Hosting a Mapathon

A mapathon is a great opportunity for volunteers to digitally connect and create urgently needed data for communities around the world so that local and international decision-makers can use these maps and data to better respond to crises affecting these areas. Up-to-date maps are important for the success of many humanitarian initiatives around the world in responding to disasters. Through Missing Maps, you can volunteer your time to help inform these maps, and have a real impact on the delivery of healthcare and other services in these communities. Check out the video below to learn more about what a mapathon is, and check out our resources on how to host one below.

What is a Mapathon?
How to Host a Mapathon
Thinking of hosting a large event?

We love to welcome new mappers to Missing Maps, but it is important to remember we are part of a much larger OpenStreetMap (OSM) community. The data produced in OSM, whether by us or other mappers, is used in real time. Therefore, it is important that we properly support these new mappers. Without proper training, supervision and data clean-up, new mappers can have a lot of fun but leave a huge mess behind in OSM! Because of this, we highly recommend you start with smaller events and build your capacity before holding big mapathons. We suggest a first time mapathon host to start by organizing an event for 20 -25 participants. If you are considering a larger event (for 50+ participants) please contact info@hotosm.org. If you are looking to host a bigger event and do not have time to build your training capacity, please consider hosting a MapSwipe event instead. These events can more easily involve larger groups responsibly.

Cartoon of a checklist on a clipboard with four items. Two are checked off.  There is also a power strip and pencil and the twitter icon bird.
Planning Checklist

Download a complete Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a Mapathon from Training and Event Materials.

Decide if you'll do an in-person or remote event

Choose a date

Recruit volunteers to help plan the event

Book a space

Register your event here

Recruit participants using Eventbrite

Pick a task using the Tasking Manager

Ensure strong Wi-Fi

Check that the Tasking Manager passes your location's firewall

Tables and chairs

Projector & audio visual equipment

Laptops for all participants (tablets are not compatible)

Mice (if possible) for all participants

Make sure you have contact info for your event spaces tech and support staff

Extra extension cords

Print materials

Order snacks

Prepare training materials

Remind participants to create their OSM profile and download a browser that is not Internet Explore

If hosting remote event, test platform including microphone and screenshare

A cartoon checklist with four items. Three are checked off.  There is also a pencil.
Event Day Checklist

Download a complete Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a Mapathon from Training and Event Materials.

Set up room

Test wifi and Tasking Manager access on both pc and mac: note, mapping software is not compatible with Internet Explorer

Tape extension cords to the floor for safety

Set up registration table

Put out printed resources

Get presentations ready

Set up snacks

Have fun mapping!

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Mapathon Support

The Missing Maps team can support you in a number of ways. Please reach out to us via Twitter or Facebook for help with task selection or if you have any questions. Additionally, volunteer mapathon supporters are located around the globe! Please use the below map to connect to someone in your area. You can filter by language using the dropdowns. Zooming the map will help you narrow down the list to people in your area.


Volunteer to help out by adding your contact info to the map via the button below. To remove or edit your data please send an email.

Sign up