The Community & The Journey

It was back in 2011, OSM was introduced in Bangladesh. A working group was formed led by Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed from Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology (BUET) to kick-start the platform. After Mr Ishtiaque went to join Cornell University, Mr Hasan Shahid Ferdous led the team until 2013 when he too went abroad for his PhD degree. A small active group of volunteers was working to make it a success in Bangladesh, and the participation was growing slowly. Later in the year of 2013, The World Bank, Bangladesh (GFDRR, WSP), revived the initiative. The World Bank GIS and Data Management Consultant, Mr Ahasanul Hoque pioneered it. This was likely to mean a change in the pace of progress for the OSM Platform in Bangladesh. Some formal training sessions were introduced and the community did some good work by mapping the old part of Dhaka city.

However, it was from 2015 the community found the spark it was thriving for! In January 2015, the OSMBD community started to collaborate with the HOT & MissingMaps project of mapping Kamrangirchar & Hazaribagh, two of the densely populated urban slum areas of Dhaka city. That was the moment from when the community started making the vibe. More and more people were introduced to the platform. Formal training sessions at educational institutes, different development organizations, Government organizations along with informal mapping parties were organized. Since then, the community collaborated with the organizations like Asia Foundation, Stanford Geospatial Center, Save the Children in Bangladesh, American Red Cross, Y Care, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Dhaka WASA, FAO and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in their projects relating to the OSM Platform.

The formal academic involvement of OpenStreetMap in Bangladesh finally happened with the YouthMappers program funded by USAID. Dhaka University, Khulna University, Daffodil University, Asian University for Women in Bangladesh and Dhaka College are the primary institutes where the program is initiated. Right now in Bangladesh, a total of 20 educational institutes are part of this global network.

The community is now draining deep knowledge to the community; the new OSM leaders along with teams like BHOOT are disseminating the knowledge among the community level disaster response team. Since 2017 members from team BHOOT have established themselves not only as the major contributors within the country, but also some of the top contributors to the global humanitarian mapping initiatives like HOT & MissingMaps. The local Government leaders also got interested and took the vibe to show their competitiveness horizontally and to central authorities. Regular activities like informal mapping parties, mapathons and training are being organized on a regular basis. In late 2019 the community hosted the regional conference of OpenStreetMap & OpenMapping technology “State of the Map Asia” at Dhaka, where participants from 25 different countries along with some top names of the industry like Apple, Mapbox, Facebook, Drone Bird, Global Logic and more gathered sharing insights & thoughts on global initiatives & learnings.

To Learn More About the activities by OSMBD Community please visit our Facebook page.

About the project

Following the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020, there has been a significant drop in community activities. Though multiple virtual mapathon and training sessions were organized by different teams & groups from the community, the regular buzz was missing from the crowd. At the same time, the need for comprehensive map coverage was felt throughout the humanitarian sector, especially with the initiatives to mitigate COVID-19 impacts. Focusing resilience against the effects of such pandemic in the coming days, while mitigating the impacts of the recent past and as a part of preparedness against natural hazards like floods, river erosion & cyclones especially in the ever vulnerable coastal belt of the country the community has taken an initiative to restart mapping the gaps in the coastal & vulnerable region of Bangladesh. To kickstart one of the southern districts of Bangladesh, “Bhola” has been selected by the “Facilitating Committee” on behalf of the community. Open Mapping Hub Asia-Pacific (OMHAP) initiated by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is supporting the initiative under their community booster grant program. Bangladesh Open innovation Lab (BOIL) is also supporting the initiative with technical & logistic support.

Our Mission

The main goal of the project is to create a comprehensive base map for the “Bhola” the largest island in Bangladesh through remote-sensing using satellite imagery & the OpenStreetMap platform. This map can be later used by all especially the humanitarian & development agencies and the Government agencies to conduct proper assessments & plans for future disaster preparedness & response. The secondary goal is to create & train more mappers & contributors from the local community to enhance community resilience. At the same time, we are hopeful, initiatives like these will revive the OSM community and make a buzz.

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Facilitating Team

Paromita Basak

Atikur Rahman

Tahmida Shamsuddin

Md. Samsul Arafin

Shaila Shaimun Diba

K M Ibtehal

Mehedi Hasan

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