Category Archives: Humanitarian Mapping

ISU Mapathon Greatest hits…show the highlights reel!

Over the past few years the ISU GIS Facility has hosted a number of mapathons. Most of our mapathons have a time set aside for mapping in Iowa and then a time where we focus on international projects.

It is amazing what even a small group of mappers can do to add to the OpenStreetMap basemap in a small town in Iowa. Below are three examples of demonstrating how a mapathon event can add to the OpenStreetMap.

1. George, Iowa
George, Iowa is a small town in Northwest Iowa. This series of screen shots below illustrates progress made over several mapathons.

George, Iowa – 6/30/2016
George, Iowa – 7/13/2016
George, Iowa – 6/28/2017

2. Ogden, Iowa
Another Iowa example is Ogden, Iowa. We starting mapping Ogden in 2015. This story map link shows progress made over several mapping events. As part of this effort we even marked the sidewalks as a collarborative project with Iowa State Extension. After our mapping efforts an individual continued on the IowaView efforts. Today, Ogden has a vivid and robust OSM basemap.

Ogden, Iowa – November 17, 2020

3. Wayland, Iowa
Most of our early efforts were not tied to a specific project but were mainly to teach people to use OpenStreetMap and continuing adding to the Iowa basemap. For our mapathon in 2019, we reached out to see if there were any communities that would like help with a mapping project. We were connected with a city clerk from Wayland, Iowa. Below are screenshots of the progress from that day of mapping.

Wayland, Iowa – 10/11/2019
Wayland, Iowa – 10/17/2019

Happy GIS Day 2020! #GISDay

As a way to celebrate GIS Day and OpenStreetMap, we are encouraging everyone to go online either during this week or on GIS Day and contribute to the OpenStreetMap basemap. You may consider improving the basemap in your own community. Here are several projects to consider:

Public Lab Mongolia – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9560/
Public Lab Mongolia (PLM), a local non-governmental organization in Mongolia, is leading the Mongolian chapter for volunteer mappers through the HOTmicrogrant COVID-19 project, as part of their mission to promote open data and disaster preparedness. This mapping will also help with COVID-19 response efforts. This project is to map Ulaanbaatar capital city of Mongolia, is organized by PLM in collaboration with the Mongolian Geo-spatial Association and local universities.

Hurricane Eta – Nicaragua – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9765
Hurricane Eta brought wind, rain and storm surge to the coast of Nicaragua. This project is to finish the basemap of Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) by digitizing buildings from MAXAR imagery. Available to beginners, there may be tricky tasks in this project as some areas have been partially mapped with older imagery and vegetation can often hide parts of structures. Make sure to review the instructions for tips on how to overcome these challenges and provide high quality data.

Explore your own project: https://tasks.hotosm.org/explore

OpenStretMap And Humanitarian Mapping – Making A Difference For Others

OpenStreetMap is a publicly editable map of the world. It’s is often referred to as Wikipedia for maps. Anyone can sign up for an account and begin adding to the map. Edits to the map are reviewed and validated by other members of the community.

In 2010, OpenStreetMap was used as a humanitarian disaster relief tool after an earthquake in Haiti. Volunteers from across the world mapped buildings and roads from satellite imagery in areas that been damaged by the earthquake. Then teams on the ground were able to use that information to assess damage and begin recovery efforts.

Since that time the use of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap has spread around the globe helping in disaster response as well as disaster prevention and many other humanitarian efforts. We encourage you to take time during Geography Awareness Week to volunteer your time and talent to help with some of the following projects:

Suggested International Projects:

Public Lab Mongolia – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9560/
Public Lab Mongolia (PLM), a local non-governmental organization in Mongolia, is leading the Mongolian chapter for volunteer mappers through the HOTmicrogrant COVID-19 project, as part of their mission to promote open data and disaster preparedness. This mapping will also help with COVID-19 response efforts. This project is to map Ulaanbaatar capital city of Mongolia, is organized by PLM in collaboration with the Mongolian Geo-spatial Association and local universities.

Hurricane Eta – Nicaragua – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9765
Hurricane Eta brought wind, rain and storm surge to the coast of Nicaragua. This project is to finish the basemap of Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) by digitizing buildings from MAXAR imagery. Available to beginners, there may be tricky tasks in this project as some areas have been partially mapped with older imagery and vegetation can often hide parts of structures. Maker sure to review the instructions for tips on how to overcome these challenges and provide high quality data.

Explore your own project: https://tasks.hotosm.org/explore

Be part of the Global Celebration: Geography Awareness Week 2020!

Join us this week, November 15-21, 2020, as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week. Throughout we will be posting various activities and videos from our friends at OpenStreetMap, National Geographic, and Esri to help you get engage and get informed.

As a way to celebrate GIS Day and OpenStreetMap, we are encouraging everyone to go online either during this week or on GIS Day and contribute to the OpenStreetMap basemap. If you are interested and would like more information about how to get started, please email, Amy Logan.

If this is your first time using OpenStreetMap, sign up for an OpenStreetMap account: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/new. Then look over this helpful resource from TeachOSM about how to get started and build proficiency with OpenStreetMap: (https://ubique.americangeo.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2_buildings_worksheet_1-2.pdf)

#OSMgeoweek

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) community is also celebrating this week as OSM Geography Awareness Week (#osmgeoweek.) It is a time for teachers, students, community groups, and map lovers, in the US and around the world to join together to celebrate geography and make maps with OpenStreetMap, the free and openly editable map of the world.

Over 132 groups around the world are hosting mapathons to gather people to add to the OSM basemaps. While we aren’t hosting an official event in Ames this week, we do encourage you to get mapping. In a previous post, we suggested ways to connect with the OpenStreetMap community, click here to check that out.

Another way you can do to improve the OSM basemap is to log in and navigate to your local community. Add new developments, new roads, public buildings, parks, and points of interest. It’s always good to make sure your community’s data is fresh and correct.

Open Street Map – Your Passport to Adventure

IowaView hosted a workshop on June 26, 2018 as part of the annual State 4-H Conference. The workshop provided 4-Hers with an introduction to OpenStreetMap and online mapping for community service and humanitarian aid purposes.

The workshop began with an introductory lecture and then students completed two projects. The first project was mapping in Glidden, Iowa. IowaView partnered with ISU Geospatial Extension to help them improve the OSM basemap by creating more complete data for streets, sidewalks, alleys, parks, and crosswalks as part of a community planning project. The 4-Hers were encouraged to use Google street view in addition to the OSM imagery to get better views of the sidewalks and crosswalks which can often be obstructed by trees.

Notice the sidewalks (some are still hard to see, obstructed by trees)
Here’s a view of the sidewalks from the street
Now the basemap is complete

The group also had a short time to work on a project with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team helping map buildings in Osaka, Japan as part of their earthquake recovery efforts.

Earth Observation Day – Thursday, October 12, 2017

This year for Earth Observation Day we had a mini mapathon and a speaker.  Our mapathon efforts focused on a project  in Puerto Rico that was mapping features as part of the Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.  Then Daryl Herzmann presented about the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM), a storehouse and distribution center for weather, satellite, and transportation data for the US. Daryl gave a brief history of IEM along with highlighting many of its uses. Click here to view Daryl’s powerpoint. 

Coming Soon! Earth Observation Day – Thursday, October 12, 2017

You are invited to the annual Earth Observation Day celebration in Durham 248 from 11am to 1pm on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

From 11am-12pm, we will be having a mapping event focused on humanitarian mapping projects in areas hit by recent natural disasters.  Bring your lunch and stay from 12-12:30, we will have a guest lecture from Daryl Herzmann about the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, a website which collects and displays environmental data for Iowa from various sources including Iowa Flood Center, Iowa Department of Transportation, National Weather Service, and Iowa State University – Agronomy. Read more about the Iowa Mesonet here: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/article/iowa-environmental-mesonet-data-used-thousands-every-day.

Please come and go as you are able. If you are interested in joining us, please fill out the RSVP form (https://goo.gl/forms/SVLH4qhWDqJvfPD03) so we can plan for computer space and chairs. Please spread the word. Thank you, I hope you can join us!  

Start Your Future Here – Part II

This post will describe the second workshop the ISU GIS Facility and IowaView hosted as part of the 2017 Iowa 4-H State Conference, “Start Your Future Here.”  The second workshop, “Start Your Open Street Map Adventure Here,” gave students a brief introduction to GIS and remote sensing as well as a short discussion of open street map and its interface. Then 4-Hers were asked to practice using the mapping interface through the TeachOSM application.  The group started by mapping a small northwest Iowa town, George.  As you will see from the screen shots, the 4-Hers made significant progress for this community, mapping over 400 buildings.  Comparing the before and after pictures, notice the large number of buildings added in the central and northeast parts of town.

George, Iowa – Before 4-H Workshop

George, Iowa – After 4-H workshop 6/29/2017

For the second activity, students worked on a project sponsored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS)’s Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) to help map communities near active volcanoes.  the 4-Hers mapped roads, buildings, and rivers in several small communities near Mt. Galeras in Columbia as part of their emergency preparedness. According to project description, “Galeras is an active Andean stratovolcano that is located in the Narino department, near Pasto (population: 450,000 Colombians). Galeras is the most active volcano in Colombia and is known for regular eruptions, the most recent occurring in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2010.” The students did a great job mapping with both projects. Between the two projects over 500 nodes were created and over 3,000 nodes were created. Hopefully these activities will lead to future mapping interest.