Groundsure uses mapping expertise to aid humanitarian projects

DateJun 8, 2016

Updated 9th June 2017

It’s been a while since we gave you an update on our Hotmapping activity – but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy here at Groundsure… we try and have a Hotmapping session at least every month if not more often. Here are some recent highlights...


8th June 2017
The project we worked on was in Zimbabwe and the requesting organisation is the Clinton Health Access Initiative. The project area is huge and we didn’t have too much time to get through the whole site but between us we managed to finish over 20 grids, every little helps.


6th April 2017
The team worked on a refugee camp in Uganda Uganda is now home to one of the largest refugee camps on earth and although estimates vary, current figures state that at least 800,000 people from South Sudan have fled into Uganda. The team worked on Project 2770, which was again requested by Médecins Sans Frontières to digitise temporary tent structures, huts and roads within the Palorinya-camp area. The Open street map data was then used to get a better understanding of numbers on the ground and will aid in response planning.


1st March 2017
We decided that it was time to get more people involved and we had quite a large turnout for introduction to hot mapping session. It was meant to bring new people into the group and show everyone how accessible and easy it is to do. We also provided pizza…
On this occasion we did a project in South Sudan, which is the newest country in the world. It has had a lot of humanitarian issues of late both from conflict and from environmental issues. Our task was to map buildings and areas of residential housing for the Missing Maps project. The project was created by Médecins Sans Frontières, who will use the data to know where care and medical treatment is most vitally needed. Having information on demographics and populations is very useful for aid/medical agencies so that they can target specific areas that need their help.


9th Feb 2017
The team worked on a project in Ngao, Kenya. This was a Missing Maps project largely aimed at improving the local water resources for villagers. Droughts and over water use have affected the quality of the drinking water in the area. The mapping will help with local projects to improve water quality as well as the construction of water pipelines and cattle troughs.

Hotmapping overview:
Each year disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace up to 200 million. Many of the poorest and most vulnerable places in the world do not exist on any map, making it almost impossible for first responders to have the vital information needed to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. At Groundsure we are using our digital mapping expertise to support the Humanitarian Open Street Map Team (HOT) by mapping out roads and pathways in remote areas in times of humanitarian crisis. When major disaster strikes anywhere in the world, HOT rallies a huge network of volunteers to create, online, the maps that enable medical teams and emergency crews to reach those in need. To date over 3,500 Missing Maps volunteers have collectively made 12 million edits to OpenStreetMap and put 7.5 million people on the map!. OpenStreetMap data is freely accessible to NGOs and charities and is used to help them access remote villages, estimate population numbers and ensure the right help is being delivered to the right areas.


Here is an example of how detailed OpenStreetMap can be in comparison to other mapping… The Jungle, Calais:



When Hurricane Matthew swept across the Caribbean, Haiti was hit particular badly, an area still recovering from the 2010 earthquake. Hundreds of people died, the south-west of the island was cut off, phone coverage and electricity were down and people were running out of water. Many of the houses in Haiti are made from corrugated iron and plastic, making them particularly susceptible in natural disasters, and Hurricane Matthew damaged 80% of all structures.

As a result, an urgent appeal was made by HOT and Groundsure have been hard at work helping the people of Haiti, as well as working on other projects:




In total our HOT team have worked on around 15 projects across the globe including Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. Mapping produced by HOT is not only used in times of natural disaster but to help improve the lives of many of the world’s poorest people. We recently completed a project in Chad where residential streets and buildings needed to be mapped in order to calculate average populations in remote regions. This will contribute to helping those in need, suffering from disease, famine, and malnutrition.

Anyone can get involved with HOT.