disastermappers join youthmappers network

We are happy to announce that disastermappers heidelberg just joined youthmappers– an international network with over 4,000 university student mappers in 78 campus chapters that are spread across 25 countries. Since 2015, youthmappers help student mapping initiatives around the world to address real-world challenges, following the theme “We don`t just build maps- we build mappers”. After Polimappers in Milan, disastermappers are the second chapter to support the network from Europe.

After learning about youthmappers and starting to connect through mutual membership in Missing Maps, we are looking forward to closer collaboration with the numerous chapters, exciting exchange and projects.

Learn more about youthmappers and the participating chapters here.





Earthquake Response- Mapathon

==>>Tomorrow 14:00- 17:00; INF348; R014A<<==

Hey all,

tuesday night central Mexico was struck by an earthquake with the magnitude of appr. 7.1, causing the collapse of several buildings in Mexico City and serious harm for the local population.
This event is the latest of a number of disasters in the recent weeks, including hurricanes and floods. Just twelve days before, the southern mexican state Chiapas got hit by an earthquake, too.
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team activated for all these disasters with great support of the worldwide mapping community that provided crucial base map material for the affected regions.
Disastermappers heidelberg/GIScience support these efforts with a special mapathon for Mexico City tomorrow afternoon.

We welcome everyone to join, no previous experience needed. Please just make sure to bring a laptop and mouse.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

If you want to support the work remotely, please look for the priority tasks in the Tasking Manager and feel free to contact us for further information!

disastermappers at annual HOT and Missing Maps events in Canada

Canada- picturesque mountains, craggy-coasts, vast untouched landscapes, diverse cultures- and a country that is increasingly supporting the use of open data. In this vein, last week the capital of Canada became a place for exchange, knowledge sharing and awareness building all around the use of open data to support humanitarian and disaster related purposes.

The week started with the annual gathering of the Missing Maps members, hosted by the newest member, the Canadian Red Cross, that just joined the members of the project as well as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and are a valuable enrichment to our group. The event provided the direct chance to meet a great part of the members in person and to exchange ideas all around Missing Maps, current and previous as well as planned projects, and the future and visions for Missing Maps.

The HOT Summit then followed as next highlight, the annual gathering of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) community, partners, supporters and organisations and all interested in OSM and the use of OSM data for humanitarian and disaster purposes. This year`s summit theme was “OpenStreetMap: Impact in Disaster and Development”, therefore a large focus of the presentations was on showing how mapping projects can have impact on the lives beyond the people mapping. The event provided the chance to learn about the various projects of HOT, the current and planned partnerships and challenges. Furthermore the Summit provided the possibility to meet the members of the international HOT community. Marcel Reinmuth of the GIScience Research Group/disastermappers heidelberg, gave an overview about the current work around MapSwipe. He presented results on data quality and new developments on the app backend and MapSwipe Analytics.

Melanie Eckle (disastermappers heidelberg/HeiGIT/GIScience Research Group) presented the preliminary results of the current collaborative project around Crowdsourcing post-earthquake building damage assessment with Stanford Urban Resilience Initiative, University of Colorado (Boulder), HOT, GFDRR on behalf of the Stanford team.

Videos of the presentations will be available online in a couple of weeks.

Melanie, Secretary of the HOT Board of Directors, furthermore took part in the in-person board meeting that was organized the weekend following the HOT Summit. The meeting provided the chance to discuss current projects, challenges and ideas all around the organization and community as well as the vision for HOTs future.

Thank you for great discussions, talks, insights and valuable impulses. We are very proud to be part of this great community and looking forward to hopefully meeting soon again to take these discussions further!

MapSwipe Live – View the latest contributions

Many people asked us, whether it would be possible to see their own contributions to MapSwipe on the map. Therefore, in the last few days we worked on a small project to extend our MapSwipe Analytics page.

The new “Live View” shows the latest contributions from the MapSwipe volunteers and functions similar to the show-me-the-way tool, which shows the latest edits in the OpenStreetMap database. The new tool can be used during mapathon to foster the motivation of the volunteers, but also to discuss the individual results. Or just let it run and have a look at the great efforts of the MapSwipe volunteers.


This work is generously supported through core funding from the Klaus Tschira Foundation Heidelberg for establishing HeiGIT.

Missing Maps Data Collection and Validation Mapathon to help eliminate Malaria

Malaria is a major threat to people all around the world, particularly those most vulnerable: children and elderly. Our previous events Semester Start Missing Maps mapathon for World Malaria Day 2017 and Missing Maps Mapathon at Makerspace (DAI) aimed to support projects to identify potential malaria affected areas and enable better Malaria prevention in collaboration with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and Missing Maps.

How? Means to combat Malaria are provided by creating openly available map data. We do our part by providing and assessing basic map data to support the current Malaria initiatives and our common goal, to support those in need.

Therefore, disastermappers heidelberg and HeiGIT/GIScience Research Group invite you to a Missing Maps Mapathon! In contrast to previous events, this time you will not only learn about OSM and how to contribute, but also get familiar with OSM data validation.

Why?  The value of OSM data increases when it is reviewed and lessons learned are ultimately applied. Accurate maps can then help to decrease uncertainties and enable confident use of the data by the field teams that need data to fight the spread of malaria.

When?     Wednesday 05.07.2017, 6 pm

Where?     Großer Hörsaal, Geographisches Institut, Berliner Straße 48

We will provide an introduction to OpenStreetMap mapping. Additionally, an introduction into validation of OpenStreetMap data in the Tasking Manager is offered via Skype by one of the main validators of HOT/ Missing Maps London.

Therefore, no previous knowledge is necessary. Just bring your own laptop and mouse if available.

Snacks and drinks will for sure be provided! And guess what: to round up the  Mapathon we will moreover fire up the BBQ for you! Therefore make sure to bring your ribs or veggies along 🙂


Mapathon – Help to analyze Open Street Map land use quality

Knowledge of land use dynamics is essential for a permanent human existence on earth, for instance due to changing climate. Various commercial and scientific products depicting our habitat exist, involving heavy production cost, questionable accuracies and inadequate update cycles. To this end, osmlanduse.org utilized Open Street Map (OSM) to generate planetary available land use data.

However a map is not completed until its accuracy was assessed. Here, our colleagues from the GIScience Research Group happily invite you to a validation Mapathon of OSM land use data to elevate its use for greater purpose. Activity involves inspection of remote sensing data and estimation of land use.

When: Thursday, 29.06.2017, 6 pm
Where: PC-labs, Berliner Straße 48, Heidelberg

Bring along:

  • yourself
  • computers are provided, usage of own laptop is encouraged
  • snacks and drinks are provided

contact: Michael.Schultz@uni-heidelberg.de

New Disaster OpenRouteService release

Recently our HeiGIT team @ GIScience (Heidelberg University) developed a new disaster version of OpenRouteService (ORS) to support humanitarian logistics and to enable making use of OSM data for disaster routing purposes in a more sustainable way.

Since 2008, the OpenRouteService had been applied for specific disaster cases for Haiti in 2008 and 2010, Nepal in 2015 and Ecuador in 2016.

In order to provide this tool in a permanent manner and with most recent data, the routing and disaster mapping team at HeiGIT jointly developed this new dedicated disaster ORS: https://disaster.openrouteservice.org

Besides the ability to navigate on daily updated OSM data, our service provides an accessibility analysis service, an interactive avoid area tool, and allows the export of GPS tracks. In addition to the usage via the web application the API endpoint can also be integrated in dedicated applications (e.g. QGIS Plugins) etc.

Check here for more information and please feel free to contact Luisa Griesbaum (griesbaum@uni-heidelberg.de) for further information and feedback.


“How to handle OpenStreetMap data” workshop

OpenStreetMap has become a huge source for any kind of geographic information. In OpenStreetMap you now find not only street information, but also information related to buildings, shops, sights and in Heidelberg even to individual trees.

Furthermore, OpenStreetMap data is open data – everyone is free to edit and to download the data to create own maps and analysis. In our workshop we want to explore this potential together with you.

When: Thursday, 18.05.2017, 6 pm
Where: PC-labs + Seminarraum, Berliner Straße 48, Heidelberg

Depending on you pre-knowledge, we plan to have different groups. Please sign up using this link until wednesday (17.05.):


  • no/ little knowledge about OpenStreetMap and GIS
  • download and visualize OSM data in ArcGIS or QGIS
  • easy queries and styling


  • some knowledge and experience with OSM data
  • select and export only specific OSM objects
  • queries related to different timestamps, users and other parameters


  • already good experience with OSM data and keen to analyse “big data”
  • store OSM data in a database
  • advanced queries for large regions containing many objects


See you soon,
your disastermappers

PS: We booked the PC-labs, however it may be worth to bring the own laptop.

GIScience/ disastermappers support for German Red Cross

Following the example of the British, American and Netherland Red Cross, who are as the GIScience Research Group Heidelberg / disastermappers all members of Missing Maps and have been collaborating with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and our research group for a couple of years, the German Red Cross (GRC) organized their first Mapathon in Berlin beginning of April. Melanie Eckle (HeiGIT/ HOT Board/ disastermappers) was invited to support the event that was held in scope of the Volunteer`s Day of DHL to introduce and provide an overview of disastermapping.


Due to the success of this event and in order to expand this initial experience and approach, Melanie Eckle and Luisa Griesbaum (HeiGIT/ disastermappers) are invited to Berlin again for the World Red Cross Day 2017 coming Monday. GRC members will have the chance to participate in the first internal GRC Mapathon and to learn more about the potential and the impact of mapping, HOT and Missing Maps, as well the work of our research group.

Semester Start mapathon coverage in SWR aktuell

A big thank you to all the mappers that supported the fight against Malaria in our Semester Start Mapathon yesterday!

In three hours, buildings in an area of around 400 km² were mapped that can now be covered in the Clinton Health Access Initiave Malaria program.

Moreover, a TV team of SWR was visiting the event to learn more about disastermapping and the work of disastermappers heidelberg/ GIScience Research Group.

Therefore, all of you that were not able to participate still have the chance to get an overview of our work and yesterdays event in the TV broadcast about the mapathon here: SWR Mediathek (minute 14:40)

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