In the first quarter of 2009 of Open Street Map has launched the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team initiative with the aim of applying the principles and activities of open source and open data sharing towards humanitarian response and economic development. http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team
OSM had a slot at this year’s UNGIWG (United Nations Geographic Information Working Group) meeting.
As the representative of OSM were not able to make it to Bonn; Sandra team member of OSM and staff of CartONG went instead. Initially the idea had been to conduct a mapping party. Unfortunately due to logistical reasons this was not possible and the slot was turned into half an hour Powerpoint presentation instead. Even though the presentation was held in the second part of the lunch break, the attendance and moreover the interest on the new OSM activities were high.
Several participants wanted more information and plan to contact OSM for further discussions on potential collaborations.
Apart from a few commercial companies introducing their new products (satellite images and soft; satellite phones and accessories); some UN agencies presented their new achievements as well: FAO and UNEP are the most progressive in making their data accessible through dedicated web services and GeoRSS feeds. UNHCR’s GeoPortal has evolved and is neatly integrating other UN data sources; it has gone live just a week before the event. Ithaca gave an update on the WFP SDI; they are, among other activities, working on a Web application for Geo-data sharing. The United Nations Cartographic Section has a lot of data and resources but due to the nature of the data is not in a position to share. The new initiative GIVAS (Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System) http://www.unglobalpulse.org/ supported by the Secretary General will look at complex crisis situations and seek solutions on how to integrate data from various sources and systems. So far detailed research on different monitoring systems has been undertaken. UNGIWG will work closely with the GIVAS team: hopefully this initiative will gain momentum, increase general interest on geospatial matters and UNSDI as well as incite support from all UN family members.