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Crisis Mapping

Who: Crisis Mapping Project

When: December 2014 and June 2015

Where: Brisbane


Vast swathes of the planet’s land-masses aren’t mapped, mainly because the majority of mapping applications are powered by commercial sponsorships and advertising - which just aren’t present in most areas of the developing world. At the Brisbane Summer Hackathon in 2014 and Winter Hackathon in 2015, RHoKers contributed directly to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) Missing Maps Project. The main goal of this project is to map the most vulnerable places in the world, to enable international and local NGOs as well as individuals to use maps and data to better respond to crisis affecting the areas. 

In the Summer 2014 Hack, we focused on mapping remote communities in West Africa, until, in response to an urgent request from the Red Cross for assistance, we diverted our focus to mapping the coastal communities in the Philippines in anticipation of Typhoon Hagupit making landfall. Our Brisbane hackers contributed to the fact that less than 50 lives were lost in this Typhoon. At the Winter 2015 Hack, the  team went one further and worked on improving the open source software behind the mapping itself. Their efforts were approved and to be incorporated in the software in the U.S.  

Kolorob Bikkhon

Who: Kolorob Bikkhon

When: Summer 2015

Where: Western Sydney


In developing urban areas like the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, essential services like health, education, training, finance and employment can be difficult to find. They may not be registered, they may operate informally, or details about their locations, cost and operating hours may be inaccessible. Even though mobile and smartphone use is growing rapidly, location services like Google Maps or Open Street Maps provide only partial solutions. To address this, Save the Children is sponsoring an ambitious project called Kolorob in several slum areas. Through the project, communities are mapping different services, and the project is also developing an app to show where these services are and provide detailed information on them.

Our challenge was to tackle one specific part of this puzzle: how to navigate from A to B. We will be building upon existing routing services provided by OSM and try to handle some of the unpredictable routing challenges in informal settlements – no formal roads, frequent changes, walking only paths and narrow passageways that rickshaws can navigate, even if cars cannot. The team produced a working webpage which allows their partners in Dhaka to test multiple mapping algorithms against each other to see which work best for routing trips through the slums of Bangladesh. 

Maker Network

Who: Maker Network

When: Winter 2015 and Summer 2015

Where: Melbourne



Tracey Nguyen is a final year student at RMIT studying a Masters in Design Innovation and Technology. Her research into Melbourne's maker culture revealed a lack of connectivity between all types of makers, and spaces supporting makers around Melbourne and its neighbouring communities. So she approached RHoK to see if we could help develop a way of connecting maker spaces to each other and the wider community. 
During the Melbourne 2015 Winter Hackathon the team was able to leverage her original work on a maker map prototype and replaced the backend of an existing open source system for robustification of data source, providing a platform for growth. Options were added for resource sharing of materials and skills. The team came back for the Summer 2015 hackathon, where they made some further improvements, and future plans are in place for a clearer categorisation of resources, and the integration of other platforms for events and content. Sum