Calling all troops! Help HOT this week!

HOT Home Page

by Beth

###Calling all troops!

As many of you likely already know, a few days ago Nepal was hit with a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. The natural disaster has shattered temples and homes, and left thousands dead or injured.

What can you do to help? In addition to donating to your favorite relief effort, you can help Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team (HOT) to remap the area. #This week, I’m calling on all Maptimes to put aside your tutorials, and to instead get together to contribute to this cause.

Props to chapters like Boulder, Alpes and DC for contributing already!

Haven’t ever done a HOT task before? That’s ok, this is a perfect opportunity to learn! Once you do, it will be easy to share with other people how to do this. Here’s how:

####1. Read the wiki page for the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.

HOT Wiki Nepal

The wiki page, found here, contains all the information you need to know about the satellite imagery and data available available, who in HOT is coordinating this response, and everything else you need to know to help get the job done.

####2. Go to the OSM Task Manager to see what needs to be done.

HOT Task Manager

A link to the Task Manager – – can be found on the wiki page. Click through the tasks to see what still needs to be done. There are completion bars in each of the task categories (green, red, and yellow rectangles in the upper right) so you can quickly see what’s left to do. If you are a beginner, look for tasks like roads that are easy to do. More complicated tasks are labeled accordingly.

####3. Contribute!

HOT Task Manager Tabs

This might be the scariest part for beginners, but it’s easier than it looks…especially once you’ve done it a few times :)

The Description tab gives you an overview of the task for the area, and then the Instructions tab tells you what you need to do, including how to tag road types, for example.

The Contribute page is where the action happens! Either select one of the square areas on the right, or click the Take a task at random button. Since there are lots of people all over contributing, I recommend the Random option.

Next, click _Start mapping_ to get started, which locks the area. This means that it is unavailable to others to edit at the same time. Similarly, when you see Locked areas, this means that someone is working on it. You’ll need to be logged in to Openstreetmap to do this, and you’ll be prompted to do so if you forget.

Start Mappimg

Choose an editor on the next page. I recommend using ID, as it is the most straightforward to work with. For more information on how to use the ID editor and generally edit Openstreetmap, check out Alan’s OSM 101 slides.


Once you choose your editor, you’ll be directed to the editing interface on OSM’s site. From there, you’ll be prompted to zoom in until you can start mapping. Save your work frequently. When you are done, unlock your task in the OSM manager, or mark it as complete.

If you can’t find something easy to do for the Nepal earthquake relief, find another easy task for another area that needs mapping!!

Making this data takes time, and every little bit helps. Sometimes after the initial media surge following a disaster, people forget about it. But places like Haiti still need help years after their earthquake. The Red Cross often gets too much blood after a disaster, and then is left shorthanded when there is no longer media around an event. All that to say, any bit that you help, for any instance that needs it, is amazing!

Thank you for your help, everyone!