OSUN GeoHub is excited to announce the DRR day Mapathon on October 12

October 5, 2022

On the 12 of October, to mark the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the OSUN’s GeoHub project will organize a Missing Maps Mapathon, a crowdsourcing event that will help map the most vulnerable places in the developing world.

Every year October 13 is observed as the International Day for DRR. The day aims to recognize the progress made in addressing vulnerability to disasters and the loss of lives, economies, and health. While honoring people and communities all over the world who are working to reduce their vulnerability to disasters and raise awareness about the risks, global organizations arrange events to build capacity and resilience in response to catastrophic natural and man-made events.

A mapathon is a coordinated mapping event and a kind of editathon where the public is invited to make online map improvements in their local or international area to improve coverage and support disaster risk assessment and resource management activities. A mapathon is a great opportunity for volunteers to digitally connect and map the most vulnerable or already affected places so that local and international Non-Governmental Organizations can use these maps and data to better respond to crises. Mapathons use an online site for storing map data, such as OpenStreetMap (OSM) or Google Maps. Through capacity-building workshops, mapathons create a community of global volunteers who want to make an impact and help national and international humanitarian works.

With the increasing threat of natural disasters, up-to-date maps are important for the success of many humanitarian organizations around the world in responding to disasters. Through Missing Maps using the OSM platform, anyone can volunteer to help create these maps and have a real impact on the delivery of healthcare in the field. 

The GeoHub mapathon does not require any mapping experience and is open to students and staff across OSUN and CIVICA member institutions. Such mapathons are not only a crucial tool for emergency response but also can act as a starting point for learning the foundation of GIS mapping techniques.

The event will start with an introductory talk by Lorant Czaran (the Head of the UN-SPIDER Vienna Office) and Olga Shashkina (former UNDRR), followed by the OSM introduction and mapathon training, conducted by Paromita Basak (University of Maryland), so that any participant can start mapping right away. 

So, join us, book your calendar for 12th October (11:00-13:00 CEST), and register right away. Details on how to join the event will be shared with registered participants. Most active participants will be awarded. 


Paromita Basak is a current voting member of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOTOSM). She is a graduate of Central European University (CEU) from the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy. Being an active member of the global OSM community, she has successfully led Bangladesh’s first arsenic mapping project with an all-women team after winning the international HOTOSM community development grant in 2017.

She has previously managed the American Association of Geographers (AAG) international “Cities’ COVID Mitigation Mapping (C2M2) project” in Bangladesh where her research focused on mapping the second-order impacts of COVID-19 in Bangladesh.

She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Maryland, College Park, and working with NASA GEDI data as a part of the research team on forest and biomass conservation. Her voluntary community work as a voting member of HOTOSM focuses on using OSM and open data to help underprivileged people by addressing key issues such as disaster risk reduction, gender equality, sustainability, refugee response, and so on.


What do we do on a Mapathon and how? 

After the introductory presentation, the instructor will teach you the basics of OpenStreetMap (OSM), Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), and Missing Maps project. The participants will need to sign-up at OpenStreetMap simply using their email and providing other details as requested. After that, you are ready to map. 

In the next step, the basic mapping tools will be introduced, such as point, line, and polygon. Participants will learn how and when to use these tools while exploring and tracing the satellite imagery. The HOT platform provides various satellite images for the same territory and the user can choose the clearest imagery for tracing.

After getting the initial idea of online mapping and practicing as a group on tracing the buildings, participants can move on to selecting individual mapping tasks through the tasking manager of HOTOSM. The system will allow the user to select an unmapped grid cell and then it will be locked for that individual user. Participants will be tracing roads, buildings, ponds, and so on. International humanitarian organizations like USAID, Red Cross, and GFDRR will later be using these data to support people in the affected areas.