From Crowdsourced Mapping to Community Mapping: The Post-Earthquake Work of OpenStreetMap Haiti
The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 catalyzed a nascent set of efforts in then-emergent “volunteer technology communities.” Among these was the response from OpenStreetMap, a volunteer-driven project that makes geospatial data free and openly available. Following the earthquake, remotely located volunteers rapidly mapped the affected areas to support the aid effort in a remarkable display of crowdsourced work. However, some within that effort believed that the impact and import of open and collaborative mapping techniques could provide much richer value to humanitarian aid work and the long-term development needs of the country. They launched an ambitious project that trialed methods for how to create sustainable and locally-owned communitymapping ecosystems in at-risk regions of the world. This paper describes how an organization that emerged out of the response—the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team—formalized their practices in relation to many different stakeholder needs with the aim for setting a model for how the potential of participatory, community mapping could be realized in Haiti and beyond.