We’re planning a humanitarian campaign using OSM, what do we need to know?

If you are just using the data from OpenStreetMap, you only need to abide by the license, which explains how to credit OpenStreetMap and that if you combine other data with OSM, you need to contribute that data back as well.

If you wish to help create OpenStreetMap data for your work, that’s great! There are a number of organizations who have done something like this, using OSM data after disasters or crises, or mapping ahead of time in places where disasters may occur. OSM data quality is often very good, or if something is missing, you can help map the features that you need. The best way to do this is to contact the local OSM community via the email list for that country or their OSM Forum, they may know other groups that have already worked there. Be aware that you are not operating on a blank slate; there are many active mappers and groups, and make sure that your participants receive adequate training and understanding of OpenStreetMap before they begin.

Some humanitarian mapping projects involve on the ground data collection, mapping remotely using imagery, or both. Often, combining both can make sure data is complete and accurate. It is also important to work with local people during humanitarian mapping efforts. There are many examples of humanitarian mapping; OSMF does not endorse any particular group, but some active organizations are the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, the Missing Maps project, and Projet Espace OSM Francophone.