Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Missing Maps, Ebola and Learn OSM

I've spent a large amount of time over the past weeks mapping for Ebola. You can see some of my work, along with many others in Freetown, Kayes and more.

Often it has been an article of faith that the requesting organisations find mapping contributions useful; with feedback few and far between. For example, we saw some usage during Typhoon Haiyan, but it's hard to know if you are being truely effective.

This past fortnight, that doubt has been firmly put to bed. MSF has launched Missing Maps, proactively calling on the global community not to donate money, but to donate time.

Additionally, a thread on the HOTOSM mailing list has nicely overlapped in demonstrating value - and of course, personal anecdotes go a long way to making things relatable.

Given this renewed push from the people consuming open street map data in crisis situations, I began to wonder how I could turn my efforts from "dedicated mapper" to something more magnified.

I was lucky to have Nick Tailguy commit to a refreshed OSM Tasking manager guide and talk to the mailing lists - I've since contributed a number of small edits that will hopefully go on to encourage new mappers to confidently contribute in times of need.

To really kick it up a notch, I'm considering outreach to universities in ebola impacted locations - but I could really use the help of a dedicated few to push me further here; if the idea truely has value.

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