Seeking Leaders for Global Change

Spotlight On: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap — on a mission to map one billion people in 94 countries

Written by Mission Talent Team

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is a non-profit organisation whose objective is to put the most vulnerable communities on the map, thus contributing to the work of organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, Red Cross, World Bank, UNICEF, local governments, etc. on their humanitarian programs in those communities, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. HOT sits at the nexus of participatory mapping, community-led development, humanitarian response, open data and tech.

Currently there are more than a billion people living in rural communities that are not on the map, especially those affected by disasters or multidimensional or extreme poverty. For this reason, HOT found the need to develop an open-source tool to collect geospatial data and create collaborative maps of these communities. When a natural disaster strikes anywhere in the world, these maps allow organisations and institutions to respond more quickly to those who need immediate assistance.

Thanks to the work of volunteers, it is possible to create a map of an entire country in just a few hours. This was the case of Hurricane María in 2017 that struck Puerto Rico and left more than 160,000 people displaced and in which HOT mobilised more than 6.000 volunteers around the world who mapped every home and road in Puerto Rico. Rescuers used these maps to access the most isolated communities and aided these locations.

Now HOT has the opportunity to increase its impact thanks to the Audacious Project, a collaborative financing initiative promoted by TED that supports large-scale social impact projects that respond to the world's most urgent challenges. HOT has been one of the eight organisations selected in the Audacious Project 2020 and aims to recruit one million volunteers to map the area of ​​one billion people in 94 countries, who live in poverty and who are the most vulnerable when a disaster strikes.

HOT's first step will be to establish regional hubs in Latin America and the Caribbean, West Africa, East Africa, and South/East Asia and the Pacific. These hubs will act as connectors between the different communities of OpenStreetMap volunteers, and provide them with financial and technical support to continue mapping their area. 

Mission Talent has partnered with HOT to search for their new Regional Director, West Africa. The Regional Director will work to achieve HOT’s Audacious Project vision in West Africa. He/ she will be responsible for developing and executing a strategy for expanding the use of free, open, and accessible geospatial data in 25 countries in West Africa over a period of 4-5 years. He/ she will lead a team of 13 team members across HOT’s partnerships, community engagement, microgrants, technical assistance, communications, and technology innovation teams. 

Mission Talent Team