Get Involved


There are many ways to get involved with HOT. A first easy step is to join our mailing list:

HOT benefits from contributors with a wide range of interests and experience. Almost anyone can make a tremendous contribution to our projects by contributing mapping, but we're also very pleased to hear from developers, documenters and ideas hackers that can engage with us and our work.

We often post advertisements for specific project related positions; these can be found to the right of this page.

For Mappers:

If you’ve never used OpenStreetMap before then the easiest way to start is by mapping your own community. Start by signing up for an account at OpenStreetMap and then zooming to the area around your house. You will probably see information that is missing, just start adding! Our website will get you mapping quickly and painlessly. Maybe there is a local OpenStreetMap meet-up around. Going to those events is a great way to learn more about the OpenStreetMap project in general.

If you already know how to add data to OpenStreetMap then just start helping when there is a remote response. There are usually tasks involving tracing satellite imagery, looking over data and updating the wiki. This is coordinated through the OpenStreetMap Wiki and the HOT mailing list, as well as local lists depending on if the affected area has an existing OpenStreetMap community.

Another way we coordinate humanitarian mapping activities is our Tasking Manager at . The Tasking Manager divides geographic regions into small squares, to present you with a nice manageable area to work on, and instructions on what to map. This is a great way to get started if you aren't sure what needs to be done. You can read more about using this tool on the Task Manager wiki page

A frequently asked question is how to get involved in work actually traveling to places to help with OpenStreetMap. Traveling to work in an area post disaster isn’t for everyone, the conditions can be tough. Also depending on the project HOT is currently working on different sets of skills that may be required. The best way to get involved is by first being involved remotely. If you aren’t already involved in some capacity with OpenStreetMap it is unlikely you’ll be joining us to do fieldwork, unless you have a specialized skill required for a project. Additionally sometimes HOT has internship programs where you can go study with a team working in the field for a week or two and learn our techniques. Eventually we hope to have training camps to make it possible for more people to learn.

For Developers:

HOT uses a number of bespoke software tools, all released openly, and invites contributions on both existing software and new requirements. Bug reports, feature requests and documentation review are all welcome. In addition the rich OpenStreetMap eco-system, our core software projects are listed below:

Joining the organization:

HOT volunteers who want to have a long term involvement in the organization can become members. Membership of HOT entitles you to become part of the our leadership; members can become members of the Board of Directors, can vote on the Board election and can nominate new members. Importantly, members are expected to be those individuals that will work to develop HOT and are committed to our growth and future success. Membership is legally defined under our articles of incorporation and is regarded as an extremely valuable position to hold; our membership elect the Board who in turn appoint our Executive Director.

The membership entry process is opened once or twice a year and sees active contributors to HOT nominated by existing members; if approved by the membership, new members are mentored in their position by their nominator. Membership is suggested for volunteers who have a proven track record of contributing to the organization, either through mapping, participation in Working Groups, software development or anything else beneficial to our projects or activations. Volunteers are invited to contact existing members, though the mailing list or other means, to ask for nomination to the post; long standing and visible volunteers who are able to demonstrate a desire to develop the organization will likely have no trouble finding themselves nominated to the membership position.