After the recent earthquake in Haiti, OpenStreetMap contributors around the world started to do what they could to improve mapping there, tracing over satellite imagery made available by GeoEye and others. These efforts are supported by the Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT), a new initiative to apply the principles and activities of open source and open data sharing towards humanitarian response and economic development.

Geofabrik, a worldwide contributer to Internet Mapping and OpenStreetMap, takes part in this effort by providing a special download server that has OSM data extracts, shape files, and Garmin maps created from OSM data, all updated every five minutes in order to put mappers‘ work to maximum use.

Geofabrik also offers very large PNG files rendered every hour, and a collection of PNG map snapshots that document how mapping has progressed:
HAITI before
HAITI after mapping progress
“Sin duda OSM sera una gran ayuda para nuestros grupos de respuesta – OSM undoubtedly be a great help to our response teams, especially those going to move to rural areas.”,
confirm Colombian search and rescue operators.

You can read more about the work and results of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team for Haiti.

About fjbehr

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Behr, Professor of Geoinformatics at Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences ( His specializations include * Internet, Internet GIS * XML, GML, SVG * Data exchange and Interoperability * Visualization * Open Source Solutions * Consulting Member of the DIN working group NA 005-03-03 AA "Arbeitsausschuss Kartographie und Geoinformation" (Sp CEN/TC 287+ISO/TC 211). He is the author of two authoritative books on GIS in German, one is "Strategisches GIS-Management", published by Wichmann Verlag (2004). The second is "Einführung in Geographische Informationssysteme" (1997).

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