GeoNight 2021

For the 2021 edition of the GeoNight, CartONG co-organized 20 mapathons. A particularly successful online edition with over 400 participants from 11 different countries. Find out more in this short article!

On April 9th, the GeoNight – an international event created by the French National Geographical Committee in 2017 – was held to shed light on geography and the work of geographers. Find out more about this event by visiting this website.


Raising awareness about the use of OSM to support humanitarian and development projects

For the 2021 edition of the GeoNight, CartONG renewed its participation by proposing an initiation to remote mapping on OSM to support humanitarian and development projects via collaborative mapping workshops (or mapathon). An original and useful way to discover mapping on OSM while contributing, for an evening, to a solidarity project!


OpenStreetMap (OSM) enables anyone who needs it to create and share free geographic data. It is a free map of the world on which anyone can add, complete, update data as diverse as the road network, bike paths or thematic objects, but which also serve to map areas that are not yet mapped in the world. Indeed, some regions are still not, or only imperfectly, represented on maps. With OSM, it is possible to draw roads, buildings or even rivers on satellite images and thus make them accessible to everyone.

This information is particularly important for NGOs intervening in areas affected by humanitarian, climate or health crises; it is also important for institutions and local communities.


Consolidating a network of partners around the world in order to organize solidarity mapathons

After a year of projects conducted almost 100% online in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, this 2021 edition of the GeoNight was also, for CartONG, an opportunity to gather around a federative event both new and long-standing partners of the OSM ecosystem.

One of the main challenges of such a gathering was also for our team to strengthen the links between organizations despite the geographical distance, to share experiences and to help each other on mutual mapping projects.

Considering the situation, CartONG decided to organize as many mapathons as possible to bring together a maximum of stakeholders!


The challenge was taken up and successful!

For its third participation in the GeoNight, our association gathered no less than 20 organizations from 11 different countries, and organized 20 mapathons in the course of 3 days – 16 of which were held on April 9th alone!

Better than a world tour in 80 days, the contributors were able to discover the arid landscapes of Niger in Dankassari to facilitate sustainable development actions, or those of Sudan to map the camp of Kalma in the process of welcoming new refugees. They were also able to get into the heart of the Tajik mountains and spot small isolated villages vulnerable to natural disasters.

Some local contributors were able to walk the streets of Kathmandu in Nepal to reference tourist attractions, or fly over Ulaanbaatar, a city culminating at 1350 meters above sea level. Others were able to map more favorable landscapes such as the city of Menaka in the eastern confines of Mali, the coastal city of Tori-Bossito in Benin, a rural town in the plateaus of Togo and the town with high economic potential called Manandona which is located in the heart of the Malagasy lands. 

In total, the mapathons brought together more than 400 participants and enabled the mapping of 30,000 buildings and 1,700 km of roads, thereby supporting 14 projects on the field.

“First mapathon for me, great experience! Makes you want to do more.” – Participant in the mapathon co-organized with Geotheque

“We are extremely grateful to all the volunteers who spent their Friday helping us in this effort!” –  Kathmandu Living Lab


If you want to relive these convivial moments or discover them in a different perspective, there is nothing better than an online map and some pictures to end this very special Night:

See the map in full here!


Huge thanks to all our partners in the framework of the GeoNight 2021!