15 years ago Steve Coast had a wild idea. He wanted to create a free and open map of the world. OpenStreetMap was born.
10 years ago a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti showed the humanitarian impact of maps and brought about the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). HOT as it would later be known, helped humanitarians understand and work with communities in a way never thought possible with the existing map services of the day.
7 years ago Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines and HOT created maps of the potential area before the typhoon even made landfall. The resulting data in OpenStreetMap became the map for all humanitarians on the ground and sped up aid deliveries by over one month.
6 years ago Ebola ravaged West Africa killing over 10,000 people. The HOT community again rose to the challenge to fill in the gaps and blank spots on the map. Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross, and other organizations were not only reliant on the data but helped to create it in coordination with HOT volunteers.
6 years ago HOT, the American Red Cross, the British Red Cross, and Médecins Sans Frontières came together to form the Missing Maps project with the intention of mapping areas where people live at risk of disasters and crises. By contributing to OpenStreetMap (OSM), the collective hoped that individuals, communities, and organizations could use the data, and shared tools to better prepare, respond, and support vulnerable communities around the world.
5 years ago These goals were put to the test almost immediately when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. HOT volunteers supported the local mapping community in Nepal alongside members from Missing Maps and other organizations supporting response efforts in Nepal.
Over the past 5 years The Missing Maps project has brought over 150,000 mappers from around the world together to continually contribute to OpenStreetMap and support these wider humanitarian initiatives. HOT has supported Missing Maps member organisations and their beneficiaries in crises like the massive displacement of nearly 800 000 Rohingya refugees, the earthquakes in Mexico, the political crisis in Venezuela, and as well during last year’s cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique.
NOW The TED Audacious Project has labeled this project as one of the “jaw-dropping ideas for global change” and will support HOT to map the homes of 1 billion people experiencing poverty or living at risk of disaster. Over the next five years, this grant will make possible the next phase of work for HOT and the OpenStreetMap project. It will allow rapid growth in local mapping, enabling the people living in the most vulnerable places in our world to map their communities. This will mean the map better reflects our world and the people in it. It will build equity for all people.
From all of us here at the Missing Maps collective, we want to share a big congratulations to HOT and to each and every volunteer and person who played a role in helping us reach this next phase of our work. We look forward to supporting them as they take this audacious next step!
Go read HOTOSM’s post and initial 5-year plan to get involved.