March 25th : facing the request from the field and the important data gap on the first cities hit by the virus, CartONG activates the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to digitize the basic most important information (roads, buildings). Satellite imagery is ordered to Astrium in the afternoon, in the meantime tracing begins with the existing Bing tiles.
March 26th: satellite pictures are delivered and uploaded thanks to the efforts and support of OpenStreetMap-France contributors (who host them pro bono). OSM contributors work all day on the three areas defined as prioritaries by MSF Guéckédou, Kissidougou and Macenta. They are remarkably efficient: nearly 110,000 editions by 180 contributors on the 27th only! Including several CartONG volunteers, who organize a chatroom to coordinate that day.
March 27th: 2 of the 3 cities are already 100% mapped! The data collected allow the GIS officer on the field to complete, print and share with the aid teams the complete map of Guéckédou on Thursday evening. While the GIS officer continues improving the OSM data from the field, CartONG produces several big paper maps, that are sent on the field over the next days.
Since March 28th: tracing continues on OSM, with the aim to continue to fit the best to the needs of the field. CartONG manages the coordination between the GIS officer on the field and the HOT volunteers.
This mission was particularly interesting since it was the first time we could coordinate the CartONG headquarter team (providing remote technical support and a permanent link with MSF), the GIS officer on the field (who transmits needs and information from the rescue teams), and the global community of OSM contributors activated thanks to the outstanding work done by the HOT coordinators (Andrew Buck and Pierre Béland). Results produced are amazing and a substantial asset for the teams on the field (cf. the various maps shared on ReliefWeb). All in all, 302 contributors have added 1.2 millions objects, 114,000 buildings and 5000 places in 10 days! The contributors are motivated by the fact their contributions are directly useful for the humanitarian response, and these contributions are also a source of motivation for the teams on the field.
"The mapping effort in Guinea to support Médecins Sans Frontières have been amazing so far. We have already mapped two of the three major cities of the region in less than 12 hours since we received the imagery. It is an awesome rate of progression, even for HOT. I don't remember us mapping a city in less than 12 hours for any HOT activation, and we've done 2 today..." F.B.Bagnoumana, volontaire HOT.
This first experience of collaboration CartONG/HOT/OSM/MSF is very promising. Lessons learnt will allow us to identify good collaboration standards and to create efficient workflows. Humanitarian GIS is a very innovative field, and these multiple experiences are encouraging our collective creativity and commitment.