Just a few hours after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010 the OpenStreetMap Community began tracing.... What did they begin tracing? Roads in the beginning all from imagery that was previously available from Yahoo. This initial tracing enhanced the base data that was already present. The initial data was from responses to 2008 cyclones Ike Hanna and Gustav that was imported in OSM in Jan 2009. This data served as a starting place for the mapping that would take place after the earthquake.
Within 48 hours high resolution imagery taken post-earthquake became available. Within the first month over 600 people added information to OpenStreetMap in Haiti. It became the default basemap for responding organizations such as Search and Rescue teams, Humanitarian mapping NGOs like MapAction and iMMAP, the United Nations and the World Bank.
In March of that year HOT began to lead its first field mission to Haiti to help responding organizations, Government of Haiti (GoH) entities and Civil Society groups to use OpenStreetMap. There were two components to this, using that data and contributing directly to the OpenStreetMap project by adding the data themselves. Eventually this fostered the emergence of the Community OpenStreetMap Haiti (COSMHA) a Hatiain OpenStreetMap organization which seeks to continue the development of the OpenStreetMap community in Haiti. HOT and COSMHA together have worked with the International Organization for Migration and its partners in the UN System as well as the Government of Haiti to further development of the OSM data. This program includes baseline (transportation, education, health, water and sanitation facilities), humanitarian (hurricane disaster shelters and cholera-response structures) and community mapping as well as capacity building programs.
In the time since March 2010 that HOT has been working in Haiti there have been six field missions and three months of continuous support. Additionally hundreds have been trained in OSM through workshops and data collection programs. As a result of these actions OpenStreetMap has been put in the forefront in Haiti. The OpenStreetMap data had been improved upon and strong capacities built in the UN system, part of the Haitian government and in the Civil Society. In the future further improvement to the data will occur as well as updates to it as needed.
HOT has continued to be active in Haiti through 2011, though primarily in a support role to COSMHA. This support is additionally provided with GrassRoots United another partner working in Haiti. Activities consist of further advanced training, help in project design, as well as organizational and technical assistance in current projects. The eventual goal is for COSMHA to be self-sustaining and not need the assistance of HOT.