Join Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to help map El Niño 2023
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), an Audacious Project supported by Virgin Unite, specialises in humanitarian action and community development through open mapping. This covers a range of things – from supporting disaster relief efforts, to helping to inform action to combat the effects of climate change. HOT was selected as an Audacious Project in 2020 due to its bold vision to engage one million volunteers to map remote parts of the world that are home to a billion people.
Currently, the Open Mapping Hub – Eastern and Southern Africa (OMHESA), which is part of HOT, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a UN body working towards saving lives of people across the world through striving towards a sustainable and food-secure world for all, are working on a mapping campaign that will create datasets in OpenStreetMap that will be used to inform early action for the El Niño, which is expected this year.
El Niño is a naturally occurring climate pattern associated with warming of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. It occurs every two to seven years, and the episodes usually last between nine and 12 months. The effects of El Niño can be catastrophic for flood-prone areas, and the local people who live there. Excessive rains can cause flooding, landslides, and large-scale destruction of infrastructure, people’s homes, and livelihoods.
The latest updates from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed that El Niño conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific for the first time in seven years, meaning that there is likely to be a surge in global temperatures and disruptive weather and climate patterns. Forecasts currently say that there is a 90% probability of the El Niño event continuing during the second half of 2023.
Early warnings and anticipatory action of extreme weather events associated with this climate phenomenon are vital to save lives and livelihoods. OMHESA’s campaign will map parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia to create datasets that will support early warning flood systems to protect lives, food sources and property during the heavy winds and rain caused by El Niño. HOT is inviting mappers from across eastern Africa and around the world to take part in this campaign and support #EarlyWarningForAll through mapping. If you’re interested in getting involved, all you need to do is:
Register with OMHESA so the team can stay in touch with updates
Go to the Tasking Manager on the HOT website
If you’re new to mapping and want to learn, or you’re looking to advance your skills, OMHESA is running weekly virtual Mapathons. The campaign will run until 15 October 2023, so there’s plenty of time to sign up to take part. Visit HOT to find out more.