Hi all,

Experienced mappers and validators - I feel your pain. Along with others 
including Séverin, Mikel, Romain and Phil (as cited below) I agree with your 
comments and concerns. 

I've been checking in with the TM here and there, trying to help out with the 
recent crisis and noticed a lot of keen but but very green mappers doing their 
best but frankly are just not up to speed. This can cause a lot of (needless) 
work for others. 

As others have noted I think we need to re-evaluate training/participation in 
this context. 

I've made a suggestion to the Training Working Group that we set up a mandatory 
2 (or so) hour training/testing session for new mappers in a crisis scenario. I 
believe that if someone has the time to sign up and participate in a mapathon, 
where some of these problems are generated then I also believe they should be 
able to commit to some advance preparation. Of course we would not turn away 
any volunteers at a mapathon who were unable to compete the 2 hour course.

To that end I suggest setting up a formal course in a MOOC such as Udemy that 
currently offers a platform for elearning including video, text, message forums 
and quizzes, which could accommodate some of the levels Phil (cited below) has 

As Heather pointed out its time to move forward to a formal peer-to-peer 
learning model. These are key components in collaborative learning and this 
system can accommodate this type of learning. 

I've suggested this to the TrWG but not received any real concrete feedback.

I would be happy to take the lead and set up the curriculum using materials we 
already have (videos, documents from LearnOSM and wiki.openstreeetmap.org, for 

I think in the long run it would be a win-win as we'd have a ready made course 
for crisis scenarios/mapathon preparation and it would always be available as 
course in the MOOC listings to attract new mappers to OSM/HOT at any point in 

I would need assistance from the community to test the course before roll out.


Thanks for any feedback.

Best wishes,


Laura O'Grady, PhD

> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 17:34:15 +0000
> From: Severin Menard <severin.men...@gmail.com>
> To: "hot@openstreetmap.org" <hot@openstreetmap.org>
> Subject: [HOT] OSM humanitarian mapping and its learning curve
> Message-ID:
>    <CA+y5pB+YnMeCuAHowPfgP6zBuT4mO=sd8rta7ducs1qbsme...@mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> The edits on hotosm.org job #2228 <http://tasks.hotosm.org/project/2228>
> have started and now happens what I feared. There is no mention of what are
> the necessary skills and newbies are coming with a lot of enthusiasm but
> with almost no OSM experience. A quick analysis of the first 29
> contributors shows that 20 of them have created their OSM account less than
> one month ago. Some did it yesterday or today. Wow.
> The result of that : obviously, crappy edits are coming, spoiling what we
> have been doing over the last few days : now we have building as nodes
> where shapes are totally visible, un-squared bad shaped buildings and the
> main landuse area is self-cutting in various places (see there
> <https://leslibresgeographes.org/jirafeau/f.php?h=26gWjHki&p=1>).
> Nothing new under the sun : it was already the case for Haiti EarthQuake
> 2010. Quite a pity that six years after, despite the OSM tools have
> improved a lot, it remains the same. It is though quite simple to fix the
> most part of it: do-not-invite-newcomers-to-map-over-complex-crisis-
> contexts.
> I guess some will argue that the OSM newcomers are people of good will and
> that they just want to help and that they my feel offended/discouraged. Of
> course their intentions are high and yes they may feel a bit hurt. But this
> is really a classic in humanitarian response: people with the best
> intentions in the world may not fit for it, just because they are not
> experienced yet.
> Mapping in OSM in crisis response is not an exciting one-shot hobby : it
> does have its learning curve and it is key to learn how to map correctly
> before being dropped over complex humanitarian contexts. This is why I
> mentioned three sets of necessary skills for the jobs I created these last
> days on http://taches.francophonelibre.org. And the beginner mappers who
> joined the job that fitted for beginners are people that already have a few
> months of OSM experience, not newcomers. Newcomers should be driven over
> non urgent fields.
> If someone is not interested to learn first in not a mass media covered
> crisis context : this is not a problem, it is actually a good way to see
> real motivations. I personally prefer to get one mapper that will become a
> huge, excellent contributor, 3-4 more occasional but still producing neat
> data, than to lose 10 that would create crappy objects and just leave
> forever afterwards anyway.
> I guess the resulting need of duplicating the number of necessary edits
> (crappy ones then corrections) to get a clean data is a rather a good way
> to grow the number of total contributors and the number of total edits
> created through the # of the HOT TM instance that seems to be so important
> for the board of HOT US Inc (two current directors have contacted me for
> this purpose) to make communication and raise funds from the figures. But
> what is at stake here is to provide good baseline data for humanitarian
> response, not distorted metrics.
> Séverin
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> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:22:09 +0000 (UTC)
> From: Mikel Maron <mikel.ma...@gmail.com>
> To: Severin Menard <severin.men...@gmail.com>,
>    "hot@openstreetmap.org" <hot@openstreetmap.org>
> Subject: Re: [HOT] OSM humanitarian mapping and its learning curve
> Message-ID: <716788930.485682.1476300129...@mail.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> I think the main point here is that skill level required on that task should 
> be higher, and that the task instructions should reflect that. I’ve alerted 
> the HOT activation leads for Haiti, and expect that will be looked at soon. 
> On a related note I think there may be tasks overlapping the same area posted 
> on http://taches.francophonelibre.org/. Having another tasking manager 
> instance organizing tasks over the same areas without coordination with the 
> HOT activation leads is most certainly going to cause confusion, and best to 
> be avoided.
> -Mikel * Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel 
> On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 3:35 PM, Romain Bousson <romainbous...@gmail.com> 
> wrote:
> Hello,
> I noticed the same issues recently. All along the week, as the media coverage 
> increased, the way that the projects and tasks were completing themselves 
> changed. From large tiles completed by several users turn by turn, we came to 
> big tiles directly divided into tiny tasks, being completed by only one user 
> in a few minutes. The peer review process, making the quality of the work, 
> was botched. 
> I personnaly found many tasks checked green as "validated" by newcomers, and 
> "completed" by newcomers.
> For example, here is an extract from a message I sent to Dale Kunce (admin of 
> many Haïti projects), where I was pointing to the fact that many newcomers 
> did not see the instructions tab and so did not use the new Digital Globe 
> imagery, and stayed using Bing (that was before today's post disaster 
> imagery). But I unfortunately received no answer. I am not here to complain 
> about that: I understand that there may be a lot of other things to do during 
> these days.
> I just saw 4 tiles on the #2223 - Hurricane Matthew: Grand Anse coast project 
> and all were wrong according to me (but maybe I am wrong and somebody have to 
> tell me):- task #53 was checked "complete" by @michaelcraven, but many 
> buildings were missing.- and the 3 main tasks of ANSE D'HAINAULT town : #232, 
> #233 and #13. All 3 were clearly not done using Digital Globe imagery so it 
> missed a lot of things.
> I think some more warnings and advices written in the instructions tabs would 
> be very simple and quite effective.
> Cheers,
> Romain Bousson (mapping 
> ------------------------------
> Message: 8
> Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2016 13:44:17 +1100
> From: "Phil \(The Geek\) Wyatt" <p...@wyatt-family.com>
> To: "'Severin Menard'" <severin.men...@gmail.com>,
>    <hot@openstreetmap.org>
> Subject: Re: [HOT] OSM humanitarian mapping and its learning curve
> Message-ID: <00c701d224fb$b4280ac0$1c782040$@wyatt-family.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Hi Folks,
> I am a retired long time map user, occasional mapper (in QGIS, Mapinfo) and 
> supporter of the OSM mapping project. It seems to me that the issue of poor 
> mapping, especially for HOT projects, is coming up on such a regular basis 
> that it's time to consider some mandatory training for users before they get 
> to map under the HOT task manager. I don't think this would be too difficult 
> for most volunteers and it could ensure that at least a certain level of 
> competency is attained before being exposed to complex tasks. If people know 
> that in the first place then they can make a choice as to whether they 
> commence or continue to map.
> I have no idea how this could be accomplished as I know little of the 
> linkages between OSM and the HOT Task Manager, but restricting HOT tasks to 
> those with some defined training could improve the results.
> Let's say as a minimum you train folks on roads and residential area polygons 
> - that might be level 1 (ID Editor)
> Level 2 could be after training for buildings, tracks, paths (ID or JOSM)
> Level 3 for validation (JOSM)
> In this way HOT tasks simply get assigned at each level and you know you have 
> the right people doing the tasks at hand. The task manager could also only 
> highlight jobs at their assigned level until they do the next level training.
> You might even consider, as part of validation, dropping people from a higher 
> level to a lower level if they continually fail to produce results at the 
> desired consistency.
> Just my thoughts as a casual mapper.
> Cheers - Phil
> <http://www.thingreenline.org.au/> Thin Green Line Supporter, Volunteer 
> Mapper (GISMO) -  <http://www.redcross.org.au/volunteering.aspx>
> ------------------------------
> Message: 13
> Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2016 08:57:14 +0200
> From: Heather Leson <heatherle...@gmail.com>
> To: Robert Banick <rban...@gmail.com>
> Cc: "HOT@OSM \(Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team\)"
>    <hot@openstreetmap.org>
> Subject: Re: [HOT] OSM humanitarian mapping and its learning curve
> Message-ID:
>    <CAHjf0TJR1pByMNfmtLHzS_8ytOWEbnbQn=b2lowblxvksqv...@mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Robert et al
> Thanks for this conversation.
> This is not just about technology. As we evolve there needs to be more
> mechanisms for learning, mentoring and on boarding. One way to do that is
> to pair new learners with more experienced or simply peers.
> HOT and OSM are growing communities.
> I welcome new people as I think this is how a healthy global community
> exists.
> Heather
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