top of page

Featured Project

The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world and the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally.  PEPFAR is improving the availability of mapping data in areas affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in its program areas by leveraging resources and partnerships through YouthMappers.  Students contribute to this open data initiative by mapping population clusters and to help program coordinators understand where communities are located and connected, a key component in determining if HIV/AIDS services are in the right place.   Ultimately, the data that will emerge from this mapping initiative will support understanding of PEPFAR program coverage, optimization of supply chain logistics, and analyses of clinical site-level data.

Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya 



With support from GFDRR, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, George Washington University, and other partners, researchers have developed an innovative approach to flood risk management downstream of hydropower dams, in the contexts of financial and data scarcity. The aim of this mapping project is to build knowledge on locations downstream of hydropower dams where partners can help to strengthen emergency preparedness plans. The researchers plan to capture all hydropower dams in OpenStreetMap and to map residences and other relevant structures likely to be affected by peak floods downstream of dams.

YouthMappers are urged to take on this priority partner project as a current remote mapping focus either as individuals or as chapters. Locations served are also of humanitarian interest to the USAID GeoCenter and others in the open mapping community.


Local Capacity Building Projects



Community Resilience

Communities in the remote region of Karamoja are mapping their world in order to develop greater resilience to shocks affecting them. Students from a number of universities are uniting to develop open data on roads, buildings, and other features. YouthMappers chapters at Busitema University and Uganda Christian University - Mbale are among the participating mappers.  Partners also include USAID GeoCenter, AidData, Mapping Day, and HOT.


Peace and Development

In light of the historic peace process underway in Colombia, civil society, governments, and foreign assistance agencies are working together to build shared knowledge of areas that had been neglected during years of conflict. Locally defined needs for information such as roads and water sources informs a multi-university engagement to create spatial information. Students in various Colombian universities are reaching out to other Spanish-speaking students. Partners also include USAID GeoCenter, USAID Office of Transition Initiatives, and HOT.


Food, Economy and Health 


The intersection of access to adequate food, economic growth, and public health is a nexus that shapes the lives of West Africans such as those in vulnerable areas of Ghana. The large and active student organization of about 800 mappers in Ghana are working to support USAID-defined objectives while learning more about open source mapping platforms and open data creation.  Students at the University of Cape Coast and Texas Tech University are collaborating on data efforts. Partners also include USAID GeoCenter and the OSM Ghana community.



Urban Informal Settlements

Informal settlement in the large city of Nairobi presents a number of chronic development challenges. Students from the University of Nairobi are working with Map Kibera to chart locations of buildings and roads that are critical data for fundamental assistance to these most impoverished urban areas.



Hazards and Vulnerability


Bangladesh is vulnerable and at risk to extreme shocks such as climate change. The country has widespread unmapped areas which create difficulty in fostering resilience. Due to monsoons, cyclones, and their low lying geography, the country is often inundated. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and YouthMappers are working with the USAID GeoCenter to engage students at Dhaka University in filling in spatial data gaps and building a strong community of youth involved in mapping their world.



Basic Needs and Infrastructure

Angola's low level of human development is at odds with its potential for economic prosperity, considering the country's wealth of natural resources. Much of this paradox is explained by the social disruption and physical destruction caused by 27 years of civil war. Efforts are now underway to create open basemap data on roads and settlements, so that basic infrastructure programs and services can be delivered to those who need them most, particularly in rural areas. This effort was initiated by a YouthMappers student from Texas Tech University, born in Angola.

Completed Projects



Food Insecurity


This mapping project with Khulna University supported Feed the Future agricultural programs in the Khulna region of Bangladesh. Data on highways, Zilla roads, buildings, and water bodies were edited into OpenStreetMap and made available to the public. The data were created for USAID and its partners working with rural farming villages, especially women, to help communities in the Khulna District improve land management and increase agricultural production in order to improve food security and children's nutrition.



Health and Disease Prevention


Malaria prevention and control is a major U.S. foreign assistance objective and critical for ending preventable child and maternal deaths for populations suffering extreme poverty. Remote mapping onto OSM for these districts was completed by numerous YouthMappers chapters around the world so that USAID and Peace Corps Volunteers along with their counterparts on the ground could add local knowledge. The data improved the efficiency and reach of spraying campaigns for malaria prevention.



Natural Disaster Preparation


In August 2015, Ecuador declared a state of emergency after Cotopaxi shot ash 7 miles into the air on August 2015. The volcano has since continued spewing ash and steam, causing continued concern for those living in the vulnerable areas nearby. USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance helped to increase the amount of OSM open spatial data for the region, since many high populated areas are located nearby – including the nation’s capital, Quito. Several YouthMappers chapters at US universities contributed data and exchanged  information with counterparts in Quito.

PHOTO CREDITS: PEPFAR; Sutanta Aditya/Getty Images; Wikipedia commons; Titus Mongou, Kenya PMI, Peace Corps, Feed the Future, USAID GeoCenter, Pablo Suarez, GFDRR.

bottom of page