Throughout my career in the Humanitarian field for last 05 years, I learned a lot about humanitarian works from various organizations operating Globally and found myself deep in love with the movements. Besides working with MSF, I have always been trying to be a part of the Humanitarian movement. However, among all the teams in this field, one team stands aside: HOT. I always feel proud to introduce myself as a part of this global team.
My history with HOT is now getting long, and my dedication to HOT stronger than ever (not difficult, with HOT more amazing than ever). I appreciate Pete Masters & Ahasanul Hoque for introducing me with HOT and continuously backing up with all my works that increased the level of commitment to it. However, it varied recently with time off for some of my personal reasons, fair to say that I voluntarily dedicate more than 30% of working time to HOT.
I became involved with HOT as Pete Masters & Jorieke Vyncke visiting Dhaka to map Kamrangirchar & Hazaribagh area as a part of MissingMaps project. I became aware of the lack of maps of my country, which greatly hampers navigation and development. I found, to be involved with HOT is a dream come true for me what will serve the community for long time with a very minimum effort. I became aware of and was greatly helped and guided by many people at HOT and Missing Maps. Therefore, I started to disseminate this knowledge among people, started helping Ahasanul Hoque & others building a strong OSM community. I voluntarily facilitated more than 20 OSM training and coordinated mapping parities. During this period, I actively got involved with the local field mapping projects in various parts of Bangladesh as a part of the projects by Save the Children, Y Care, American Red Cross, Asia Foundation, World Bank & Asian Development Bank. Now, the global community can feel the vibes that OSM Bangladesh Community is creating. I believe with proper support & Guidance our Bangladeshi dynamic and enthusiastic OSM community have the capacity to catalyze the development and growth of OSM around the world.
As days goes by, I regularly started to attend Missing Maps events throughout the globe as a remote validator & mapper, got myself involved with the community-working group and contributed to the fundraising movements. Meanwhile, for me it was a great honor to be nominated for “Expanding the Community Award” for 2016 OSM awards. It was one the best recognition for me.
In 2017, I have drafted my resolution regarding HOT. One of those is to become more integrated part of it by being a voting member. Though I myself feeling and doing like an ambassador of OSM/HOT but the voting membership will give me the official identity what will make my stand bold in future venture regarding OSM movement and HOT activation among communities. Thanks to Pete Masters for pushing me, forward for the nomination. I believe that as voting members of HOT I will have the honor to be part in sustaining the amazing uniqueness as its nature of serving global affected communities wherever they are and whoever they are. During voting, I shall try my best to provide the logical and right judgement what is best for HOT and its sustainable growth in future.
HOT is an amazing initiative that seeks to put the worlds’ most vulnerable people on the map, and I want to support it in any way I can. I would like to be a voting member so that I can try and help promote HOT and ensure it is as inclusive as possible, particularly in less well represented areas such as Bangladesh. I see HOT’s greatest challenge as access to funding so that it can support mapping initiatives in areas such as rural Bangladesh and I plan to help with this by helping tell stories about the difference HOT makes.
What I have found is that local communities are seeking to get more organized to engage more officially with government agencies, universities and other institutions. They find they need financial administration beyond borrowing someone’s bank account. While some have seen the value of becoming an official HOT Local Chapter, there is still lack a clarity to some about the necessity and benefits. Nevertheless, they see a lot of value to learn from others working on similar issues — everything from legal and administrative issues of starting an organization, to sharing community engagement strategies that work, to amplifying the voices of their community in the global OSM conversation especially for non-English speakers. Regional connections are especially valuable, for working with mappers in similar languages, time zones, and to some extent culture.
I think there are straightforward things we could do here — like better communication about and between Local Chapters, develop some simple benefits like templates of core organizational documents, and more support for regional conferences. Just some ideas.
One of HOT’s biggest challenge is to sustain the local OSM communities and their interest to doing edit. Another big challenge is the fund for operating HOT activities; lack of OSM community or OSM knowledge in many countries are also a challenge. As a voting member, I will try my level best to ensure the sustainability and activity of our community first.
I have seen a phenomenal group of folks joining the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team over here. However, it needs more actions to make OpenStreetMap sustainable in Bangladesh. Hope is with the awesome works by Ahasanul Hoque & others more public & private universities are interested now to join with the initiative and we are now draining deep the knowledge to the community, the new OSM leaders are disseminating the knowledge among the community level disaster response team. The local Government leaders also got interested and taking the vibe to show their competitiveness horizontally and to central authority. We are also thinking for a big initiative to make this happen in more organized way. We are already using the OSM data as layer in Government Geospatial data sharing platform where any one can download the OSM data using Overpass turbo and upload as well as an independent layer with feature info.
Humanitarian partners are what make our mapping work relevant to disaster response and preparedness, and those relationships are a big part of what HOT manages. We’ve reached a profile and gravity where there are a lot of organizations involved in what we do beyond just using the data, and great potential for coordination. Tapping into this more and figure out what this looks like in my country perspective is something I want to pursue.
The thumb rule for data is, “Data have no meaning if there is no use”; so we need to create more use cases for the OSM data being produced with time in Bangladesh otherwise all the initiative will be in vein. We should not wait for disaster to use this data only; therefore, we need to use the OSM data in research and innovation. However, very few researches are ongoing but not significant.
Finally, want to step up more in helping our Board be productive, continue to serve in leadership of the Board, and facilitate our process and communication and meetings well. A big part of that will be collectively setting our strategy for the year, and increasing bidirectional communication with members and the community.