DataHack 2019- crowdsourcing map data to ease the humanitarian and relief activities

26 Jul 2019 - Richa Neupane

On July 20 and 21, fifteen humanitarian tech enthusiasts came to the DataHack 2019 – Map the districts affected by monsoon in Nepal at Outside’s office in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur. The aim of the DataHack was to map the several districts which have been affected by monsoon rains in Nepal.

Day 1, July 20: The event Started with participants’ introduction. Our project coordinator Nikesh Balami kicked off the event and introduced OpenStreetMap (OSM) to the participants and gave a hands-on overview on how to edit the map. He talked about the importance of open mapping and how OSM platform acts as a resource for humanitarian & social causes, giving the users the flexibility to  contribute on their own time as well as have an offline access through the app MAPS.ME.

After the overview and some basic discussion, participants started mapping the affected areas. On the first day,, participants contributed to the mapping tasks created by Kathmandu Living Labs. Although all participants were editing the OSM for the first time, they completely mapped around 38 tasks within 5 hours. Participants mapped the roads, landmarks, residential areas, waterways, etc in the monsoon affected districts. According to Roshan Ghimire, program director at Code for Nepal, learning about the basics and importance of open mapping was crucial. Participants also stopped for a lovely lunch break and a Table Tennis game. 

Day 2, July 21: **On the second day, participants worked on the mapping of Janakpur city and its surrounding areas on OpenStreetMap. The mapping tasks of Janakpur area was created by Code for Nepal. In between mapping, Nikesh Balami shared how such mapping of disaster prone areas helps ease the humanitarian and relief activities with participants. It helps relief workers and disaster preparedness planners to conduct their programs in these areas more smoothly.

In an informal discussion, the participants gave feedback that the mapping process would be more effective if local people of these disaster prone areas were also involved in the DataHack. On the second day, a total of five participants completely mapped around 30 tasks. 

Many participants have pledged to continue mapping. Being able to remotely contribute to the disaster preparedness work have motivated all the participants. However, just two days of mapping is not enough to complete all tasks.

You can also contribute by first getting familiar with the OSM platform and then getting started with these tasks. 

To map flood and landslide prone areas: 

To map Janakpur city & surrounding areas: