One Map Myanmar and Phandeeyar

24 September 2018


The American Red Cross has been working alongside the Myanmar Red Cross to better understand where critical infrastructure and roads are to inform decision making during major disasters, like floods and cyclones.

Planning Mawlamyine City mapping, CC-BY Kyawzayar Linn

Nearly all of our experiences have shown us that detailed and accurate map data help the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network to better understand where people live in relation to potential hazards so that we can help them prepare, respond, and recover from disasters. Armed with quality information, emergency response teams and decision-makers have the ability to better serve their communities in a timely manner and more effectively allocate resources to those who need it most.

In May 2018, the American Red Cross GIS team trained members of One Map Myanmar (OMM) 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.

Two key objectives for data collection in Myanmar:

  1. To break into organized teams and collect points-of-interests that were not already in OSM; clean and validate the data, and upload the data

  2. To form collaborations with local city authorities, disaster management agencies and volunteers to inform decision-makers about the OSM community and open source tools and communities

Below, is a snapshot of how the city of Mawlamyine was divided into mapping tasks and the smaller squares demonstrate areas of higher urban density.

Tasking Manager project squares

The data layers or points-of-interest (POIs) that were collected by teams include:

  • Accommodations
  • Health facilities
  • Public facilities
  • Schools
  • Financial institutions
  • Offices
  • Public spaces
  • Transportation infrastructure
  • Markets
  • Places of worship
  • Restaurants
  • Stadiums

From data collection training to improved collaboration

Identifying priority datasets and data collection

This process looked at what kind of data currently exists and what points-of-interests are needed to fill in data gaps in OSM for this region. Then, the trained data collectors were split into teams and collected the data using OpenMapKit (OMK).

Cleaning and validating the data

The collected points-of-interest were then downloaded and divided between teams for data quality checks and validation. Specifically two main things were flagged for quality control: (1) whether the language tags in English and in the Myanmar language are both correct and (2) if the geographic placement of the points are where they should be.

Uploading the data into OSM

In Myanmar, the Red Cross and other organizations are interested in seeing the data put to practical use to create either a large city map or a large-scale ward map for Mawlamyine with the new buildings recently added.

Sharing datasets for improved collaboration

OpenStreetMap and other forms of open data (i.e. Humanitarian Data Exchange) are great examples of open-source platforms that allow ministries, planning agencies, and humanitarian teams to share common data sets needed for disaster planning and mitigation.

Discussing open data, CC-BY Kyawzayar Linn

Before this activity took place, there were about 113 POIs on the map for the city of Mawlamyine in OSM. After this team collected their datasets, cleaned the data and uploaded, nearly 60,000 new POIs were added into OSM! These new data layers can help disaster managers and planners identify key places they can distribute resources before or after a disaster strikes.

Using the OSM Analytics Tool we can see how many buildings were in this area before and after the new data were brought into OSM.

OSM before and after

The below animation, produced from HOT’s Visualize Change Tool also shows the progress of the features added in OSM over time for the entire area.

Mapping progress visualized

Mapping statistics

Partners for this collaboration

We want to thank our partners One Map Myanmar and Phandeeyar for collaborating with us and for their time.

If you would like to get involved with Missing Maps and our projects in Myanmar, please consider helping us with our efforts to map the Ayeyarwady Delta. Tasks and their priority levels can be found here:

Training participants, CC-BY Rachel Levine / American Red Cross

by Jennifer Duong