1110 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005 USA
11 October 2018
To: Allana Nelson, Digital Impact Alliance
Re: HOT Endorsement of the Principles for Digital Development
Since the founding of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) in 2010, our organization and global community have applied open data and open source to global development challenges across multiple sectors. Our mission includes the following statement: “to promote, support and advocate the creation, maintenance, use, distribution and availability of free, geographically-referenced data and geospatial information (“geodata”): a) to facilitate and provide humanitarian aid in the United States and throughout the world; and b) to permit faster and more efficient means to relieve poverty and foster economic development…”
Our mission is centered around free and open data and principles. HOT both a) supports governments, NGOs, international organizations, communities, and individuals generating open map data in the places they live and b) develops innovative free and open source tools to facilitate this process. Over the past nine years, we have supported and advocated for many of the concepts that become enshrined in the Principles for Digital Development in 2014-15. While we endeavor to promote all nine Principles, three have special relevance for our organization:
Be Collaborative: HOT is both an NGO and a global network. Our work developing software tools and open geospatial datasets would not be possible without involvement and collaboration within our community. This includes individual volunteers, private sector companies, and our government and NGO partners across geographies, focus areas and organizations. Our open source ethos requires us to be collaborative: when we bring together partners to contribute code and pool resources, we deliver better products that meet the needs of not only HOT but also communities and other organizations.
Design with the User: HOT’s tools are designed together with our community of mapping volunteers. This starts with community code/development challenges and continues with development happening in the open with community feedback and testing throughout the process. We interpret and operationalize this Principle through rapid prototyping and iterating with our users.
Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation: This has been core to HOT’s culture and thinking from Day 1. This is not only about avoidance of duplication: with open source/data, we are standing on one another's shoulders and all achieve vastly greater things. All of HOT’s mapping and data collection projects focus on generating or contributing to free and open data sets in OpenStreetMap. All software development undertaken by HOT and our partners is released under open source licenses. Importantly, the process of development is undertaken in a open way: code in the open, contributors from multiple organizations, community review and feedback. Software development and HOT’s community in general operates with a spirit of transparency, participation, and collaboration.
Our Contribution to Advancing the Principles
A core component of HOT’s strategy over the coming years is supporting people living in the world’s most at-risk areas to participate in the global OpenStreetMap project. Through this process, HOT trains governments, NGOs, and community partners in open source geospatial technology and open data. We work to embed open source and open data ethos in institutions where this has previously proved challenging or hasn’t yet been attempted. As an endorser of the Principles for Digital Development, we will seek to embody the concepts of the Digital Principles, represented in our work culture and in the policies and processes guiding our international development activities. Specifically, HOT aspires to advance adoption of the Principles not only in our own organization and community but also among our partner organizations.
HOT Point of Contact: