How OpenStreetMap has changed people’s life and my own (Part 2-End)

On Part 1 that I wrote about four months ago, I explained a bit about my works. Part 2 will highlight what happen in 2014 until now.

Building a resilience through community mapping (2014)

2014 was one of the best years in my life. The community in Indonesia starts talking about Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) efforts to build a resilience through community mapping. Apparently, international media also starts recognising HOT’s work in Indonesia such as Wired and MIT Technology Review.

Early 2014, I went to the Philippines couple times to visit the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community and help OSM-Ph to form an OSM, QGIS, and InaSAFE curriculum. The project was funded by the World Bank. Unfortunately, on my second visit – I did not feel fit as I got sick. Thankfully, my colleague helped me through (thanks, Manning!).

Mid 2014, I went to Malawi for six weeks to deliver a community mapping project for reducing flood risks. The project was also funded by the World Bank. My work experience was wonderful – though I had to deal with the Malawi’s heat and mosquitos :(. Stories can be found here or watch the video here (if you don’t mind with my awful narrative).

Short version:

Long and detailed version:

Leaving HOT and OSM behind (2015 – now)

After receiving a New Zealand Scholarship to fund my postgraduate studies at the University of Canterbury, I have to leave everything behind. Until now, this is my first period where I fully committed to my study. It’s a bit funny, because when I finished my bachelor’s degree I told myself that:

“I had enough time studying full-time. Period”.


I feel like I’m missing out on almost everything with OpenStreetMap and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) community. My contribution on OSM has been decreasing since then. It’s not just because of my study business, but it’s also something else. Dealing with grief when studying overseas is not an easy task.

Early 2016, I started proposing my research idea. I have a lot of different ideas but finding the right supervisors were a bit difficult. The main reason was – it seems no one interested in my topic. Luckily, I sorted out the problem. So my research, in particular, looks at the potential for volunteer or crowdsourcing geographic mapping during natural disasters. There are two main objectives of my research:

  1. Extending the application of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) into each stage of disaster management cycle rather than just into response stage; and
  2. Identifying an appropriate framework to improve VGI’s use for disaster management.

Updates including proposal, abstract, presentation and project reports can be found on my ResearchGate profile.

I put so many efforts to finish my research because I want to contribute something useful and relevant based on my previous working experiences. So, I want to have feedbacks not just from my supervisors, but also from the community or other experts outside the university. However, it is not easy to get such feedback. I’ve dealt with many rejections when I sent my abstract to different conferences. Then, I asked myself:

“Is it because the way I wrote my abstract or people are not interested in what I’m currently doing?”

I was a bit disappointed and stressed out because I had a thought:

“What I’m doing here? Why I’m doing this research if people are not interested anyway?”

Fortunately, I got a chance to present my abstract at the GeoCart 2016.

In summary

There’s a lot going on when I got involved with OSM and HOT. It’s not just changed people’s life but it also changed my own. Without the involvement that I’ve mentioned before, I wouldn’t have a chance to pursue my masters. 2016 is almost over. I only have 3 months to finish what I have started. I’m still not sure what would happen next, but if people asked me to get back involved with HOT and OSM, I wouldn’t think twice.

Who knows there are more great things out there.