Monthly Archives: November 2016

OSM GeoWeek contributions from Heidelberg to support climate change preparedness programs

In the context of the international OpenStreetMap Geography Awareness Week,  last Thursay, 17th November 2016, another mapping event was organized at the Geographical Institute of Heidelberg University. Sava, a region in the north of Madagascar, was herein mapped in cooperation with Missing Maps and the French NGO CartONG.

Madagascar is as one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 92% of the population living with an income under 2$ a day. It is also one of the most vulnerable countries regarding climate change. Especially Sava has to deal with an increase in storms and the disappearing of mangrove forests which formed a natural barrier against storms and cyclones.

Having a better and global understanding of the location of the population as well as its accessibility is crucial for NGOs and local actors to prepare emergency management programs. In this vein, CartONG started a project to enable mapping the most vulnerable parts of the island. For more information see task description here.

The event started with a small introduction to the OSM GeoWeek, followed by a project overview of Violaine Doutreleau of CartONG via skype. Furthermore the participants were shown the use of the offline editor JOSM for the digitization of the OpenStreetMap data.


In the process of this mapathon buildings were digitized on the basis of MapSwipe data. The MapSwipe app was developed by the GIScience Group/ disastermappers heidelberg and the Missing Maps Project to enable the classification of populated areas on the basis of satellite imagery. That way, settlement areas can already be detected before the “mapping” and thus the search for buildings shortens, with only tiles containing buildings becoming part of the digitization tasks.

In only a few hours two complete tasks in the HOT OSM Tasking Manager created by CartONG on the basis of MapSwipe data were mapped by the Heidelberg volunteers!


A big thank you to all participants! We hope to see you soon at our next event!

Integrating MapSwipe and HOT Tasking Manager – First Task Online!

The MapSwipe app allows you to mark buildings and roads on satellite imagery within
just a few seconds by tapping on your smartphone. Thousands of volunteers contributed to MapSwipe so far and it is just incredible how big the areas are that have been scanned. Nevertheless, classifying satellite imagery cannot replace the “traditional” mapping process.
The information on settlements or highways provides the most value to everyone if it is present in the OpenStreetMap database. Consequently, we need a smooth way to integrate the MapSwipe data into the OSM Mapping workflow using the HOT Tasking Manager.

The GIScience Research Group and the disatermappers heidelberg are happy to show a
workflow that allows the frictionless integration of crowdsourced image classification
for the HOT Tasks generation. As the MapSwipe data already indicates where mapping is
needed, we can use the information to define the areas of interest, that will represent
the single mapping tasks in the HOT Tasking Manager. This approach also follows the
Heidelberg Process“, which aims to break down mapping into single subtasks, which are
based upon each other.

There are three steps conducted that are displayed below:

1. Get MapSwipe raw data and select “credible” tiles with features

2. Aggregate results

3. Split aggregated results to ares that are ready to use in the Tasking Manager


We set up a gitlab with scripts for downloading and processing MapSwipe raw data [Check it out here].

In addition we provide downloaded and processed data via cloud storage (updated 48h) [Get the data here].

The processed, “final” data is in shapefile format. Before creating a HOT TM project out of it two steps are important.
First, get relevant data by clipping the respective mapswipe project with a geometry of your desired region (e.g. administrative boundaries). The extent of MapSwipe projects are very huge, better not use it as a whole HOT TM project. That step is very simple with QGIS, just load the “final_<projectNR>.shp” and your region of interest in and use Vector>>Geoprocessing Tools>>Clip. Now you got your tasks ready for create the HOT TM project. Upload it and don’t forget to click on “arbitrary polygons”.
The project is created, editing in ID works fine but theres one last thing missing. Because of the arbitrary polygons, mappers who don’t use ID will not see the boundary of their task when editing. It’s therefore likely that some of the mappers will map objects which are located in another task. To solve this issue, you just need to provide a .gpx file containing the shapes of the tasks.
In QGIS run Vector>>Geometry Tools>>Polygons to Lines and use your clipped shapefile as input. The output file fulfills all requirements to be saved as .gpx. Upload this file to a accessible storage like dropbox or gdrive and copy the link for download in the instructions tab of your HOT project. Be sure that everyone who want to contribute will be aware that this file is needed as additional layer in their editor!

We set up the first HOT Mapping Task that uses the MapSwipe data for MSF in Madagascar.
Given the information from MapSwipe, OSM mappers can now focus on the areas that are populated and don’t have to spend valuable time scanning unpopulated areas and areas with poor imagery. Doing so, mapping becomes even more fun. 😉

Interested to try this process yourself and to learn more about MapSwipe, Mapping and the MSF activation in Madagascar? Then join us for our OSMGeoWeek Missing Maps Mapathon for Madagascar tomorrow, 17th November from 6pm in the lecture hall, Berliner Straße 48.

No previous knowledge necessary, just bring your own laptop and a mouse if available!

OSM GeoWeek MissingMaps Mapping Event for Madagascar

Dear Mapping Enthusiasts,

Nov 13-19th is the international OpenStreetMap GeoWeek. In this scope the disastermappers/ GIScience Group wants to invite you to a special Mapathon to start the new semester.

When: 17.11.2016, 6 pm

Where: Hörsaal, Berliner Straße 48

The MissingMaps event will be organized in collaboration with another one of the partner organizations of the MissingMaps project, the French based NGO CartONG. CartONG is currently conducting Mapping projects in Madagascar in cooperation with MissingMaps.

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 92% of the population living under 2 dollars a day. As one of the most vulnerable countries regarding the global warming (behind Haiti and Bangladesh), Madagascar moreover gathers climatic imbalances. Sava region in the North of the island particularly suffers from storms intensification and disappearance of mangrove, which are natural barriers against storms and cyclona. Having a better and global understanding of the location of the population and its accessibility is crucial for NGOs and local actors to prepare risk reduction programs.

We would like to support these efforts with our Mapping Event!

The event will start with an introduction into the project by Violaine Doutreleau of CartONG who will be connected to us via Skype! Afterwards we will provide a short introduction into mapping in OpenStreetMap before the mapping sessions begin.

We will as usual provide snacks, drinks and nice after work sound 🙂

We are looking forward to a large crowd, no previous knowledge needed.

Just bring your laptop and mouse if available!







HOT Summit videos are online

The presentations of this years HOT summit that was held in Brussels (September 22, 2016) were recorded and are now available in the Youtube channel of HOT.

If you missed the summit and are interested in what we are doing, have a look at the video of the joint presentation with Pete Masters (MSF) on “MapSwipe and Pybossa. Further exploration in the power of crowds”.


But, please also have a look at the many other really interesting talks. HOT Youtube channel