Mapping for Humanitarian Good

Mapping for Humanitarian Good to Celebrate OSM GeoWeek 2016

More than 50 people gathered in DC on November 16 to celebrate geography and contribute to OpenStreetMap, a free and openly editable map of the world.

National Geography Awareness Week (GeoWeek) is celebrated the third week of every November and was established by presidential proclamation more than 25 years ago. GeoWeek encourages the public to think and learn about the significance of place and how we interact with geography.

This year’s OpenStreetMap GeoWeek main event launched the first open mapping projects designed by U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), specifically focused on program areas surrounding Lake Victoria in Kenya and Tanzania. The mapping data generated by volunteers is improving PEPFAR’s understanding of HIV/AIDS program coverage, the optimization of supply-chain logistics, and the analysis of clinical site-level data. Without these data, this type of detailed analysis would not be possible.

This year OpenGov Hub partnered with the OpenStreetMap community and provided a collaborative space and community to support and participate in the Mapathon. Participants - students and practitioners in related fields - were able to connect with fellow volunteer mappers (new and seasoned) while listening to short presentations about global efforts that create and need map data for humanitarian, development, and public health efforts. OSM Geography Awareness Week is a worldwide effort to increase participation in the open mapping community where volunteers can easily connect to existing projects and efforts.


Since the launch of the PEPFAR mapping tasks, volunteers have contributed to over 42,000 edits (over 34,000 buildings and 5,800 km of roads), and contributions are growing daily. Additionally, recently on World AIDS Day more than 100 people gathered in Dar es Salaam at the Tanzania Data Lab to participate and spread awareness. The remote mapping efforts combined with local knowledge and field mapping will result in a more comprehensive map throughout the region. Join us on the PEPFAR mapping initiative by finding the relevant tasks here, and if you are new to mapping visit the MapGive Learn to Map page to get started.

This Mapathon was part of a broader global effort for OSM GeoWeek. In total, at least 140 public and 150 private events took place in 42 countries.  With 1 million edits, together we added 861,865 buildings and 145,030 km of roads to OpenStreetMap!

Check out the full gallery of images from the event on our Flickr here:

Organizers for this OSM GeoWeek 2016 Keynote Event included the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, U.S. Department of State (MapGive), USAID (YouthMappers), and Missing Maps. Special thanks to OpenGov Hub, ActioNet, and Mapbox for sponsoring this year’s event.

And mark your calendars for next year's OSM GeoWeek, November 12-18, 2017!