient and effective? Using a simple mobile app, volunteers are able to swipe through a series of satellite images, tapping in areas where they find features. MapSwipe can be used anywhere, at any time, which provides an easy access point for individuals to contribute to the Missing Maps project without being restricted to their laptop. That was MapSwipe then – this is MapSwipe now.

Open data production session for resilience against severe Malaria of children 0-5 years organized by MSF

Open data production session for resilience against severe Malaria of children 0-5 years organized by MSF

08 August 2019  |  by Emmanuel Kourouma

Through the Missing Maps project, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) supports initiatives like the 2-week mapathon that took place in Conakry, Guinea from May 8-22, 2019. This event was able to bring together up to 25 young people that with their volunteering work, helped MSF to get important geographical data in order to run operations on a massive area as the Kouroussa Prefecture in Guinea-Conakry. Here is a translation of the Blog of Emmanuel Kourouma from GeoSynapse in Guinea, about their collaboration with MSF.

POSM 0.9 - Passel of POSMs

POSM 0.9 - Passel of POSMs

07 August 2019  |  by Dan Joseph, Seth Fitzsimmons

OpenDroneMap (ODM) is an open ecosystem of solutions for collecting, processing, analyzing and displaying aerial data. American Red Cross has used it when conducting drone mapping and trainings with the Philippines Red Cross, Haitian Red Cross, and Belize Red Cross. We’re excited to have been able to fund some recent improvements that create exciting opportunities when running ODM with POSM, while also benefiting the overall ODM project. The newest POSM release brings in the ODM updates and lets you distribute the processing of large image sets across a passel of POSMs.

Supporting a urban improvement project in precarious neighborhoods in Burkina Faso

Supporting a urban improvement project in precarious neighborhoods in Burkina Faso

23 May 2019  |  by Martin Noblecourt

In March 2019, Missing Maps member CartONG carried out a 2-weeks mission in Burkina Faso in support of the Yaam Solidarité association. Here is a look back at the mobile data collection and mapping support we provided and the collaborative and sustainable approach we implemented.

Mapping for disaster risk reduction in Belize

Mapping for disaster risk reduction in Belize

22 January 2019  |  by Ashley Schmeltzer and Dan Joseph

In September 2017, Ashley Schmeltzer, a GIS Officer with American Red Cross, led a community mapping training with Belize Red Cross. She was invited back, and was accompanied this time by her colleague Dan Joseph, to conduct a more advanced mapping training that included sessions on the use of drones for mapping.

Supporting Open Data Kit

Supporting Open Data Kit

08 January 2019  |  by Dan Joseph

The Open Data Kit (ODK) community produces free and open-source software for collecting, managing, and using data in resource-constrained environments. The various ODK tools enable cost effective, scalable, and user-friendly implementation of mobile data activities. The American Red Cross was able to support improvements to ODK.

One Map Myanmar and Phandeeyar

One Map Myanmar and Phandeeyar

24 September 2018  |  by Jennifer Duong

In May 2018, the American Red Cross GIS team trained members of One Map Myanmar and Phandeeyar in a weeklong data collection training (a training-of-trainers) in Yangon. After this, these trainers trained Red Cross volunteers in Mawlamyine, and then, they went to collect data for this project.

POSM 0.8 Big Changes

POSM 0.8 Big Changes

24 September 2018  |  by Dan Joseph and Seth Fitzsimmons

We’ve just released a new version of POSM with many exciting changes.

Notes from Tanzania

Notes from Tanzania

24 September 2018  |  by Steve Penson and Rachel Levine

Missing Maps organizations come together to learn and plan Year 5!

Community Mapping in Viet Nam

Community Mapping in Viet Nam

17 August 2018  |  by Jennifer Duong & Rachel Levine

This summer, the American Red Cross GIS team held a weeklong training for the Viet Nam Red Cross Society (VNRC) and the American Red Cross Viet Nam Delegation to cover mobile data collection and community mapping best practices. Interested in hosting your own community mapping trip or just curious? Learn more about our training and agenda here.

MapSwipe - the story continues

MapSwipe - the story continues

25 June 2018  |  by Jess Cahill

MapSwipe volunteer Jess Cahill looks at current MapSwipe developments and how the crowdmapping app is helping survivors of sexual violence in Haiti.

4 weeks in Madagascar with OSM-Mada & PHF/PHM - Disaster Risk Reduction project

4 weeks in Madagascar with OSM-Mada & PHF/PHM - Disaster Risk Reduction project

24 April 2018  |  by Martin Noblecourt

As part of a new natural Disaster Risk Reduction project launched in partnership with the French NGO Pompiers Humanitaires Français (PHF) and the local OpenStreetMap community, Missing Maps member CartONG implemented a 4-week mission in Madagascar in March 2018. The objectives: raising awareness on data sharing, collecting data in the field and producing maps!

Drones over Canaan, Haiti

Drones over Canaan, Haiti

09 April 2018  |  by Matthew Gibb and Dan Joseph

Canaan, one of the most populated areas in Haiti, continues to evolve and grow. In December 2017, the American Red Cross recently covered 35 square kilometers of this area with new drone imagery to assist with population estimates, disaster preparedness programming, and updating OpenStreetMap.

Leaderboard 2.0

Leaderboard 2.0

23 March 2018  |  by Dale Kunce

Microsoft Philianthropies funds improvements to Missing Maps leaderboards.

$25,000 Grant to OpenStreetMap

$25,000 Grant to OpenStreetMap

11 December 2017  |  by Dale Kunce

American Red Cross grants $25,000 to OpenSteetMap to ensure the resilience during disasters.

Thank You! – GeoWeek 2017

Thank You! – GeoWeek 2017

08 December 2017  |  by Rachel Levine

Thank you for your incredible efforts organizing this year's OSM GeoWeek!

OSM in West Africa: The Mapping Continues

OSM in West Africa: The Mapping Continues

07 November 2017  |  by David Luswata, Emily Eros, and local contributors

Mapping in West Africa continues, thanks to dedicated OSM communities in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Here's what they are planning for GeoWeek 2017.

Building capacity in the Caribbean

Building capacity in the Caribbean

18 September 2017  |  by Ashley Schmeltzer

This spring and summer, the American Red Cross led training-of-trainers in Belize and Jamaica to build the mapping skills and knowledge of local Red Cross and government staff - here's a quick update of our work.

IFRC joins Missing Maps

IFRC joins Missing Maps

13 September 2017  |  by Heather Leson

We are excited to welcome the newest member of Missing Maps: the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This is a cross-post from the IFRC's official announcement.

Join us for our first YouthMappers Video Challenge!

Join us for our first YouthMappers Video Challenge!

05 September 2017  |  by Rachel Levine

Share your chapters' lessons learned with the wider Missing Maps community by filming a short 5 minute video on Tips and Tricks for Hosting a Mapathon.  Winning video will be featured on the Missing Maps website.

Stop the spots: Measles vaccinations in Malawi

Stop the spots: Measles vaccinations in Malawi

10 August 2017  |  by Emily Eros, Ashley Schmeltzer

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases ever known and it is a leading cause of death among children. In June, the American Red Cross supported a measles and rubella immunization campaign in Malawi that targeted nearly 8 million children.

Detailed drone and street-level imagery for mapping in the Philippines

Detailed drone and street-level imagery for mapping in the Philippines

27 July 2017  |  by Dan Joseph

In May 2017, the American Red Cross and Philippine Red Cross collected detailed aerial and street-level imagery of areas that have been part of a 3-year Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) recovery program.

POSM 0.7: Faster and better than ever!

POSM 0.7: Faster and better than ever!

26 July 2017  |  by Emily Eros, Seth Fitzsimmons

We are pleased to announce a new and improved version of POSM – now faster and slicker than ever!

Volunteers in Uganda and Turkey Rally to Support Refugees on World Refugee Day

Volunteers in Uganda and Turkey Rally to Support Refugees on World Refugee Day

10 July 2017  |  by Geoffrey Kateregga

What connects Kampala and Istanbul? You might be thinking that Kampala and Istanbul are worlds apart, but volunteers in both cities rallied around a common cause for World Refugee Day - working together to map priority areas in Uganda that require urgent humanitarian assistance.

PADF in Guatemala

PADF in Guatemala

30 March 2017  |  by George Washington University

Faculty and students at the George Washington University teamed up with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) this March to bring digital mapping tools to vulnerable communities in Guatemala.

#ValidationFriday

#ValidationFriday

03 March 2017  |  by Matt Gibb

Validating tasks is an important part in the Missing Maps process, and we encourage everyone to take part. Learn how you can improve your mapping and contribute to validation! #ValidationFriday

POSM Cloud

POSM Cloud

24 February 2017  |  by Dale Kunce

Portable OpenStreetMap (POSM) can run in the cloud. This walkthrough will help you get your own POSM up and running on Amazon EC2.

Fighting FGM in Tanzania

Fighting FGM in Tanzania

20 February 2017  |  by Janet Chapman

I first met Rhobi in a building site in Mugumu, Serengeti, Tanzania, in September 2014 where she was desperately trying to get a Safe House for girls refusing Female Genital Mutilation finished before the "cutting season" started in December. In the week we spent together I accompanied her and her team as they visited the surrounding villages, telling the villagers the dangers of FGM through debates, drama and dance. Rhobi almost bled to death from FGM in one of these villages as a 13 year old and has been a passionate advocate for womens' rights ever since.

West Africa Project End

West Africa Project End

24 January 2017  |  by Matthew Gibb, Emily Eros

Wrapping up our largest undertaking since the start of the Missing Maps project was in West Africa. Covering an area the size of Switzerland, volunteers in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone visited over 7,000 communities in an area that saw the worst of the Ebola crisis in 2014 and 2015.

Two Year Update

Two Year Update

18 January 2017  |  by Dale Kunce

Since its launch in 2014, Missing Maps has engaged almost 20,000 mappers, helped 430+ public mapathons, put 29 million people on the map, and mapped an area equal to the size of Sweden. We've added many new partners to help try and map the world. Thanks to everyone out there who's been a part of this amazing project!

Roads less traveled... all 72,000 km of them

Roads less traveled... all 72,000 km of them

07 January 2017  |  by Emily Eros

Red Cross volunteers on motorbikes logged 72,000 km of GPS tracks during border mapping in West Africa. We used these data to get under the clouds and add roads to OSM that can't be seen from satellite imagery. These roads connect some of the most remote communities in the region. Here's how we processed the dataset and what we were able to do with it.

Mapping cell phone signals

Mapping cell phone signals

06 January 2017  |  by Emily Eros

This past spring/summer, over 100 Red Cross volunteers conducted field mapping in the border regions of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In addition to the actual mapping, we also set the volunteers' phones to record their GPS tracks each day, and we set their phones to automatically collect cell signal strength data using OpenSignal, an app which crowdsources this information. We haven't come across much about working with OpenSignal data, so this post documents our workflow for using the data, the challenges we had, and our results.

OSM GeoWeek Thank You!

OSM GeoWeek Thank You!

28 November 2016  |  by Rachel Levine

Thank you for your incredible efforts organizing this year's OSM GeoWeek! In total 140 public and 150 private events took place in 42 countries. We made 1 million edits and added 861,865 buildings and 145,030 km of roads to OSM. Thanks to your hard work, almost 4,000 new mappers joined the OSM community!

Facebook Collaboration

Facebook Collaboration

16 November 2016  |  by Dale Kunce

In our humanitarian mission we are data omnivores, within licensing restrictions of course, constantly looking for datasets that can aid our mission and the larger mapping community. Collaborating with Facebook is an obvious step for us to take. Using the data created by Facebook volunteers will waste less time checking out a task to find an area with nothing to map.

Partner Pages

Partner Pages

01 November 2016  |  by Dale Kunce

The next step in data analytics is coming to Missing Maps. Using the infrastructure we continue to build out on the Missing Maps leaderboards and osm-stats-api we are very happy to announce the creation of partner pages. Partner pages can be any sort of partner from some of Missing Maps corporate partners such as JP Morgan Chase to local groups such as Maptime.

OSM Geography Awareness Week: 13-19 November

OSM Geography Awareness Week: 13-19 November

07 October 2016  |  by Emily Eros

Missing Maps members are gearing up for OSM Geography Awareness Week this Novmber, hoping to support over 100 mapathons around the world!

Putting Guinea’s reproductive health issues on the map

Putting Guinea’s reproductive health issues on the map

16 September 2016  |  by Chris Glithero, Paul Knight, Kat Hicks

The Danish, Swiss and British Red Cross are currently working together to support the Guinea Red Cross in developing integrated, high quality programmes, and the Reproductive Health and Rights Programme is one of these. It aims to improve knowledge and access to reproductive health and rights in the Moyenne Guinée region of the country.

Mapping Every Detail

Mapping Every Detail

02 August 2016  |  by David Luswata

After initially sending volunteers to record all the population centres in the border regions, we then selected some emerging cities in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to map in their entirety. Volunteers spend hours and days moving from one corner of the city to the other mapping every mappable entity, capturing every detail.

What's new with MapSwipe

What's new with MapSwipe

01 August 2016  |  by Pete Masters

Following the excellent feedback so many of you sent us, our team has been hard at work to get the next update out. Get the details, here!

MapSwipe... Feeding back on your feedback

MapSwipe... Feeding back on your feedback

22 July 2016  |  by Pete Masters

We have had an amazing response to MapSwipe in terms of the mapping you have done, but also your feedback and bug reports. We are listening! Find out here what we are doing to address the most common issues.

MapSwipe Tutorial

MapSwipe Tutorial

18 July 2016  |  by Pete Masters

MapSwipe relies on users being able to interpret what they see in the satellite imagery provided. This tutorial gives some guidance on how best to do that.

MapSwipe

MapSwipe

14 July 2016  |  by Pete Masters

MapSwipe enables anyone with a smartphone to contribute to the mapping of these vulnerable communities. Download the app, choose a mission, read the instructions and get started!

Trends of Transformation by Mapping in West Africa

Trends of Transformation by Mapping in West Africa

11 July 2016  |  by David Luswata

Our work in the recent couple of months has been to map communities in a 15 kilometre buffer of the borders of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – this was the region most affected by Ebola Virus Disease. This has been achieved over and above our expectation. Each of these countries has had its challenges in mapping the communities, but the successes supersede the somewhat expected challenges.

Atom Feed

Atom Feed

06 July 2016  |  by Dale Kunce

As the blog expands we added an atom feed so you can subscribe and get the latest updates on Missing Maps.

Without Frontiers in Border Country

Without Frontiers in Border Country

28 June 2016  |  by Rupert Allan

Sierra Leone Red Cross volunteers are methodically surveying the missing, misnamed, and unrepresented villages of the border region for the Post-Ebola Community Rebuild project. Spearheaded by Missing Maps, it is a fundamental vulnerability assessment of at-risk areas where epidemics and natural disasters can run and spread for weeks un-checked.

Water Access in Zimbabwe

Water Access in Zimbabwe

07 June 2016  |  by Matt Gibb

Drought has been a common occurence in Southern Africa due to climate variability, driven primarily by the El Niño Southern Oscillation in the Pacific Ocean. This significantly increases the vulnerability of people living in rural areas. Since 2011, the American Red Cross has partnered with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, to identify and mitigate hazards, and to implement resiliency projects in the region.

OpenStreetMap Country Stats

OpenStreetMap Country Stats

02 June 2016  |  by Dale Kunce

Building an understanding of gaps left to be mapped means understanding what and how local OSM communities have been able to map. Working with some partners we created a simple Tableau visualization that shows the growth of road data in OSM over the past eight years.

Missing Maps

Missing Maps

05 May 2016  |  by Dale Kunce

Welcome to the new Missing Maps Blog. Over nearly the last two years you almost 10,000 mappers have contributed over 22 million edits, almost 3 million buildings and 300,000 km of roads. These achievements are truly amazing. The new blog will focus on sharing some of the personal stories and major events happening with Missing Maps.

Field Mapping at Scale in West Africa

Field Mapping at Scale in West Africa

25 April 2016  |  by Emily Eros

This past year, the American Red Cross undertook its biggest field effort to date: launching a mapping hub in West Africa and training local volunteers to field map over 5,000 villages in the border regions of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The mapping focuses on public health resources, different aspects of vulnerability, and amenities like markets that would draw people across borders – important information to understand if another Ebola outbreak were to occur.

Community mapping in Riohacha, Colombia

Community mapping in Riohacha, Colombia

29 March 2016  |  by Drishtie Patel, Matt Gibb

Every year in the Americas more and more people are living in conditions of vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change. To help reduce disaster risk and enhance community resilience in the region, the American Red Cross is working with Red Cross partners like the Colombian Red Cross to address local hazards and vulnerabilities in dozens of disaster-prone communities.

Fire Sensor Project

Fire Sensor Project

15 September 2015  |  by Drishtie Patel, Dan Joseph

Khayelitsha is home to roughly 400,000 people, covering an area of 39 square km that includes some older "formal" areas and a majority of newer, informal settlements. Red Cross partners have been working in the area and looked into the major concerns the community is facing. Fires are at the top of the list. Red Cross partners are piloting a project to solve this issue : a low-cost, meshed network of smart home sensors affixed to each home within the informal settlement. The American Red Cross GIS team recently set out to Khayelitsha to support the community in mapping the area for better program planning and decision making.