Collaborating with University Students, HOT Hosts a Mapathon at the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember in Surabaya

Incomplete, outdated and unsystematically organized infrastructure data is one of the most challenging bottlenecks to disaster management as well as to urban city planning in general. In order to systematize this data, The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is collaborating on a USAID, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) funded program together with the University of Hawaii: Pacific Disaster Centre (PDC) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): PetaBenana, to support the Government of Indonesia: Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB). The program focuses on the development of InAWARE, a disaster management tool, to improve overall risk assessment, early-warning, and disaster-management decision making in Indonesia with support of the Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Daerah (BPBD) DKI Jakarta and Jawa Timur.

To speed up the process of adding infrastructure data, mapathon is often picked up as one of the fastest and most efficient ways to complement building footprints, road networks and waterways. Mapathon, or a mapping party, is an activity where mappers sit together and digitize aerial imagery—interpreting, tracing and adding information remotely—into data that can be interpreted by Geographic Information Systems and disaster management softwares.

HOT collaborated with the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), HOT’s local university partner in Surabaya, to organize a mapathon for three days from 4 to 6 November 2016. To ensure the accuracy of data collected from the mapathon, the Quality Assurance team will follow a validation methodology that includes  a field survey.

A mapathon is usually complemented with training on how to map in OpenStreetMap using intermediary mapping techniques. In the ITS Mapathon, students were also taught how to export and make use of the data from OpenStreetMap, not only for humanitarian purposes but also for economic development, innovation, education and personal projects, among others. Integrated infrastructure data enables more research and data-driven scientific development for city and regional management. This motivates the students we work with, coming from the Urban and Regional Planning background, to carry out the mapping task as part of their professional development. During the intensive two-day mapathon, over 121,498 nodes and 26,893 buildings are added to  OpenStreetMap. The winner of the mapathon, Lukman Yusuf, mapped an impressive record of 3,518 buildings and roads.

The mapathons are not only open to ITS students, HOT also encourages participation from the citizens of Surabaya to help add information on the public facilities situated in their local area. To reach out to the public, HOT also collaborated with a local radio station, Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) Pro 2 Surabaya,  in an effort to effectively engage the  public at large. HOT introduces and invites listeners to participate in mapping using tasking manager:

Demands on digital mapping skills are increasingly growing as city management, both urban and rural, continue to migrate from paper to digital. To acquire such skills is relatively easy. An aspiring mapper only requires internet connection and basic computer savviness to contribute and practice their mapping skills. HOT Indonesia made it a mission to educate and transfer mapping skills by collaborating with aspiring youth and university students. A structured university curriculum has also been developed from HOT Indonesia’s previous project for students to follow up during the incoming semester, taking some of the DIY materials published on More step-by-step learning materials can also be retrieved from and